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About the product
- Dynamic Combat: Freely move units in battle to tackle foes! Set up your own combos, fill up the EXE Drive gauge, and then deal "massive damage" with your finishing attacks!
- Scout System: Send out scouts to explore and gather information on dungeons! Level them up so they can find things you may have missed on your adventure!
- Flag System: Break or repair "flag" triggers in dungeons to activate different events when your scouts return from exploring! This can change enemy spawns or reveal new items!
- Burn Game Discs: Obtain blank discs and burn different types of data onto them to access hidden potentials! With the right combinations, you may even make a Godly Game! It's your chance to craft your own AAA title for Neptune and friends to equip!
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Several years after preventing Arfoire's revival, Gamindustri has remained at peace without any major issues. The CPUs and their younger sisters have been enjoying their quiet lives for a while. Then one day, the CPU of Planeptune-Neptune-is sent to another dimension. This new dimension feels very much like her own except it has only progressed to the Gamindustri of the 1980s. In this dimension, a group of villains calling themselves the "Seven Sages" are trying to create a world without CPUs. With help from her new friends, including that dimension's CPU of Planeptune-Plutia-Neptune begins her quest to protect a totally different Gamindustri in her brand-new adventure!
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Story: You reprise your role as Neptune, the CPU (Console Patron Unit) of Planeptune who is also known as "Purple Heart" and is one of four goddesses. The duty of a goddess is to protect her homeland against invading forces, monsters and other entities that would seek to undermine the power and prosperity of their land. Each goddess is a representation of a console in the "console wars," and they all learn to respect one another and to cease warring against each other (occurred in "Hyperdimension Neptunia"). In Victory, Neptune is sent into a past, alternate dimension by a member of the "Seven Sages," an evil organization that is attempting to undermine the shares (or powers) of the current four goddesses. The plot is simple and straight-forward, but this didn't bother me in the least (even though I'm typically critical of RPG plots!).
Main Characters (not a complete list due to spoilers!) - Neptune/Purple Heart: A ditzy, but light-hearted character who is the main character of the series. She loves to sleep and play video games, but hates working and tries to slack off as much as possible. She represents a cancelled, SEGA console.
Vert/Green Heart: She is a hardcore gamer that balances work and play as much as possible who is the protector of Leanbox (Xbox).
Noire/Black Heart: A hard-working and diligent goddess who tries to be as much of an individual as possible and has difficulty making friends. She protects Lastation (Playstation).
Blanc/White Heart: A quiet and serious goddess who spends much of her time reading and writing manga. When angered, she swears quite profusely and is the protector of Lowee (Wii).
Plutia/Iris Heart (New): The CPU of Planeptune in the alternate dimension that Neptune travels to. Her and Neptune have very similar personalities, but their CPU personalities are dramatically different.
Characters Overall: The characters are very interesting, well thought out and have a lot of personality. Neptune is still Neptune, Nepgear is still Nepgear, etc, etc. They've done a great job with bringing back our favorite characters and breathing new life into them and putting them into hilarious situations. Let me just tell you, that the dialogue at times is very suggestive whenever Iris Heart appears, but you'll often find yourself just shaking your head and laughing hysterically (I know I did!). Let's just say that if you enjoyed MKII, you'll love this installment too. Or if you hated playing as Nepgear, but love Neptune, well... stop fretting. Neptune is the main character obviously, so she's back in full force! And you'll finally get to see what the world would be like if there were (almost) two Neptune's in it at once!
Mechanics for Fans of the Series: Victory plays a lot more like "Hyperdimension Neptunia MKII" than it does the first installment (which is a good thing, in my opinion)! They haven't changed a whole lot of the mechanics, but have most certainly tweaked a few things here and there. Such as, there is no longer an "AP Mechanic", you now only use SP and you use a percentage of your total SP to transform into your CPU form. Since there is no AP, you now also can stay in CPU form as long as you are not infected by a virus or killed in battle. There are new things such as "Scouts," which you will use in an attempt to find new areas, discover new monsters in previously visited areas, or enable an increase to XP/Coins found in an area. The list goes on, but just know that the gameplay is more like MKII than anything else with just some minor adjustments. The only sad thing is you can longer do multiple actions, since they did away with the AP system (you can longer use items and skills during the same turn, you must do one or the other).
Mechanics for Newcomers: The only game I can think of that I have played that is somewhat similar to this games mechanics is the .hack//GAMES franchise. You wander around dungeons in a similar fashion, there are no "random encounters" and the monsters are pre-placed. Additionally, you can create combos of your choice and I think that this is an important aspect of the series, as it allows for more customization of your squad. For instance, ▲ combos release a flurry of attacks which quickly raise your EX Gauge in order to allow your squads to unlock an even higher combo count. ■ combos are hard powered attacks which do extra damage if the enemies barrier (or shields) have been depleted. "X" combos are used to destroy enemy barrier/shields and do less actual physical damage to the enemy. This allows you to customize your team in which way you think best (such as having 2 characters who are shield destroyers, with one character being a heavy hitter. The drawback to this would be that your team lacks the ability to raise their EX Gauge quickly, resulting in fewer overall combos during battle, but allows you to destroy normal monsters/monsters with high shield capacities quickly). Your characters can typically fulfill one "role" well and one other decently with their allotted amount of points (the "roles" being: Combo Attacks/Power Attacks/Shield Attacks). Your characters can also transform into their "Goddess/CPU" forms once you have acquired their HDD (Hard Drive Divinity). This changes the description and names of their skills, increases their statistics dramatically and allows them access to their strongest abilities (mostly later in the game). I won't touch much more on this, but the combat system is VERY well done, and I've played a LOT of RPG's!
Soundtrack: As everyone who is a fan of the series knows, the first game had a very, very forgettable and repetitive soundtrack. Hyperdimension Neptunia MKII did a decent job, but Victory? Let's just say it's pretty dang amazing! Not the best soundtrack for an RPG I've ever heard, but definitely the best of the series and definitely deserves praise. This would all be thanks to Nobue Uematsu! If you pre-ordered this game (or if you're lucky enough to buy a game pre-packaged with the pre-order bonus), you get the soundtrack for free! Enjoy it! It's a great listen.
Dislikes: My biggest gripe with the game is that this is BY FAR the most difficult in the series. Meaning, at times you'll be walking through a dungeon, doing fine and then suddenly you'll be attacked by two normal monsters (who are around your level) but who are joined by two other monsters who are capable of literally ONE-SHOTTING you. There are NO "level suggestions" for dungeons, so save EVERY SINGLE CHANCE YOU GET, or you'll regret it and end up losing an hour or two of gameplay... trust me on this. A lot of the mini-bosses are a lot more challenging and more "on your level." Just watch out for those "SURPRISE 8D!" monsters that for some reason have a duo of level 45 monsters paired into the same group as a couple of level 30 ones, in a dungeon that was just revealed to you while you are still level 35. This game is easily three times more difficult than its predecessors, so just be aware of this and realize you'll be grinding a lot more than what you might be used to (but it isn't nearly as bad as Record of the Agarest War or games like that). Also, outfits are EXTREMELY expensive in this game, so don't expect to be able to do much customizing (appearance wise) early on. Last but not least, they added a "Challenge" system which gives you bonus stats and unlocks additional voices. Granted, this isn't a required thing (only a bonus), but there are some pretty ridiculous challenges (such as, Main Character jumps 700x, but this ONLY applies to the character you are currently playing)... but really, it isn't enough of a drawback to really take anything away from the game. Also, it is (nearly) impossible to get perfect scores on the "End of Chapter Grades" (which give items, weapons, etc.). This game seems like it was intentionally designed for New Save+ completionists; so don't get discouraged when you only get a 35/40 at the end of a chapter when you've been trying your hardest to get a perfect score on your first playthrough!
Would YOU Like This Game?: A few tips to help you figure out if you'll like the Hyperdimension Neptunia series:
- You like anime/manga and are not easily offended by suggestive dialogue.
- You like anime/manga and your mom isn't easily offended by suggestive dialogue.
- You enjoy anime's with "transformation sequences."
- You like RPG's and are interested in playing more "JRPG's" due to their aesthetic qualities.
- You like an RPG that has a little bit of a "grind" to it, but doesn't overkill it.
- You identify with and understand the term "moe," in regards to anime/manga.
- You enjoy shows/games that have very cute and relatable characters.
- You know how to take a joke and you don't take everything deathly-seriously... ... no, cerealy, seriously. If you can't take a joke, this game is DEFINITELY NOT for you!!!
- You enjoy games that allow you to customize your characters in various cute outifts, customize their attack combos, and change their standard/goddess appearances.
- You don't mind shows/games that have an all female-cast.
- Suggestive anime artwork does not bother you (AKA: "Fanservice". Keep in mind this game is Rated "T", so there is no outright nudity. That being said, there is a moderate amount of fanservice in this game. If such a thing would upset you or someone who might watch you play, I would NOT recommend this game for you).
If you said "YES!" to all of these, this game is DEFINITELY the game for you and you would probably enjoy MKII as well (maybe even the original! But it's hard to go back once you've experienced the difference in combat/item mechanics). Even if you only said "Hmm, yeah" to about half of those, this game might very well interest you, so I would recommend you check it out!
Ending: Overall, this game is FANTASTIC and I've been loving every second of it. Once I played MKII, I immediately went out and bought Hyperdimension Neptunia and pre-ordered Victory. It's a fabulous series that brings witty banter, has a hilarious all-female cast and some really great battles. If you've been hesitant to try the series, stop fretting and just go out and get it! Just be aware of the TYPE of game you're buying and what you're getting into. Also, the game has original Japanese dialogue AND English voice-overs (with some higher-profile VA's!).
Lastly, this game kind of reminds me of Sailor Moon turned RPG... if that puts it into context for any of you!
Hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to ask questions! And if you don't like the game... well... Neptune has some words for you: "Well, just so you understand. Let's go and stick those protest signs somewhere less visible!"
That said, the game itself is pretty awesome. Perhaps the biggest initial impact this third Hyperdimension Neptunia game had on me is the sheer amount of voiced dialogue it includes. Not only is it a massive increase on the first and especially second game - but it literally dwarfs most other JRPGs. While the English VA is okay, the Japanese VA's (especially Neptune and Plutie) are simply stellar. So why should you buy this game? Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is an atmospheric, quirky, fanservice filled JRPG with free-roam instanced combat and fun mechanics. It doesn't take itself too seriously, but the production value of the third installment gives a feeling of quality and the fun to be had while playing make this a worthwhile purchase. I encourage anyone who regularly plays NISA or Xseed published JRPG's (and Tecmo Koei no I guess...) to give this game a try. You needn't play the first 2, but a quick playthrough of the second may help in getting acquainted with the world and characters.
Quick note on the difficulty. While the first Hyperdimension Neptunia game was difficult due to the immature combat system, the introduction of positioning in the second game really made it much easier to steamroll most opponents. However, Victory seems to go out of its way to really push the player's skills and most difficult fights are heavily sink-or-swim, meaning you should be very aware of having the best gear and decent amounts of consumables at all times. I think this adds to the flavor and involvement of the game, but new players should take note of saving regularly and updating their inventory whenever possible.