Review | Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation (PC)
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation was recently ported over to PC from the PlayStation Vita. The port is quite faithful to the Vita version of the title, albeit with some enhancements such as full 1080p, however with the enhancements come some new issues, which we’ll get into a bit later.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 takes place in the fantasy world known as Gamindustri. Personifications of real-world video game consoles, known as the CPUs, battle to protect the populace of their realms. This title starts three years after the four CPUs were defeated and imprisoned by an extremely powerful foe known as Arfoire.
Ever since the four were defeated, things have gone rapidly downhill. Illegal file sharing and virus-infected monsters plague the land thanks to an evil organization managing to win public favor after the four were imprisoned. Now the CPU candidates, the younger sisters of the four CPUs, are on a mission to try and set things right as things hit an all time low in the world of Gamindustri.
First, however, two girls, IF and Compa, need to rescue a CPU Candidate who goes by the name of NepGear. She feels terribly inadequate after suffering the major defeat with the CPUs, but I she has any hope of getting the people to believe in the CPUs once again (and thus regaining the shares for their and other nations), she’ll need to work closely with her friends and overcome these feelings.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 contains a ton of gaming references, some of which can be quite obscure. I have to admit to a certain feeling of pleasure as I recognized the more obscure ones in the PlayStation Vita version of the title, and that feeling remained as I played the PC version.
In terms of battle, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 utilizes a turn-based battle system in which your party members can move a set distance, then perform a command. Your foes will have two bars that you’ll be focused on depleting; a health bar and a guard bar. The former is obviously required to be wiped in order to take out the enemy, while the latter can be destroyed in order to make your attacks deal significantly more damage to your enemies. As a result, it becomes necessary in some of the fights to deplete the second before you can deal any real damage to the first, as many of the more powerful enemies I faced had quite a high defense and were able to shrug off many of my attacks until I did so.
Depleting the guard bar isn’t a one-time only thing, however, as it will regenerate partially during enemy turns. This can make some of the boss battles quite difficult and may cause you to use up many of your resources as you struggle to take down the powerful foe.
As you attack your enemies with basic attacks, you can choose between focusing on dishing out more damage, wiping out the enemy’s Guard bar, or increasing your EXE gauge so that you may utilize bonus attacks. You also have a variety of skills for each character, and the CPU candidates can enter HDD mode, drastically increasing their damage output. These options make the combat seem robust at first, but later in the game it felt like I was experiencing the same types of battles repeatedly. The standard, weaker foes that I encountered in the game I simply focused on wiping out as effortlessly as possible, while the bigger enemies had me using skills and trying to wipe their guard so I could deal some real damage. It became quite noticeable after a while and made the game a tad less enjoyable for me.
Outside of battle, you can customize your party members. The three types of attacks mentioned can actually be adjusted outside of battle and even swapped for different versions (once you have unlocked said versions, of course) that will allow you to hit harder or even add effects, such as poison. If you utilize this customization well, it can produce some particularly nasty (for your enemies) combos. Many gamers will likely change up these combos quite often to suit the variety of boss battles, rather than stick with any same customization choices.
On the note of boss battles, you may want to hold some resources in reserve for each fight. The reason being is that sometimes the events, which are clearly marked on the map, and usually have a save point nearby, can sometimes throw multiple boss battles at you back-to-back, which, as you can imagine, can be frustrating if you’ve used up all of your resources on one only to have a second come in and proceed to destroy you for that very reason.
There’s no real difficulty in learning how to adjust combos and the like, as the game will actually present the concepts almost immediately. Unfortunately, this is almost meaningless, as you don’t really have any points to utilize swapping out moves, and you lack access to the EXE gauge at that point in the game. You can still set it up so that you can alternate between the three types of attacks, allowing you to experiment a bit in the early game.
The game also utilizes a system with “Plans”, which allows you to change up a variety of things in dungeons, add new items to the shops, and other things. You are encouraged to utilize them immediately, though doing so can actually cause you to miss out on some items you need for quests.
On the note of quests, the game introduces them, but quickly advises you to advance the story, rather than dwelling on them. This advice can be quite bad, as listening to it can leave you severely under-leveled and thus allow for bosses to wipe the floor with you. You will also miss out on some (sometimes) decent rewards that can prove helpful.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 also features a passive feature known as Stella’s Dungeon. In this mode, you’ll outfit an NPC and send her off on a run for loot. The game suggests that you send her off before saving and stopping the game so that she’ll return when you do. If you simply put the console in sleep mode without fully exiting the title, then this is good advice, however, if you fully exit the title, you may want to save before dispatching her, as she won’t advance in this case. The game also mentions that you can press X to examine each step of her journey, which can be useful to tell why she failed and how to best outfit her for her next journey. Useful advice, except for one small issue: It’s actually triangle that you need in order to do this, not X.
The enhancements offered by this PC version of the title certainly bring a bit of added polish, making the environments and the like look sharper. The cutscenes seem a bit low quality in comparison, due to the fact that they were drawn for a Vita screen and not a PC, but that’s easily overlooked. In addition, the game allows you to choose whether to use a controller or keyboard mouse, with the former being recommended since the button layout may not lend itself too well to the latter
Unfortunately there are some issues that users can experience. These can include screen tearing in battle, lag spikes, and even some crashes. If you experience any issues, you can check out this Steam discussion, which provides some solutions for many of them.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation had its issues on Vita and it still has some on PC. That said, I still enjoyed the humor and references, though I didn’t enjoy the PC port as much as I did the Vita version. As I mentioned in the review for the Vita version, the game definitely felt like an ideal portable release, but not so much an ideal PC release.
That said there’s still plenty of fun to be had on the Steam version of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation, and RPG fans will likely still love the game.
Final Score: 4/5