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Review Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 Review

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The Sega Neptune.

A prototype Mega Drive/32x combo. A way for Sega to sell 32xes to people that wouldn't be able to buy a Saturn. Pretty brilliant, honestly. Never came to fruition for many reasons, one of them being tons upon tons of miscommunication. It was promising, as that kind of upgrade to the Genesis could do it some good. Unfortunately, the 32x had a bunch of mediocre ports, a few good games for one reason or another but usually not both, and a game library that is small enough that it could all fit in a potato sack.

Hold on, why am I talking about this? I don't usually talk about hardware.

Well, Japan decided to do as it usually does and turned the Sega Neptune into an anime girl.

This here is Neptune. She will be your main character for this game.
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All jokes aside, Hyperdimension Neptunia was originally a PS3 game from 2010. It was loved inside of Japan. It then gained a fanbase of people that weren't game critics in big publications.

Yes, I am not thrilled about those reviews. Could you tell?

The game gained a fanbase not for its gameplay (as on the PS3 it was less than optimal, due to being on the budget of a ham sandwich) or its story (it was very straightforward and kind of cliche), but for all the characters in it. A ton of anime girls you could choose from to like. It had charm in that manner. They were tropes, sure, but they were done in the right way to be likeable.

The game got many sequels, with one coming out this year (as of 2020), but what i will be talking about will be the remake for the PC/Vita. While it just looks like a port to the untrained eye, the story was completely overhauled and so was the battle system. Now, I don't have enough experience to comment on the PS3 version, but I've heard from some that it's not very good and there was a reason that all the remakes took the third game's battle system.

Now, let's dig into the game.

The game is a turn-based JRPG. You have Rush, Break and Power attacks. Rush are multiple small attacks in a row, break is useful against the enemy's guard, or really, their defense, and Power is as it says on the tin. Breaking down the enemy's guard and then attacking is a way of playing the game, but from experience, I can tell you that it slows the game way down. Especially for bosses. But, a little at a time here.

You play through the game and meet other characters, everyone being a reference to something in gaming or other pop-culture. EVERYONE. At least, everyone that is significant to the story. There is a simple map screen so you can go to where you need to in a simple amount of time, as well as interact with other characters.

Dungeons are... often times repeated. Just with small bits here and there that are changed up. It makes them very bland and not much fun to traverse through as you feel like you're doing the same thing over and over again. And again. And again. Oh but believe me, this is only the start of my problems with this game.

Bosses are also repeated a lot to pad the game out. Imagine that before you got into another city in Pokemon, you fought another gym leader that *wasn't* a pushover. Now multiply the routes in that game by ~5 or so.

Yeah. It's that bad.

Boss fights are usually a slog where they can regain their health because of course we need another way to pad out the game, and there are many times where they do two bosses in a row where you don't get to save the game in between or heal up. Just do two bosses in a row. Don't ask questions. Just fight.

A lot of times, boss models are reused. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. Whether it be for a roaming miniboss or for a main area boss, it's reused. It is very boring to look at a game that doesn't have much visual variety and just resorts to reusing things over and over. On top of all of that, is there any more?

No. Boss fights are boring slogs. End of story.

Combat is fine. It's what you'd expect from a 3D turn-based JRPG. There's special energy that limits you from using special moves or transforming into your special form (I'll get to that later in the plot) repeatedly. There's also an EXE Drive gauge. That is team-wide and it gets charged up by your attacks and you getting attacked. It will go from 1 to 4 through the game, and it allows you to do some pretty powerful moves. Except for the combo finishers. Those are usually very weak in my experience. So if you want to charge up that meter, use your Rush moves a lot.

There's one thing I still have yet to mention. The remake system.

I HATE THE REMAKE SYSTEM.

In the original version, you could get plans to make items. It's linear and grabbing materials for it isn't hard. (I'm going on a whim here, I haven't played it.) The remake system, well, there is one absolutely MASSIVE problem with it.

You can get plans to make special outfits, more weapons, items and all that jazz. Seems reasonable enough. It gives the game a slight twist in gameplay.

There's one thing that kills it, though.

Being able to build dungeons.

See, when you get dungeon plans, you need to make them soon. Otherwise, you won't be able to get plans to add harder enemies, and in those plans, you can get parts for more items, weapons or that such sort of thing. Hear me out on this. This dungeon remake system has cheated me out of many, MANY items that I need for other plans because of when you have to put them to get to get more events to get those add items and add enemies plans.

Naasne Volcano. If any one of you is reading this knows what I'm talking about, you know why I hate this bonus "mechanic".

In this specific dungeon, you have to add enemies to get to the Millenium Labyrinth. However, getting the add enemies and add items plans is more of a pain in the ass than it sounds because you have to get the plans for the Duty Space first, then the plans for Donkong Ruins, then plans for Naasne Volcano. All in Chapter 4. Now, i didn't know this, and I was curious as to what in blue hell I was supposed to do. I found out that many other people had the same problem I had.
This is not good game design. This pisses off the player and only makes people like less of your game.

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This took way too long to unlock...

There's also viral enemies. Enemies that, mid-battle can become virus-ridden which not only resets their health and GP to 100%, but ups everything. They will make your life a living hell. Bosses can't do that, fortunately.

AAaaaanywho....

The sound.

There's another nag I have with the game. The music and ESPECIALLY the voices.

Battle voices cannot be turned off without turning off EVERY VOICE IN THE GAME. This is very irritating as you want to hear the characters talk in cutscenes (unless you're playing it with English voices) but you don't want to hear them shout the same. damned. line. over. and fucking. over. It's worth it to just turn all the voices to 0 unless you can actually bear the battle voices.

The music is meh for the most part too. I don't usually pay attention to it and I can't hum any memorable tunes. I don't really pay attention to OP/ED when watching anime either, so there's that.

The visuals are pretty okay. Not much to mention there. A sort of average RPG fare with dungeons and palette swapped monsters like someone's new sonic OC.

Then we reach the most important part of the game. The plot and the characters you're supposed to get attached to. No holds barred, I will tear into whatever I don't like.

We start off the game with a narration about Gamindustri, the world that this game takes place in. We then see in Celestia that the goddesses of the game are going at each others' throats because a mysterious voice (who is the main villainess of the game, Arfoire) told three of the goddesses that one of them was trouble and to get rid of her. Black Heart fronts the attack and they successfully kick Purple Heart out of Celestia.

We then see one of the main characters of the game whose name is Compa, find a purple clothed and haired girl after she went to inspect an object hitting the ground a ways away. This is where we meet Neptune, the human form of Purple Heart. She's a klutzy doofus that can almost never be taken seriously or be listened to (for important, serious information) really. Compa takes her back and we have a lewd scene of Compa wrapping Neptune in bandages.

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They then set out to find where Nep was found, the two of them, but not before Nep uses her sense of intuition and gets a wooden sword from the garbage nearby. After going through your first dungeon, you meet your first boss which with Compa being offscreen, causes the game to (in text) elude to lewd things. Histoire (the character Nep is trying to free to get her memory back) then force runs Hard Drive Divinity which is what allows Neptune to be Purple Heart again.

They then scramble back to Compa's apartment once Neptune defeats the monster, and Compa shows Nep to the guild where you can take quests. Quests help you build up your shares, which is basically showing what your overall impact on the world of Gamindustri is. (the amount of Gamindustri that would be considered your followers)

After they take up some quests, they go into a cave where they find IF (yes, a reference to Idea Factory themselves), and she immediately becomes the brains of the party, mostly because Nep and Compa together, while being cute and having a very moè duality about them, aren't the brightest bulbs in the bunch. They then run into Arfoire (yeah, it's a reference to the R4 cartridge) who is the worst character in the game because she is so, so, very irritating and on many, many occasions made me want to punch through my screen.

She gives a villain monologue, then fights you. She's easier to blow away than dust, and gets pissy and runs off. After meeting a Broccoli reference (yes, to the company that has put out a lot of Evangelion games in its time), Nep and Co. then sign some papers at the Basilicom where one of the guards constantly remarks now "loli cute" Neptune is, and you head to Lastation. Here you meet Falcom, which is a very obvious reference to the company Falcom and basically looks like a gender-swapped version of Adol Christin from Ys. After meeting her and seeing a scene of another black-haired girl alone, you meet Chian who is a supporting character you see throughout the game.

Nep and Co. are in Lastation to see of Neptune can get her memory back, but Noire (the human form of Black Heart and a BIG tsundere) is curious as to if she can defeat Neptune now that her memory is gone. After going through another dungeon where you fight Black Heart, Neptune nabs Noire and then realizes she has transformed from her CPU form and has a case of the Neptunes where her brain turns itself to mush and she thinks that the girl that she just beat... isn't Noire in a different form. To her credit though, she doesn't know anything about being a goddess or anything from when she was one before. Nep correctly predicts that Noire has zero friends because her name is "fancy", but it's because Noire tends to push everyone away, as a tsun usually does.

After everyone (and Noire) meets up with Chian, we find out Nep vehemently hates eggplants. We then meet Ganache, a villain who is working for the wicked bitch of the west, but tries to be casual as he doesn't know the girls. We also meet MAGES., or better known as the perpetual Steins;Gate reference. Afterwards, Neptune and Co. get locked into an Avenir storage facility by evil glasses and they have to beat one of his many millions of stupid repeat bosses. The machine then breaks out, to which Noire and Neptune break it. Noire then leaves the party. They then head to Leanbox to consult with the goddess of gaming, green and sleepiness.

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Neptune and Company (minus Noire now) head to Leanbox and visit the Basilicom to visit with Vert, but she's currently busy as Yvoire, the Basilicom manager? tells them (probably busy gaming) and they then leave. Then a disguised Arfoire (anything she disguises herself as I will have no problem telling the audience it is her, she is a bitch and I cannot stand her) tells the old man behind the desk that they are worshippers of Momus. Oh, and the shitbag Ganache is there too. He needs a kick in the teeth as well. Yvoire tells them to piss off and that he's busy.

While roaming Leanbox, Nep and Co. meet Tekken, a girl modeled after many multiple different Tekken characters (Jin Kazama's gloves, references to Kuma, the persistent bear enemy, etc.) who we find out later is a masochist. Why? Well, it's explained in the third game that she kind of lives by the rule of "no pain, no gain", and goes through torture to get stronger.

Neptune and Co. head to MS Mountain where they encounter Arfoire- I mean "Conversation" again who is the actual worshipper of Momus, and gives them a bunch of Momus... memorabilia. Very similar to sorts of Anime memorabilia. However, that "Soundtrack CD" (which, I don't know how that would be possible in the first place) is an enemy disc and ends up spawning a boss. "Conversation" goes back to Yvoire, having had recorded it and he is shocked, and she gives him a poison to kill Neptune. He then confides in IF when they return that she needs to do it for him which IF denies, but the party then continues on to meet Vert.

Vert is a gammer gril with big bobs who spends all her time where she should be CPUing (much like Neptune, but Nep sleeps a lot and eats pudding a lot as well) playing games. After scheduling to have dinner together, Nep takes a bite and falls unconscious. Vert then takes it upon herself to find the cure with the rest of the party, minus Nep. They take the cure back from a local dungeon, Compa admits that she failed Nursing School, but they pull it together in the end.

Vert scares the shit out of the old man in her basilicom (rightfully so) and the party goes on their way. The party then heads to Lowee, where they go to converse with Blanc, an irritating pretentious character with a short temper and height after some more yuri moments between Vert and Iffy. They don't know that the Blanc that they tried to talk to was fake, and as such, are chased out of the Basilicom. They then find the real Blanc reading books in a hideout with all the other good guys and go out to fix the fake Blanc. This is fake Blanc No. 1.

The party first heads to Lastation to wipe the floor with Ganache, who thinks that the real Blanc is fake, a running joke that isn't funny. They clean the floor with his first robot, but then he sends out an army of them (similar to the guardians at the beginning of Lunar 2) but MAGES. wipes them out for the most part. They then have a repeated boss battle (more of this shit again) and Ganache runs away again.

The party go back to clean the floor with Fake Blanc who is actually the worst character herself, Arfoire. Blanc is second worst, but for different reaons. Anyhow, they confront her, and Vert and Blanc, who left the party after that previous incident, come back and trash Fake Blanc.

Fast forward to later in the story where we see the party in Lastation, but not without a warning from Histoire, who tells them to never leave Neptune alone or else her power will be stolen by the wicked bitch of the west.What better things to do when you get to Lastation than to leave her to herself to be kidnapped. Idiots. Nep then runs into her secret lover, Noire, and they go out for a day on the town. Noire then invites them to the Technology Expo that is going on in the next three days, and that their friend Chian will be there.

Little did they know that Avenir and Mrs. Evil would be there as well, to assert dominance. Nep and Co. trash their first robot, but then their second trashes you. However, that one shits its pants and freaks out, sparing Neptune and everyone. Marvelous (A reference to the Company that made Senran Kagura) shows up and destroys the HDD blocker on it's head, so everyone has an easier time by being in their CPU forms and destroying Arfoire's new toy, which was actually still unfinished. Avenir is disbanded, but Singe is picked up by Chain to work for her while Ganache runs away like he usually does.

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"I'LL GET YOU MY PRETTY, AND YOUR CORNY JOKES TOO!"

Flash forward to after the party has all four of the Sharicites (this game's MacGuffins). They want to free Histoire, but they don't know where she is located. They head to the Fantasy Zone where she actually is, but it's really a trap brought on by Arfoire who has the Tome that the Tome is sealed in. She unleashes her "momus" and steals Neptune's HDD power. She then creates clone CPUs to pad out the game. Compa swipes Histy's tome and Marvelous puts up a smoke screen to allow them to get the hell outta there.

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I'd use different adjectives if I were you, but yes, she did.

Back in Compa's apartment, they free Histoire. She uses emoticons (Japanese style, like ^_^ and (*^_^*) sorts of things. Neptune makes a joke about how she's the only character to do it, but the Silly Nep is corrected and is promptly told "No, we've all done it." by multiple characters. They then set out to destory the fake CPUs and find the Legendary Weapons.

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Neptune and Co. head down to the Neo-Geofront, a reference to the Neo-Geo and Eva. A twofer. They meet Falcom again (who is seen throughout the game as well) and worry about Marvelous and MAGES. that they sent down there. After Iffy "relieves her stress of Nep" on the, as Compa called it, "Nep-Nep farm", they find that this whole time, the legendary weapon was in the Basilicom.

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Afterwards, they head to Leanbox to take care of the Fake Green Heart and get Leanbox's legendary weapon. They also find that Vert's legendary weapon needs to be recreated, and Ran-Ran (a physical manifestation of the pig-emoji that Japan used to use all the time, or so I've been told, that I neglected to mention earlier) needs materials to recreate it. After running into the Fake Green Heart with the brothers (LB supporting characters). After calling Vert "flat-chested", Vert brings it upon herself to lay the fucksmack on the fake and teach the brothers a lesson. Once they come back to Ran-Ran with the materials he needed, we see that the brothers... are... well, to put it as Neptune put it, "Compa is a good girl, so I don't think you need to know." Tekken thinks that their torture looks good (here's where we learn she is a masochist) and Ran-Ran mentions that they deserved it.

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No comment.
 
Gameboi64

Comments

They head to Lastation to wipe out fake Black Heart, but in doing so, Neptune makes a jab at the Conquest ending of Nep 2, which isn't worth playing anyways. Noire thinks her joke is tasteless and takes no time in telling her as such. CyberConnect2 (a reference to the creators of the .hack series, a character I didn't mention earlier) takes the limelight from Nep because she's many times more serious and Neptune gets it from Iffy that she's not serious enough. After wiping out the fake, it self-destructs with the weapon that Noire needed. Singe, who is still working with Chian, takes it upon himself to fix it and the gang leaves Lastation.

They head to Lowee where Blanc's secrets are exposed to figure out which Blanc is fake (again with this garbage of fake Blanc, if she is this easy to clone, I'm surprised that Lowee hasn't just overthrown her), and Blanc gets pissy about having a flat chest like she usually does. They wipe out the fake and find out that the old legendary weapon was reformed a long time ago into a hammer by "a plumber" (haha another funny mario reference) and they take it and leave.

They then wipe out Momus without a problem and Arfoire gets pissy and runs off to Celestia to orchestrate her master plan to physically destroy Gamindustri. This begs the question of why would you want to rule over a pile of rubble, but it's probably that she just has a wish to watch everything be smashed to pieces and then die. Once that's figured out, everyone rushes to get to Celestia, but are denied access through regular means. They then take the road to Celestia by placing their newly formed weapons int he spots where the old weapons wers supposed to be put, thereby having to change how they fit in there, as there is no stairway (funny LZ), and they confront Arfoire up there themselves.

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What the hell else was she supposed to do?

After kicking Arfoire to the curb and then off the edge of Celestia, they party at Compa's place as Arfoire is done for.

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Normal end.

I've had many problems with this game, one being that it feels like it's a generic RPG that has a bunch of in-jokes and references painted over it. I also really hate some of the characters and the fact that the bosses are basically in gauntlets, not to mention that the game feels padded out at times. Without talking about the grinding that the game can ask you for or the stupid remake system, thereare multiple things that I did enjoy.

Of course, I really liked Neptune for just how adorkable she was. Many tend to find her irritating (and her voice really isn't until Victory where she is high-pitched all the time), but she's charming. Another thing to mention is that the best ending is easy to achieve, just have "Other" shares at 0% and every nation at 20% or above before either you take on the final boss or before Chapter 8. Either way, that is not hard to do at all. And eally, the charm of the game is in the characters. You may or may not like all the in-joke and references, as I can understand that they are too much for some.

This game has a lot of DLC as well, in the form of extra stuff that isn't necessary to the game and only there if you want it. Like it should be. Such as extra characters or weapons or Colosseum battles, and removing the level cap. You can get them, depending on how dedicated to the game you are. But there are also freebies with extra items in case you need those. But most DLC is paid however.

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You will want this.

A quick note, the Colosseum is for extra battles that are difficult, many can be purchased in DLC (like this one), and New Game+ is continuing your game to pick up everything you may have missed the first time, or just to screw around. Also, the game is very heavily reliant on metahumor and references. It's more prevalent, but I don't feel like rewriting this review as it's been finished and people have read it front to back already. Not to mention that in NG+ you keep all of your equipment, so basically, you can play through the game and wipe everything out with your op fure fencer stuff if you unlocked that, as well as the celestia bangle and whatever else you have in stock.

Overall would I recommend Neptunia Re;Birth 1?

Well,

Cautiously. It's great for people that enjoy turn-based RPGs and video game references as well as anime, but other than that, I couldn't really say yeah. it's targeted towards a very specific demographic.

Did I like it however?

Yeah, I'd say that I enjoyed it, even if I tend to really hate it at points.

-Gameboi64
 
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A quick mention here about the endings, which I previously neglected to mention. Spoilers, if you are interested in how they play out.
The normal ending is really as you'd expect it. Arfoire is eradicated, everyone goes back to having their (in-game) personalities towards each other and it's like nothing ever happened. You see Histoire show you to everyone around and what they're up to now. It ends up being quite peaceful, really. Your final image before the credits roll is as was noted above with Neptune and her friends eating pudding together. There's no laughing old hag or a tease that you didn't get the good ending, just that "And everything was back to the way it was. The end." Roll credits and save your game for New Game+. Go back to the title screen and play that New Game+.

However, the TRUE ending is completely different. After defeating "True Arfoire", Purple Heart tells everyone to run off, which they do, and you have another fight (this one pitifully easy) with True Arfoire, with these battles much similar in a way to Zophar, except, with the Fury Fencer sword, it keeps the battle from being a waiting game where you have to spam healing and shield moves. What I'm saying is, the first form is not that hard, then the second form is a formidable challenge, then the third form is just so you're sure you blow the enemy away.

A year passes, and Neptune nor Arfoire never made it back from Celestia. Histoire guides you through what's happened since the battle, and we find that Ganache, the smug little rat he is, works for Noire, and that everything, in fact, for everyone, is peaches and gravy.

Histy then takes the player to Compa's apartment where they talk about Neptune, for her to only fall in from the roof and a mystery girl to appear at the door.

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Well, Neptune was hungry and her HDD form (which allows her to fly), turned off while she was flying. As is expected from the purple doofus.

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That gets her mind off being frustrated. Yeah, manipulate your friends.

However, the mystery girl is shown to be the actual form of Arfoire, not infected by the old goddess. She apologizes for all of the misdeeds she had done when she was ugly and a bitch and then says she will repay all her misdeeds until her life is done until she is dead, and Histoire says she will help her with that.

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She looks a lot better now, doesn't she?

Compa and IF then welcome Neptune home.

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Roll credits.

But wait, after the good ending and credits, you get everyone, and I do mean everyone, thanking you for playing the game.

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Then the game ends, and you can save your progress for New Game+. And I'm not uploading everyone thanking you in images.

The last few things of note, the Fury Fencer F stuff is free on Steam. Unknown about other platforms, however. And if you want me to review the other games, well, be prepared to either wait a while or be disappointed.

That ends this review.
-Gameboi64
 
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