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Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation (Vita) artwork

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation (Vita) review


"Another excellent entry that tries new things while retaining what makes the franchise so much fun in the first place."


Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 was the perfect sequel. It fixed everything its predecessor did wrong, improved upon what it did well and was even bold enough to try new things. Since then, the franchise has been slowly building off the foundation laid by that second effort. Itís only fitting that the franchise gets another shake up with its remake.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation is the latest entry in Vita series of remakes of the Neptunia trilogy on PS3. It features pretty much the same story as its source material. In this chapter, the CPUs from the first game have been captured and imprisoned within the Gamindustri graveyard. Itís up to Neptuneís little sister, Nepgear, to join forces with CPU Candidates (i.e. little sisters) from the other nations to save the CPUs and the world.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation (Vita) image

The main story hasnít changed much, but there are still some alterations. Perhaps the most significant change is that the partyís meeting with Nisa and Gust in the original mk2 has been removed. Instead, the party teams up with Red and Broccoli in the early parts of the game. Whether this was a conscious decision on the part of the writing staff or the changes were made due to licensing restrictions isn't entirely clear, but their omission is a little disappointing. Thankfully, the game makes up for it with even more playable characters this time around, including Falcom, Cave, 5pb, and all the oracles from each nation.

As for the presentation, Re;Birth 2 fixes mk2ís greatest offense. In the original game, all of the story sequences played out using the in-game 3D models. It was a decided step back from the high-quality animated portraits used in the original game and in every installment after mk2. Thankfully, Re;Birth 2 uses the animated portraits that were sorely missing in the original rendition.

While the writing in Re;Birth 2 is superb, most of us are likely here for the gameplay. If youíve played any of the games since mk2, you know what youíre in for in that department. Re;Birth 2 is still a grind-heavy turn-based RPG that finds players navigating dungeons looking for treasure and monsters. Battles are also unchanged, with combo-focused combat that allows players to freely move around the field during battle. Itís a system that has worked since mk2, and the only new wrinkle this time around is that four playable characters can be on the field at once. While that may not seem like a major tweak, it does open up exciting new tactical possibilities.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation (Vita) image

Despite their apparent desire to improve things, the developers still havenít fixed the weird balance issues that were present in Re;Birth 1. The game is unusually difficult in the first few chapters, and requires players to grind a lot to even stand a chance. What makes this difficult is that itís hard to know where to grind. Some powerful enemies will give paltry amounts of XP, while weak enemies will give too much. This dynamic can lead to you running around, trying to find good enemies on which to grind, because what the game designates as powerful enemies sometimes donít give out that much XP.

At least the interesting Remake system from Re;Birth 1 also makes a return and helps to negate some of the issues. For the unfamiliar, this system allows players to change the game in some pretty significant ways. Early on, you will obtain items that modify the difficulty. You can also alter what items and monsters appear in dungeons, or even to change the dungeon entirely so that brand new monsters and items appear.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation (Vita) image

Re;Birth 2 also introduces a new mini-game called Stellaís Dungeon. It's essentially a rogue-like that plays itself. You send Stella and her cat into dungeons that you previously visited, with each floor requiring a pre-determined amount of time to clear. As youíre going about your business saving the world, Stella goes through floors defeating monsters and gathering loot. When she returns, youíll often get a bunch of new equipment for her to use, as well as some items for you to use in the main game. If Stella fails, however, sheíll lose all of her currently equipped items. I expected to not care that much about this new mini-game, but instead I found myself obsessively sending Stella back into dungeons again and again, just to see what she would find next. Your mileage may vary, but I think itís a great new addition to the core game.

The Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise that gets a lot of flak for supposedly offering a substandard JRPG experience that only succeeds thanks to its otaku fanbase. Those who hold that opinion are entitled to it, but they're missing out on the constant experimentation and refinement that goes into this series. It never reinvents the wheel so far as to feel foreign, but it doesnít remain complacent, either. For that reason, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation is another excellent entry that tries new things while retaining what makes the franchise so much fun in the first place. Itís easily one of the best JRPG experiences you can have on the Vita or PlayStation TV.

4/5

Phazonmasher's avatar
Freelance review by Zachary Walton (January 23, 2015)

Zach Walton likes JRPGs, visual novels, horror games and anything that gives him an excuse to drink.

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zigfried posted January 24, 2015:

Nice -- I was a big fan of the first Re;Birth and I'm looking forward to playing the second. This review captures a lot of what I felt about the first one. As far as I'm concerned, Neptunia somehow became one of the best JRPGs around.

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