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Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 (PC) artwork

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 (PC) review

"In spite of its various issues, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 manages to stand on its own and offer a worthwhile experience overall."

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1, a remake of the first Hyperdimension Neptunia game on PlayStation 3, arrived several months ago on PlayStation's handheld Vita system. Now, Idea Factory has ported it to the PC platform as the first in what hopefully will be a long series of ports. As the initial attempt it feels somewhat rough, but future efforts will hopefully improve. Fortunately, the game itself is a nice little JRPG, even though it is missing a few elements that were included in its sequel, Sister's Generation.

Hyperdimension Neptunia was poorly received when it debuted on the PlayStation 3, mostly thanks to its poor combat system and, to a lesser extent, its fan service elements. This remake fixes a lot of the original version's issues, though, while employing the more refined combat engine from the series' third installment. It also introduces a remake system that lets players find plans to make new items or unlock gear. All they have to do is provide the raw materials.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 (PC) image

Though the core plot remains untouched, the script was overhauled to include new filler events and jokes. The game also drops characters such as NISA and Gust who appeared in the previous edition, most likely due to copyright issues. Such concerns didn't prevent other companies from allowing characters based on their brand to exist within this newest game, though, so maybe there's something else going on there.

The plot focuses on a Console War that is taking place in the world of Gameindustri, waged between the CPUs (basically gods) that rule each nation. During the battle, Purple Heart (Neptune) is caught off-guard and falls to the planet's surface. She is rescued there by a woman named Compa, but her drop from the skies has rendered her amnesic. An entity named Histoire advises her that she can restore her lost memories by collecting the Key Fragments required to unseal them. Incidentally, she will also need Histoire's assistance to stop the evil Arfoire's schemes and save Gameindustri. There are numerous video game references and anime tropes thrown in along the way. Moe, waifus, and memes are the soup de jour for the course.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 (PC) image

In addition to the plot, combat plays a substantial role as you work your way through the game. Before engaging in battle, you can walk around a field (essentially, a dungeon) and land surprise attacks on your foes. Once a fight begins, you find yourself in an arena of sorts. Your characters can move around within a limited range before performing any number of actions. Those actions each come with a cooling period, as well. Much of what you might do is based on your agility stat, with complications. Defending will sometimes allow that character to make another move later in the queue, for instance. You can string together custom combos with attacks that reduce a foe's guard meter, inflict extra damage, or raise the EXE gauge. The first of those actions allows you to inflict more damage than you otherwise might, which is the most opportune time to make use of EXE skills. These can devastate game bosses in ways that are both ridiculous and satisfying. The battle system is a lot of fun, but not enough to entirely cancel out some of the game's persistent issues.

The biggest problem with Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is that it's awfully grindy. This can be either good or bad, depending on your particular preference. Most enemies don't pose a genuine threat, but the bosses are powerful to the point of being unbalanced. The default difficulty setting doesn't seem to factor in the damage they can deal or absorb, either. You can find a plan to weaken them, but even then, the grinding that is required feels excessive. Early on, the potential experience yield from each battle is insufficient and that means you'll have to fight a lot of repetitive battles before you dare take a chance on the local boss.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 (PC) image

The game's music is also somewhat lacking. The world map theme in particular is annoying, and limited to a short loop. Other issues include a limited party, since you can only have three members on your team at once. This means that the frequent battles offer less versatility than they really should have.

Other issues relate to the port job. The game occasionally crashes some PCs, the save system doesn't allow you to save as often as it should, there are no real options to manage screen resolutions beyond 1366 x 768, and gamepads aren't properly recognized at the start and need to be manually setup. Idea Factory did respond quickly with a promise to release patches that will hopefully address those issues, and in fact have already released a patch when they received initial feedback, but it's an unfortunate situation just the same.

In spite of its various issues, though, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 does manage to stand on its own and offer a worthwhile experience overall. It's a much improved remake of the PS3 original, and well worth checking out if you're a JRPG fan and you don't mind the moe and game tropes.


EricRPG's avatar
Freelance review by Eric Kelly (February 07, 2015)

Eric Kelly likes writing about RPGs, reading non-fiction (usually academic in nature), watching anime, and listening to mostly video game music. So a total nerd.

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