Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation PC Review
We are at a point where there is a new Neptunia release almost every month. The year is barely halfway over, and yet the Nep-Nep train does not seem to be slowing down, with a new sequel as well as spinoff announced, in addition to who knows what else; In no time flat, developer Compile Heart has managed to do what Square Enix has done for Final Fantasy, including remakes and re-releases of remakes. Continuing to expand their moe empire across all known videogame territories, Neptunia now makes its second appearance on PC, this time with the release of the remake of their 2nd game. Try to keep up.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation was originally released earlier this year on the Playstation Vita. The PC version retains everything the portable version had, which in itself was an expansion from the original sequel on the Playstation 3. This also includes the hokey story, which deals with a metaphor on the evils of gaming piracy told in a fashion that ultimately proves that Compile Heart does not know the meaning of the word “subtle”. With the main heroines of the first Neptunia beaten and imprisoned, it’s up to their younger sisters (aka the “CPU Candidates”) to mount a rescue. Main heroine Nepgear is the younger sister of Neptune, the previous protagonist, and must gather the power of her fellow CPUs (many who start off as rivals, in typical JRPG fashion) as well as gaming’s most iconic mascots. Naturally, the developer forgoes any copyright likenesses and instead opts to turn nearly every character into a young, often sexualized lady. The Neptunia series may not be as painfully pandering as Senran Kagura or other fanservice-driven series, but if you haven’t been unable to stomach the moe-filled dialog and juvenile humor before, you won’t likely do so here.
The gameplay mechanics are carried over wholesale; players engage in familiar turn-based mechanics where each character can perform a variety of attacks that have various effects, such as attacking an enemy’s guard, deal direct damage, or build up an EX meter for an additional attack, as well as perform various character-specific skills. In addition, CPU party members can transform into more powerful HDD versions of themselves, offering additional attacks and damage. Anyone with a few RPGs under their belt will have no problem learning the mechanics, and the Neptunia series earns extra points for allowing entire animations to be skipped with a single button press. This results in battles that can last mere seconds, which can shave off a lot of grind time or just prep players for the inevitable dialog-heavy cutscenes.
On a technical scale, the PC version trumps the Vita original thanks to a faster framerate and higher resolution. Unfortunately, the game suffers from a fair share of crashes and other bugs familiar to PC players, and has yet to be patched at the time of this review. The game also carries over its unbalanced difficulty, with some enemies becoming an utter cakewalk only to lead to a torturous boss battle. If you don’t mind getting an early edge, the PC version comes pre-installed with several DLC items that offer ludicrously powerful stat boosts when equipped.
If you can stomach the pandering story situations Neptunia throws at you, or if you happen to actually enjoy it (once again, no judging here), the simplistic-yet-satisfactory RPG mechanics and large amount of content (including quests, optional bosses, unlockable outfits and more) results in a decent RPG experience that’s light in commitment, if high in moe calories.