Online shopping is a glorious thing; you can order almost anything via the Internet and have it at your doorstep the next day. It’s also shame free, I bring this up because Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2‘s boxart features four skimpily dressed anime girls and an M rating. Taking this up to the cash register at your local big box store is almost like buying a copy of Playboy from Barnes & Noble. Sure there’s nothing wrong with doing this–but you’re going to get a few judgmental glances. Whatever, let them stare, Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 lacks class, but it’s still an enjoyable romp.
The Story – The year is 20XX. Gamindustri faces a dire crisis. Ever since the advent of ASIC—the Arfoire Syndicate of International Crime—morality has all but vanished. As much as 80 percent of all students are rumored to worship the being known as Arfoire. Parents, knowing this a poor object to worship, went ahead and taught their children to do so. The government turned a blind eye instead of crushing this crisis in its infancy. Thus, Gamindustri fell into complete and utter disarray.
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Title: Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2
Developer: Idea Factory
Release Date: 2/28/12[/toggle_box]
- Sugar Rush – The graphics will give you a toothache; the girls are luminous and look like they belong in the candy aisle. Nepgear and her companions wouldn’t be out of place in a glossy anime. Meanwhile the backgrounds adopt a grittier decor, they’re more realistic looking. These two styles should clash—but they actually mesh together to give Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 a stunning presentation.
- Excellent Battle System – A JRPG is nothing without a good battle system, after all most of your time will be spent pounding cute, albeit deadly creatures into submission. The battle system is a hybrid between turn-based and free roam. You can freely move the girls around the area, but only one person moves at a time. Once you get close enough to your target you can unleash a series of attacks on them, once you run out of action points, though, you can no longer attack or move until the next turn.
- Excellent Battle System Cont. – Since you can move around there’s an extra level of strategy involved. You have to make sure you don’t rush into a group of enemies, and some of them have deadly projectile attacks so it’s best to engage them in close quarters combat. There are tons of moves, summons, weapons, finishers, transformations, status ailments, items, etc. The system is deep and rewarding if you take the time to master all its nuances.
- Challenging – As stated above–the enemies may look cute, but if you take them for granted you’ll quickly be introduced to the “Game Over” screen. Once the game progresses you have to pick your battles wisely and have a good strategy in place. Although, it’s worth noting that I skipped more battles than I should have (no random encounters here, you can run around enemies easily), so the game could be easier if you fight every beast you see.
- The Girls – There are over a dozen playable characters and all of them reference something gaming related (Gust, Nisa, Rom, Etc.). Each girl has there own personality and you’ll quickly pick a favorite.
- Custom Swag – Customization is always a plus for me. You can use your own pictures to alter Nepgear’s transformation gear. Although, this could lead to some interesting versions of Nepgear, somewhere there is a guy making flesh colored outfits… sigh, you disgust me.
- Chirper System – While in town you can see what everyone has to say by using the Chirper System. You can access various scripted events that can help improve the girls’ relationships with each other, or get some advice from Keiji Inafune.
- Gamer Humor – Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 is a game for gamers—I know what you’re thinking, DeShaun, aren’t all games for gamers? Good point, but here’s what I meant. Around every corner there are references to the gaming industry. Some are subtle, while others are blatantly obvious.
- Lily Rank – The lily rank shows if the girls are as thick as thieves or frenemies. If you want the best items then it is in your best interest to get the girls to like each other.
- See Ya in Hell – I’m a weirdo, one of my favorite things about JRPGs is the one-liners that the characters say after winning a battle. If you’re like me you won’t be disappointed, the girls’ battle cries are genuinely funny.
- Fetch Quests – There are a good amount of quests to tackle at the guild, but a lot of them are fetch quests. Or ones that tell you to go defeat a certain amount of monsters. This is pretty standard stuff in JRPGs, but it’s worth mentioning nevertheless.
- About That Story – The story doesn’t take its self too seriously, but it’s still hard to follow. It’ll help if you have some knowledge of what happen during the first game. Although, it really isn’t required since this one can stand on its own.
- Prudes, This Game Isn’t For You – There’s a decent amount of sexually suggestive themes in Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 (the game is rated M). Personally I’m not bothered by this, I knew what I was getting in to after all–but this game wil undoubtedly offend some people (Wal-Mart cashiers).
- Framerate – While prancing around the dungeons I felt that the framerate could have been better. It’s far from horrible, but it looks like it should be a few frames faster.
- More Variety, Please? - Eventually I started to feel like I was in an endless loop, the battles felt automatic, and I was left yearning for some variety. Luckily this feeling only started to set in towards the end of my journey, but the game could still use a few more quest types and more things to do outside of battle.
If you’re looking for a JRPG with a wonderfully enjoyable battle system and a ton of cute, funny, and occasionally half naked anime girls then Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 is for you. Most of the problems outlined in this review didn’t stop me from enjoying my playthrough. And this will be the case for almost every gamer that is interested in this sequel to last year’s Hyperdimension Neptunia. If you accept it for what it is–a shamelessly unapologetic JRPG–you’ll have a blast.
[box_light]We believe that the score is the least important part of a review. It’s tough trying to assign a numerical value to an experience. Furthermore, is there really a difference between a 7.5 and an 8? Gamers place too much importance on arbitrary numbers. This is why our scores are hidden by default. Only look at them if you absolutely need a number between 1-10 to see if a game is worth your time. You can read our review guidelines here. A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.[/box_light]
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Replay Value: 7
8.0 Great – Many strive for greatness, and fail. Not this game, it looked greatness in the eye and lived to tell about it. We recommend purchasing it.[/toggle_box]