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Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed (Vita) artwork

Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed (Vita) review

"Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is a short game, but itís certainly fun while it lasts."

In less than a decade, Hyperdimension Neptunia has conquered the worlds of JRPGs, idol management sims and strategy games. In the latest game, Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed, the girls of Gamindustri are taking on the character action genre.

Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is the latest spin-off in the series developed by the Senran Kagura team at Tamsoft. As you can imagine, the game is filled with combos, cute anime girls and destructible clothing.

Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed (Vita) image

In this latest chapter of Gamindustriís history, game journalists Dengekiko and Famitsu are competing writers hoping to score a big scoop by following the CPUs and their sisters. As expected, things get out of control quickly and the fate of Gamindustri hangs in the balance. Neptune, Noire, Blanc and Vert, alongside their sisters and the aforementioned game journalists, have to stop it.

Unlike past games and spin-offs, there isnít a lot of story in Neptunia U. Thatís not to say whatís there is bad, though. Itís actually some of the best the series has seen yet, as a large part of the narrative is focused on the dynamics between the CPUs and their sisters. While there are some tender moments, the game is mostly made up of silly jokes about sensationalist games journalism and the absurdity of clothing destruction as a game mechanic.

As far as gameplay is concerned, Neptunia U plays almost identically to Senran Kagura. Each level has players squaring off against hundreds, if not thousands, of enemies from the Neptunia franchise in frantic action battles. By combining light and heavy attacks, players will mow down waves of these mostly harmless enemies. The stage is cleared upon defeating a boss that shows up after a set amount of enemies are killed or an item is collected.

Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed (Vita) image

What sets the game apart is that Neptunia U allows players to bring two characters to each battle. These two combatants can switch off at any time, and the secondary one even serves as a backup if the primary character happens to lose all of their HP. Later in the game, the two can also combine their powers to perform an ultimate attack of sorts.

While one character may be used, there are two primary benefits to using two. The first of those benefits is the chatter generated between the two characters during the battles. Long time Neptunia fans will love to see characters like Neptune and Noire fighting together, giving each other encouragement. The other is more gameplay-centric, allowing the standby character to more quickly build up their EXE gauge, thus enabling them to transform into the more powerful HDD form.

Neptunia U wouldnít be a Tamsoft game without clothing destruction and itís easier to achieve a state of undress here than ever before. Naturally, taking damage reduces clothing's durability, but using heavy attacks also does the same. In other words, the game challenges players to strike a balance between their light and heavy attacks to avoid such a fate. Those who prefer to go hog wild will be happy to know there are unlockable costumes early in the game that cannot be destroyed.

Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed (Vita) image

Unfortunately, the main scenario doesnít include what is arguably the best part about Senran Kagura: the one-on-one fights. The good news is that players will unlock such a mode after the main game ends and that additional content allows players to take on all the other CPUs in bare-knuckled brawls, with commentary provided by Compa and IF.

Like every Neptunia game on the Vita, Neptunia U runs incredibly well without a bit of slowdown. Itís hard to believe the franchise used to be primarily known for its frequent framerate drops. With none of the future games hitting the PS3, it seems we can put that bit of history behind us and finally focus on what these games do best: humor and interesting battle systems.

Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is a short game, but itís certainly fun while it lasts. It doesnít have quite the depth of Hyperdevotion Noire, but it packs more punch than the visual novel-style Neptunia PP. Securing a snug middle place among the spin-offs isnít a bad place to be, and Neptunia fans with a Vita or PlayStation TV will certainly get some enjoyment out of it.


Phazonmasher's avatar
Freelance review by Zachary Walton (May 12, 2015)

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

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