Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3: V Generation Review

Gaming

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Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3: V Generation
Developers: Compile Heart, Felistella
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: PS Vita (Reviewed), PC
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Price: $49.99 US – Available Here

Overview
Fans of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series in the West have been swimming in titles over the last few months as there have been four games released so far this year. Sure, two of them were spin-offs and the other two are remade versions of the original trilogy, but with a PlayStation 4 title waiting in the wings and two more in development, it looks like next year will be an even busier year for fans of this ever-expanding series.

Until then, we have Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3: V Generation, a the most recent title to be released in the West and the final remake for the original series. Is this title that takes what was originally found in Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory and expands upon it worth picking up?

Story
For the most part, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3: V Generation still presents the same storyline as Victory, though there are a number of immediate differences noticeable at the beginning of the game including a bit of a twist. Neptune and the rest of the CPUs have grown incredibly lax during the many years of peace that have existed between the previously warring nations and spend most of their time playing games with one another. In fact, the first time players are able to play the standard game comes in the form of a virtual reality world developed by Vert allowing Neptune to dive into the game.

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Despite Neptune’s younger sister continues to dote on her and do odd jobs to keep citizens of Planeptune happy, the oracle Histoire has grown furious with Neptune’s actions and orders her to go out and take on some jobs as a CPU should. After completing a few simple quests with Nepgear, Neptune heads out alone where she runs into an easily frightened protestor advocating for a world without CPUs. After this certain encounter takes place, Neptune finds herself once again plummeting through the sky.

Only this time, rather than landing near Compa she finds herself landing on Noire and a new girl named Plutia. While Neptune finds it extremely strange that Noire seems to have no memory of who she is, it quickly becomes clear that she has been transported to a different dimension where people can only become CPUs by discovering rare items and that the fledgling nation of Planeptune is ruled over by Plutia, an air-headed but kind and caring girl who is also known as Iris Heart where the HDD form personality shift is taken to an entirely new level. Stuck with no way home and only a small connection to her dimension, Neptune finds herself in a world where the battles between the nations of Lowee, Planeptune, Lastation, and Leanbox are only just beginning. Only there are far sinister enemies pulling the string in the background, many of which will be very familiar to those who have played previous games in the series.

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Now while Re;Birth 3 may sound a bit serious due to Neptune’s situation, anyone familiar with the series should know what to actually expect with the title. While the story does have its fair share of drama, Re;Birth 3 continues to excel at being a satirical parody of the game industry as a whole while taking the well-established characters that fans know and love at this point and creating brand new stories for them to take part in. There are a few adjustments here and there to add extra jokes as well as plenty of parodies to keep the title feeling fresh with up to date references, something that is essential due to the almost constant fourth-wall breaking nature of the series.

Gameplay
The core of Re;Birth 3 remains very similar to past remakes that see players experiencing the aforementioned storyline through visual novel segments and spending the rest of their time exploring dungeons and fighting against enemies. These dungeons remain similarly structured to past games, though now there are floating invisible boxes (parodying Mario) can be jumped into to receive money and items. When you run into enemies you can attack them early with a Symbol attack to obtain an advantage in combat, though the opposite will occur with a missed swing.

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Once you find yourself in combat, there are a few changes here and there that come in the form of how EX finishers. Previously players could always take advantage of the Rush, Power, and Break style attacks to either deal numerous attacks, deal extra damage, or break through an enemy’s guard respectively, and while the same is still true in Re;Birth 3 now EX Finishers are based off of how much SP a character has. Since Skills use up SP and HDD forms also drain this meter players must either use an item or deal and take damage with a character to refill the meter properly to add extra attacks to their character’s standard combos (though these can now be extended eventually with a fifth combo slot) meaning that many fights may simply be standard slugfests rather than anything flashy, especially since many of the skills and transformations are best saved for stronger opponents and bosses.

Once again Stella’s Dungeon mini-game returns in Re;Birth 3 and while it is still similar to past versions of the roguelike distraction, more refinements have been made. Players can equip Stella with weaponry, armor, a Stone that often provides various bonuses, and even have a Scout join her in order to navigate through an endless tower this time around with the player being able to select what floor for her to try and reach before escaping the tower. As she heads through the tower she will obtain various pieces of equipment that will be useful for her next trip but also various Plans, materials, and items that can be used by the player.

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Of course just like before, if you are overconfident and Stella fails in a dungeon she will lose all equipped items as well as any Scouts that were assigned to her. This isn’t too much of an issue however as it is always possible to find more in time and since players are able to send Stella out and then either focus on the core game or put the Vita down for a bit it makes for a great little side-game with some great rewards for those who feel like taking Stella for another spin.

As with past games in the Re;Birth line-up players are capable of taking and using the Remake system to not only add new items to the game, but adjust difficulty levels, change the types of enemies or items that appear in a dungeon and even adding new dungeons to the game. This is handled by Plans still though the actual gathering of the items required to complete these Plans are made easier since the game tells players where they may actually find the item this time rather than having to try and figure it out themselves.

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That being said, while it is still possible to gather plenty of simple Plans rather easily, many of the important Plans, such as the aforementioned fifth attack combo for a character are now hidden behind challenges that must be completed. This means that while the game doesn’t necessarily require the player to grind for levels in order to advance through dangerous situations (though this may be necessary at times due to occasional difficulty spikes) it does mean that it may require a bit of grinding to unlock specific Plans.

It is worth noting that due to the size of Re;Birth 3, all of the DLC characters that were originally included in Victory plus the brand new characters brought from past Re;Birth games or introduced in this title are not in the game by default. They must instead be downloaded via free packs from the PlayStation Store and can then join the player’s party a few hours into the game. This is of course nothing to be concerned about since it detracts nothing from the game, but it is worth noting so players do not miss out on these extra mascot characters.

Visuals & Audio
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3: V Generation is an impressive looking JRPG featuring even more vibrant colors than the original title thanks to the Vita’s capabilities. The character designs remain nicely detailed in the field while their character portraits during story sequences nicely animated. Of course there is still quite a bit of fan-service to go around but nothing that should drive fans away at this point. That being said, the number of re-used enemies continues to be a bit of an issue as many staples from the franchise continue to appear as regular foes far too often.

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As mentioned a bit earlier, there are some size issues when it comes to Re;Birth 3 and this means that the game initially only features an English voice track. While the English cast has returned to perform their characters exactly how fans of the series have come to expect and the new characters fit in perfectly, especially when it comes to Plutia’s personality shifts, those who prefer the original Japanese voice track can find it for free from the PlayStation Store.

Overall
While fans of the series who have already played through Victory will find a similar enough storyline here in Re;Birth 3, with freshened up humor combined with a batch of new and refined mechanics, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3: V Generation closes out Idea Factory International’s set of remakes quite successfully as fans looking to re-experience the title will find more than enough new content to enjoy while those who have only been following the remakes will find a very humorous light-hearted RPG with plenty to offer.

8-5-capsules-out-of-10
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As a big fan of anime and games I'll be quick to cover anything that happens to be of interest.

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