Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sister's Generation

Like the previous game, Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk 2 has been remade for the Vita.  While the first game had some major revisions, this game didn't have as much to change.  The story and characters are slightly reworked, as they have removed one and added a few more, and even increased the roles some of them play in the story.  The core plot of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sister's Generation follows Nepgear, the little sister of Neptune, banding the other CPU candidates (the handhelds, since the CPUs themselves represent the consoles) together to free the CPUs from the Gamindustri graveyard.

The flow of the game and combat have also been updated.  You still do some plot, which usually opens a new dungeon, go to the dungeon for a boss and/or more plot, then return to town and repeat.  It's not really as bland as I am making it sound, thanks to the writing for the characters, but progression does follow a predictable flow.  The game still doesn't take itself too seriously, since this is a parody of the industry, with lots of references and nods to video games.

Dungeons are small areas that have monster moving around them.  There's a few different ones, but if you have played any of the series, they are areas you have seen before.  A fight starts when you make contact with the moving enemies.  Whenever a character's turn comes up, they can move freely in a circle around their starting location.  Your weapon's attack range is shown as a box in front of your character, which is used to aim your attacks.  Using both the movement and the aiming, it is very possible and advisable to hit multiple enemies with each attack.  CPUs and CPU candidates can even transform into a more powerful form if you need an extra edge in battle.  The combo/attack/SP systems have been streamlined in the games since the original release of Mk 2, and those changes are reflected here.

The plans from ReBirth 1 make a return, which allow you to add items to the shop, add dungeons, and even change enemy spawns and gather-able loot.  I really like the plans, and am glad that they returned.  Besides being fun things to unlock, you can make the enemies harder, or add new enemies, making it easier to grind levels, gain specific loot or complete quests.  You probably will have to do some grinding, as I hit a few points where I just wasn't strong enough to fight a boss, or one of the powerful monsters lurking in the dungeons.  I've had those points in all of the other Neptunia games, and ReBirth 2 is no exception.

One last addition to the game that I really enjoyed was Stella's Dungeon.  Unlockable through the plans system, it adds a little minigame where you send Stella, one of the NPC people, and her cat through various dungeons in search of items.  You select a dungeon and an area, equip her, and let her go.  She travels in real time, so when it says 10 minutes, you can either play or put it in sleep mode for 10 minutes and she will return.  Even though you don't actually do anything with Stella's Dungeon, it's oddly fun for me.  I like sending her out so she clears a dungeon and brings me back a few items.

The length of the game is about the same as before, being about 35+ hours, and there are still multiple endings if you want an excuse to play even more.  While ReBirth 2 isn't quite as overhauled as ReBirth 1, there's still some good changes and it's easy to recommend it to players who haven't played the original release, especially if you enjoy RPGs.  For returning players, it's probably still worth playing, as the game is still fun.  While only Vita and Playstation TV owners are currently the only ones who can play it, both ReBirth 1 and 2 are on their way to Steam.  If you haven't played any of the Hyperdimension Neptunia games, it's not necessary to start at the beginning, as they don't directly connect, but are similar in nature.  So if you are more interested in the handheld wars, jump right in to Nepgear's story!

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