Save Gamindustri All Over Again in Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1

North American gamers got their first taste of Hyperdimension Neptunia in 2012. Since then, this cutesy RPG’s take on the video game industry has grown into a series with a devoted fanbase. Each main game in the series has been PS3-exclusive – until now. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 is an updated version of the original game that hopes to please existing fans as well as bring in new players. Having played each game thus far (even Producing Perfection!), I thought my Neptunia days were over. And yet, it looks like Re;Birth will be well-worth a playthrough.

For the uninitiated, Hyperdimension Neptunia takes place in a world called Gamindustri. Within this world are different regions, each with their own goddess. As the name implies, this is a RPG-ized version of the game industry, with countries devoted to Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and Sega. Of course, everything isn’t quite so explicit. For example, Sony’s base is called Laststation and Nintendo’s is Lowee. In any case, gaming fans should easily be able to recognize many references.

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Originally, Neptunia’s battle system was much maligned for being dull. It was turn-based, but attack animations felt slow for whatever reason. Re;Birth amends this by removing the original battles entirely and replacing them with the system from later games. As such, all characters can move around the circular battlefield freely. Positioning characters helps because often you can aim attacks to hit multiple monsters at once. With that said, this makes grinding more time-consuming. And yes, you will need to grind to keep up with the increasing difficulty.

In creating Re;Birth, a Remake System was implemented. Alongside some story tweaks, this is meant to be the main factor luring Hyperdimension Neptunia fans back. By collecting Plans in dungeons and from other characters, you can now change how the game itself plays. For example, with the right plan you can change the type of item drops you’ll come across. More comprehensive Plans allow the player to alter difficulty overall (higher or lower). It’s all incredibly odd, but quite useful, and it extends the game’s replayability – not unlike the difficulty tweaks in P4G. The Remake System will likely appeal to brand new players as well.

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Perhaps the weirdest thing about Re;Birth is the fact that it’s being played on a Vita. Sure, the games have never necessarily utilized PS3 power to its full extent, but it still feels undeniably like a “console” game. This is a huge boon as some players simply don’t want to play RPGs for eight hours at a time. Playing through Hyperdimension Neptunia in small bites will take a while, but it’s incredibly easy to do given this newfound portability.

A few small issues have reared their head already, but none that appear game-breaking. Often, when starting a dungeon, there is a perceptible framerate drop. At other times, the camera gets into weird, obscured angles. During battles this becomes quite the annoyance. Thankfully, players can move the camera themselves when it screws up. Beyond that, the transition from PS3 to Vita works for the better.

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Those who want to get into the Hyperdimension Neptunia series should play Re;Birth over the original. It smooths over rough edges, allows for far more customization, and is a surprisingly good fit on Vita. Longtime fans may also want to give this a shot because of the Remake System, modified story segments and ‘modern’ battle system. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 is one of those 30+ hour RPGs so you’ll be in for a long, lighthearted gaming journey when it launches on August 26th