Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 Reinvigorates its PS3 JRPG Origins

Hyperdimension Neptunia fans have been spoiled rotten as of late, and the trend continues with the upcoming release of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 Sisters Generation. Of course, for all fans this remake of Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 on Vita is great news. Along with all the aspects players already know and love, Re;Birth 2 brings with it a variety of changes to make the experience worth revisiting. For new players, some of these tweaks even make the game a bit more palpable.

As with the rest of the series, Re;Birth 2 takes place in the land of Gamindustri. Here all people live within the confines of a city focused on adoration of a certain Goddess. Each of these Goddesses is actually an anthropomorphized version of a video game console/company – with a few liberties. For example, the names of these locations are things like Lastation, Lowee, and Planeptune. At the start of this game things are already in a huge state of disarray. Citizens of each location have stopped worshipping their Goddesses in favor of the nefarious ASIC. ASIC lures people into the fold by promising free games. Shock, they’re suggesting everyone should become game pirates! Not only that but all the Goddesses are trapped after a terrible, losing battle against ASIC.

hyperdimensionneptunia2-3

Who can possibly save Gamindustri? This time it’s the CPU Candidates’ turn to shine. Instead of focusing on the main “console” characters, Re;Birth 2 catapults “handheld” characters into the spotlight. Those who have played the original Mk2 might be surprised with how quickly this version differentiates itself. Now, instead of another character in your team, a new gal named Red immediately joins the team. Unlike Re;Birth 1 she also has a very strong presence on the storyline. Changes like this feel surprisingly meaningful, but of course the meat of this version is still the Remake System.

If you’ve played Re;Birth 1 then you already know all about it. For those who didn’t, this feature allows the player to collect Plans from various NPCs. Each confers a different feature. Some examples include changing item drops in a stage, increasing/decreasing enemy difficulty, or forging a new type of item. You’ll definitely want to make use of Plans to modify the experience to your liking. Just make sure to never avoid opportunities to talk to NPCs or you might miss a neat new modifier!

hyperdimensionneptunia2-1

Outside of all this new business the core of Re;Birth 2 remains the same. If you enjoy the battle system from Mk2 onward then it remains effectively unchanged. The only noticeable difference is an unfortunate one. Every so often attacks with large visual effects will cause tremendous, impossible to ignore slowdown. Although initially a rarity, it seems that these highly flamboyant effects become more common as you go along – meaning more moments of slowdown during battles. Sure, it’s in no way game breaking, but an apparent conceit of running on Vita.

There’s another aspect which returning players will notice immediately: character portraits! Now instead of seeing each cast member’s 3D model speaking there are drawn portraits. It’s not a huge deal but does help Re;Birth 2 fit in with the more modern trends of portable JRPGs. One weird side effect of the transition is that English voice acting appears hardly lip synched. In many ways it feels like a goofy kung fu movie dub where you’ll hear a voice continuing even after the mouth is firmly shut. Of course, you can avoid this by simply playing with Japanese voices instead.

hyperdimensionneptunia2-2

So far it seems that Re;Birth 2 remains faithful to its origins while updating itself in small, but beneficial ways. The small size of dungeons and relative brevity of quests also feels perfectly attuned for handheld consumers. If you love Neptunia games then this remake of sorts is worth your time. Thanks to the satirical take on console wars even newcomers should be able to enjoy this solid JRPG. Keep an eye out for our review once Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 Sisters Generation launches on January 23.