Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation
Developers: Compile Heart, Felistella
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Release Date: January 27, 2014
Price: $39.99 – Available Here
Back in 2010 when the first Hyperdimension Neptunia title was released I doubt anyone could have expected the series to be as successful as it has been five years later. Not only have there been two sequels, there are also various spin-offs being made and remakes or “Re;Births” of the original three games. Such is the case with Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation, a remake of Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 which was released back in 2012. Does this enhanced remake give fans enough incentive to pick it up once more?
As with mostly every game in the series, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 takes place in the world of Gameindustri where the lands of Planeptune, Lastation, Leanbox, and Lowee exist and in each land a CPU Goddess protects the citizenry and their belief in the Goddesses, called shares, help grant them extra power. Unfortunately these Goddesses, Neptune of Planeptune, Noire of Lastation, Vert of Leanbox, and Blanc from Lowee have been losing popularity as the Arfoire Syndicate of International Crime (ASIC) has gained a massive eighty percent following.
In an effort to stem the tide of lawlessness that comes from Arfoire’s practices, the CPU Goddesses and Neptune’s little sister, the CPU Candidate Nepgear, venture to the Gamindustri Graveyard only to find that they are no longer strong enough to take down the first agent of Arfoire they come across. Upon their defeat all four members are captured and held prisoner for three years before IF and Compa manage to track down their location.
Unfortunately despite their attempt to rescue everyone, the pair can only manage to rescue Nepgear before having to retreat from the even stronger members of ASIC. With her sister and the other Goddesses still prisoners and the treat of ASIC growing stronger every day, Nepgear sets off on a journey to recruit the rest of the CPU Candidates and not only free her friends but also put a stop to ASIC’s plans.
As one would surmise from that, the story of Re;Birth 2 remains nearly the same as what was found in mk2 though there are a few modifications. A few of the previous guest characters have been removed in Re;Birth 2 and in their place we see the addition of the oracles being playable for the first time, return of RED, and many of the previous mascot characters from Re;Birth 1 being inserted into the story which adds a number of unique events and humor to the game.
This is a nice plus as the self-referential and fourth wall breaking humor and obvious parodies are some of the best aspects of the series and Re;Birth 2 lives up to the mostly light-hearted nature the story always goes for. That being said, while I have a fond spot for Nepgear, those who prefer the Goddess characters will be a bit disappointed here as they take a backseat for a decent part of the story this time around. It is also worth noting that there are still multiple endings in the game to experience, including “that” one as well as an additional ending so be wary of how you may be progressing.
The transition that Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 had to undergo to become Re;Birth 2 is far less than what had to be done in Re;Birth 1 but for the most part, these two games are almost identical now with how they play as Re;Birth 2 now makes use of all of the best features found in Neptunia V as well an extra addition. As with the past game, players will explore, jump, find items, and fight against enemies on various fields/dungeons where battles can be triggered either by running into an enemy or gaining move advantage by using a “Symbol Attack” in the field.
Once you enter battle Re;Birth 2 feels as refined as the most recent games in the series as players will be able to make use of the Rush, Power, and Break attacks that are all completely customizable (with extra attacks unlocked by leveling up) as they take on enemies in turn based combat. Attacking and taking damage also raises an EXE gauge that allows either the use of extra finishing blows to tack on to the end of combos or the ability to unleash powerful special skills to take down opponents.
One of the biggest changes in this release compared to the other title is that four fighters can now be used in combat similar to mk2. This does make the combat easier and allows for a better scale in difficulty as players will now be able to spread their team out a bit more and keep the pressure on bosses that tend to require grinding levels to take down, but far less this time around.
Outside combat players will find everything else pretty much the same as it was in Re;Birth 1. Players can receive and complete quests to raise various Share percentages amongst the five factions, make use of the Plans mechanic to add new weapons and items to stores, increase/lower the difficulty of enemies, and change various things around to add some spice to older areas.
The main new addition in Re;Birth 2 is Stella’s Dungeon which is something of a mini-game roguelike. Once unlocked, players can send a girl named Stella (the mascot character for the team helping develop Re;Birth 2 Felistella) and her cat Felis into areas that players have already explored. Players do nothing other than give her assignments and equip her with items that she finds while exploring.
Every time Stella is sent out it takes a certain amount of time for her to complete a mission depending on the level of difficulty the dungeon is and if she is successful, she will generally return with better equipment for herself as well as bonus items, some of which are rare, that can be used by the player in the main game. If she happens to be defeated during her mission, she loses all of her equipped gear and returns back to the base. This works as a neat little feature that provides a bit of a distraction and extra bonuses every so often that runs the risk of failing if you get greedy.
Visuals & Audio
Re;Birth 2’s release on the PlayStation Vita comes with a number of graphical improvements though the change this time around isn’t quite as drastic as the first remake. All of the character models are quite detailed looking, including the returning RED, though it is worth noting that the various enemies you come across still suffer from being quite repetitive.
One thing that has been given a significant boost over mk2 is how certain scenes are handled. Where before mk2 tried to implement scenes using the 3D character models, Re;Birth 2 brings the story back where it belongs, to a visual novel presentation with the colorful and delightful looking animated character portraits that fans have come to know.
Thankfully the original English voice cast still continues to work on the title as Re;Birth 2 features all of the same voice actors that fans have become familiar with, though if you choose to the Japanese voice track is still available on the release. As for the background music, the combat themes are phenomenal sounding this time around while most of the other themes are fairly standard.
Even if Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 storyline’s remains mostly the same as before, the comedy found within this game makes it more than worthwhile especially if you happen to be fans of the CPU Candidates. With the improvements to the gameplay mechanics and new additions to the already likable cast of characters Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation has plenty to offer those looking to re-experience this humorous and mostly light-hearted title, even if the improvements aren’t quite as drastic this time around.
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