Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1

Hyperdimension Neptunia has been delighting home console players for a few years now, with its fascinating world, colourful characters, and deep role-playing elements.

With the game’s port to the Vita, developers Idea Factory and Compile Heart weren’t content to just transfer the original game to a new format, so they made a few major changes to the formula.

The result is an old game that feels brand new, borrowing components from other Hyperdimension games to produce a fantastic role-playing game that you can take wherever you want.

Come for the battle systems…

First and foremost, this Re;Birth has replaced the original battle system with the free-roam turn-based style of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, making battling much more enjoyable than before.

Battles are still turn-based, but you can shift your character a certain distance around the battlefield before making your move. Manoeuvring around the arena and surrounding enemies lends for a more strategic and fun battle approach, and the change makes fighting exponentially better.

The many systems that support the new battle formula may seem daunting at first glance, but every one of them is easy and effective in battle.

Creating custom combos, pairing up characters for special abilities, and even editing the game itself via the Remake system make the adventure feel unique to you, and that ownership will keep you playing for a long time.

…stay for the cheekiness

One thing that may turn a player off is the mountain of Japanese pop culture this game bathes in. There’s more love for otaku culture here than a westerner gripping a love pillow in the centre of Tokyo's Akihabara district.

This isn’t a bad thing of course, as the cheeky humor makes for a lot of light-hearted moments that offer a great contrast to the many battles fought throughout the game.

The game feels like playing an anime series in a way, jumping from episode to episode while fighting all of the battles within instead of merely watching them. However, those who don’t care for anime or Japanese culture as a whole will not be amused by the intended humor, turning the game off before they reach their limit.

Keep Calm and Fight On

Despite the cutesy Japanese pop culture exterior, this game will challenge you in a way where some fights seem impossible.

Even as early as Chapter 2 you’ll find yourself dealing with multiple boss battles with no healing time in between. There will be a lot of trial and error, not to mention grinding.

You’ll spend a lot of your time getting to your next objective, then grinding for a while until you feel you’re sufficiently prepared for the upcoming battle.

Some of you may prefer a more time constructive approach to your adventuring. If you do, know that this game is not the one for you.

However, those that don’t mind a few dozen monotonous battles won’t find themselves getting bored, as the battle system we’ve described above is fun and unique enough to keep things interesting, even if we have to battle that same enemy over and over again.

Made with gamers in mind

As you play through game, you’ll notice a lot of allusions to not only other games in the franchise, but other franchises entirely.

One scene sees Neptune chase another character, catch her, and scream “Gotta catch ‘em all!” Each of the lines is great for a snicker. Enemies on the battlefield also make reference to other parts of the gaming world, like the “Purr4” which looks like a feline PlayStation 4.

The award for best enemy is a toss-up between the short dark-haired man in flannel known as the Super Otaku and the Tokimeki Sister, which is simply a screenshot from a dating simulator, text box and all.

Even Hyperdimension fans will have something to look forward to, as a few familiar faces from previous games, like MAGES and Tekken, will make their way into the adventure.

A proper re-birth for a cult role-playing game hit, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 retains enough of the original game’s personality while making radical changes to the story and characters.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1

Hyperdimension fans will enjoy a new take on an old story, RPG fans will enjoy the various customization systems, and gamers fans will love the references to other franchises