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Hyperdimension Neptunia back to reviews
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A fun game, but has a few flaws
Well now, I haven't finished the game yet but will attempt to summarize the good and bad points of it. First some of the good points that I saw in the game. The game presents all of the cutscenes in a Visual Novel style presentation, with most of the events being voice acted. It also has plenty of Les Yay, so YuriFans might want to check it out. The game also has plenty of ShoutOuts to various game series, which can be either entertaining to view (if you know their source material), otherwise they are confusing. If you liked Cross Edge and Trinity Universe, you will probably like this game too. Now, on to some of the detractors in the game. First of all, there is no way to manually heal your characters, nor are there any consumables or healing abilities. In order to heal your characters, you have to set up "item skills" by assigning them skill points (luckily you can reassign them at any time), which then heal based on a If... Then structure. Another is that experience point gain is quite horrendous, if it isn't a boss or a special monster, it grants almost no XP. Other than the issue with gameplay, it is a quite enjoyable game if you can overlook its flaws.
There are more flaws the text didn't mention. In no particular order:

  • Either the frame-rate or the animation, whichever is responsible for 3D sections, is very choppy. There are a lot of PS3 games which display much smoother motions with tons more polygons on screen at the same time. Poor graphical optimization, basically, and it makes dungeon sections longer than they should be.
  • A minor one, but the Auto-scroll function in Visual Novel interface doesn't work as it should, which is a huge flaw for such an interface. Especially when this is a universal function in Japanese Visual Novels.
  • Enemy variety is rather limited, and consists a good deal of Palette Swaps. It's somewhat forgivable by itself, unless if you know that a good part of the already-limited monster list is lifted from previous Idea Factory games. Very little effort has been spent on monster designs.
  • There is zero effort in NPCs. They don't need 3D models, but they're denied even 2D art. They appear as black silhouettes; not even shadings, just indistinguishable silhouettes. Even then, not in half-body silhouettes like the main characters; just 1/3 of the body in a small frame. That's it.
  • The combat system is unnecessarily tedious. If they wanted to assign different attacks on different buttons to make variable combos, look no further than the system in Tales Of Graces. Not to mention the difficulty balance is thrown out once Neptune's CPU mode is introduced.
  • This one isn't purely the game's fault as much as a trap inherent in all reference-fests: For the reference to provide the intended effect, the viewer has to know what that reference is about. Naturally, not everybody does; for these audiences, the story needs solid, independent content to fall back on. This is what clinches the difference between clever, solid reference-fests * and forced, hollow ones * . And this game is not of the former category; many reference skits - Resident Evil and Gears Of War skits being top offenders - consists essentially of "Oh, hey. There's a [Lawyer Friendly Cameo]." These kind of scenes are, while harmless, not inherently funny.
  • Your party roster. I'm gonna have to spoil things a bit, but not that it matters much: Your entire party throughout the game consists of Neptune, IF and Compa. That's it. If you guessed the other goddesses would be playble, you'd be right: Sidequests to recruit them unlocks at the same time as the final dungeon. No mention of Nisa and Gust, no~ They're only for those willing to hand over 2$ each for two characters led to believe as part of your potential party due to trick advertisement on the back cover.
  • Very little character customization. You do get some dress-up parts, but only a few of them are in-game. The good ones are saved for DLC at 1$ each. It also applies to CPU armor sets, except they cost 5$ total since they have 5 parts each.
  • For a DLC selection of (currently) over 90 items, it's rather unattractive. Not to mention inflated; there's no need to split the armors into 5 items. Aside from above-mentioned DLC, the rest of them are stat boosts, level-cap expansions and equipments. And swimsuit "sets"; the ones you see in the gallery after a party member joins, but can never unlock in-game.
  • By stripping off its content as DLC, the game is laid rather bare of attractive rewards for completing side-quests which, in turn, lowers its overall appeal. Not to mention they become inaccessible to those without an access to PSN store for any reason.

I do have one major thing to say in its favor, though: The 2D art is very clean, clear and vibrant. Not just in stills, but also in Visual Novel interfaces. Lip-movements are made to synchronize exactly with the dialogue volume with great accuracy. Character sprites gently move even when they're not talking, to imitate breathing motions. This is the only factor I can find no flaws in; they did their very best. If only this sort of effort is applied to other factors as well.

Another good thing is that you can re-view any cutscene you've finished, any time you want. This is a big plus for an RPG with lots of dialogue. A lot of RP Gs need this system.
comment #8893 Infinix 26th Jul 11 (edited by: Infinix)
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