Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is nothing if not high-concept. A thinly veiled allegory for the console wars, this is the third entry in a series of JRPGs which casts anthropomorphic caricatures of Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and Sega as goddesses vying with one another for supremacy over the world of Gamindustri.
The premise is as exciting as it's ever been, but that's never really been Hyperdimension Neptunia's problem. Decidedly mediocre affairs, the games have never quite lived up to the intrigue, hamstrung by a failure to deliver an engrossing experience beyond the clever conceit. Victory is definitely a step forward for the series; however, Compile Heart seems all too keen to shoot itself in the foot on the road to progress.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory (PlayStation 3) Developer: Compile Heart, Idea Factory Publisher: NIS America Release: March 21, 2013 MSRP: $49.99
Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory once again follows the eponymous Neptune. Taking place a few years after the second entry in the series, Neptune's grown complacent in the interim, shirking her duties to the point of reverting back to level one. Some things happen and she winds up being transported to an alternate dimension where the console wars are just beginning.
The story has its moments, but, like most everything in Victory, every success seems to be undermined by a corresponding failure. It's quite apparent a lot of work went into the localization, and the script is rife with clever idioms, innuendo, and various cultural references, many of which will likely glean an occasional smirk or chuckle from players. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between. Witty punchlines are juxtaposed with and buried under heaps of vapid, cloying, puerile dialogue. Despite boasting a provocative concept, the narrative is plodding and generally quite dull. It's regrettable that such a character-driven story is so devoid of actual characterization.
Sadly, the developers seem cognizant of the game's issues. Characters frequently break the fourth wall and sometimes in doing so will acknowledge the title's less than stellar qualities. It's funny the first time or two, but any humor evoked from these moments is quickly drowned out by a mounting sense of aggravation. This is a videogame about videogames. Something so self-aware really shouldn't be so blatantly flawed.
Combat is where Victory really shines. Battles are not mandatory, as opposed to random encounters players are free to engage or avoid enemies as they please. While not particularly aggressive, critters will give chase within a certain radius. It's best to strike them before they can return the favor, as doing so determines initiative in battle. Combat itself is a fairly traditional turn-based affair, albeit with a bit of tactical flare. Positioning is extremely important as players can strike multiple enemies if they're bunched closely together. Similarly, it's best to space out party members as enemies can do the same. It's a subtle mechanic but it goes a long way to make the gameplay that much more engaging.
Standard combat entails a sequence of rush, power, and break attacks. There are also a variety of more exciting special moves such as healing spells, hilarious deluges of stuffed toys, and an onslaught of Keiji Inafune torso rockets. Yes, it can get quite bizarre. There's also "HDD," which when activated transforms the young ladies into their stronger goddess forms. Finally, the "EXE Drive" unleashes a devastating attack powerful enough to fell even monstrous foes. Sadly, it's tied to a slow-filling gauge and is best saved for only the most dangerous of opponents. Everything aside from the standard set of attacks is accompanied by a unique animation which, along with some great tunes, really helps to ratchet up the excitement.
Being the spice of life and all, it's nice to have a variety of ways to dispatch a similarly diverse melange of enemies. Some of my favorite adversaries were parodies from classic games such as ghosts reminiscent of those in Pac-Man, Super Mario-esque pipes, and Tetris block creatures. Unfortunately, Victory's multiplicity doesn't extend to the game's environments. Dull, drab, and repetitive, before long players will find themselves wandering through portions of dungeons blatantly ripped from other areas in the game.
It reeks of laziness, but that pales in comparison to what is easily the worst part of the entire experience. The quest system. Ugh! Poorly implemented and only there to waste your time, a seemingly endless number of errands awaits just to artificially lengthen the game. Rarely challenging, never interesting, these fetch quests exist only as arbitrary roadblocks that will need to be surmounted before the story is allowed to advance.
Dwelling somewhere between mediocrity and greatness, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory isn't a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. It just isn't a very good one either. A nuanced, rhythmic, and generally entertaining combat system awaits alongside a nascent story for those that can endure more than their fair share of suffering.
CJ Andriessen Don't have a date for V-Day weekend? Why not fill that void in your life by making a Super Mario Maker Level for this month's Dtoid Designs Contest? http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/CJ+Andriessen/dtoid-designs-the-wacky-wiggler-challenge-338301.phtmlSarah Jane farron So uh, my dream was interesting. Travel somewhere to get furniture, protests going on, police lock us behind a gate so we go round and blow up their car to escape. Now apocalypse time with city on fire and zombies and then I get a girlfriend.Quite varied!ikiryou I watched the movie Flight with Denzel Washington last night. It got especially good once John Goodman appeared and it turned into a sort of fun, surrealistic drug comedy. But then the ending undid every bit of enjoyment it gave me up to that point.ChrisHannard Putting together the Valentines Day edition of Gaming's Beautiful People and finding it surprisingly hard - ooer, missus etc - to find a male couple to put in the list. Any suggestions? All I can seem to find is the guards from Undertale. JohnSmith123 The story in Destiny seem kind of crummy. I feel like I'm missing something here. It doesn't really click. Taken King however seems pretty good though. OrochiLeona You know how after years and years of constant truckin' Truckers are known to get one permanently sunburned arm?OverlordZetta Quick note for Soul Sacrifice Delta: Sony designed it weirdly, and so while most of the updates should come in by downloading the newest update, other stuff you might not get unless you hit this on the main menu. Don't miss out!Retrofraction Getting my Ninja on for a selfie in the Bathroom for the contest:Donald J Trump Found this image of myself on Ted Cruz's computer, disgraceful! Further proof he isn't natural born, no true American would have a disgusting image like this! (Censored by some idiot's ugly face)Solar Pony Django That moment when your dog eats one of your figures but don't notice until it's to late. 10/10 Dog. Yah fuck.Alphadeus Love, Lost, Live, Lost (2014) - Yesterday was me and my girlfriend's 16th year anniversary together, so I decided to share this song. It deals with being in love, losing that person, moving on, and learning to love again. It's 9 minutes long, too :Pgajknight I have done my part. Thank you Niero. Question: Does blocking someone also remove their front-page articles too? iam16bit I've been on this site for sometime and for some reason I've never done a quickpost until now.TheKodu So I'm hearing the UN called Japan in to discus "Banning the sale of video games or cartoons involving sexual violence against women " Which by Anita's standards = any Violence able to be done. Japan sent a 40 page long NO back to the UN in reply.Amna Umen Why did I have to read that Austin Grossman was going to be one of the writers on a cancelled Half-Life 2 episode?Parismio Dammit its 3 and i cant stop reading cute gay romance mangas.Nekrosys Going to be honest; I love out-of-context anime screenshots. They're... kind of incredible.Jed Whitaker Retweet of the year goes to President of Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc., Shuhei Yoshida. Voodoome Just got home from Deadpool and ... it's not good. I liked the jabs at Green Lantern and the previous movie Deadpool, but that was about it. The rest was just painfully forced dick jokes. Wife fell asleep. Nathan D Larxinostic rule34