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Idea Factory

Nep Nep Ahoy!
Our friends at Idea Factory International have been kind enough to hook us up with 4 copies of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2! 2 for Steam and 2 for Vita! How awesome is that? What is Hyperdimension you ask? Well here is ...

Visual Novels photo
Visual Novels

Otome game Norn9 coming to Vita this autumn

A sexy supernatural voyage
May 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Once upon a time, an employee at a well known localization house told me there wasn't a market for otome games in the west. The men in charge just didn't believe folks in North America or Europe would buy romantic visual nove...

Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed

May 08 // Chris Carter
Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed (PS TV, Vita [reviewed])Developer: TamsoftPublisher: Compile Heart (JP) / Idea Factory International (EU, US)Released: August 28, 2014 (JP) / May 19, 2015 (US) / May 22, 2015 (EU)MSRP: $39.99 Once again we are whisked away to the parody-filled world of Gamindustri, where the main characters of Neptunia will get into all sorts of wacky antics. Since this isn't a typical RPG, the story is tangential to all of the killing you're going to be doing. You're free to bypass part or all of the story with very easy to enact button presses, skipping ahead to dungeons and gear management at will. The dialog is cute and the voice acting is presentable, but the silly nature of the plot almost always circles around the same feud of "who is the best CPU or journalist in the Gamindustri," and it ends up getting old after a few hours or so. The action of course, is the highlight. Neptunia U's engine looks incredible, especially on the Vita's OLED screen, and more importantly, the framerate and camera are top notch. I simply adore the cel-shaded style. Everything on-screen looks wonderfully detailed, whether it's a faraway landscape or an up-close shot of a character. Each combatant has access to strong or weak attacks, which function just like the Dynasty Warriors series with simplistic combos that trigger new abilities. Characters can also double-jump, dash, and call forth stronger powers (limited by a mana gauge), as well as transform and unleash mega attacks. There's plenty of options like camera tweaking and display settings to ease the clutter of the UI, and a toggle for Japanese or English voice acting is the cherry on top. [embed]291761:58476:0[/embed] For a hack-and-slash the combat is surprisingly deep, even if you won't have to use half of its tricks to best the AI on the standard difficulty setting. Action Unleashed also has a costume break mechanic, where if you use too many strong attacks or get hit too often, some clothing will tear off. Yep, some characters will occasionally bare their underwear, so if you mind that sort of thing, you probably shouldn't play it. What this boils down to is the realization that Action Unleashed is a magical girl Dynasty Warriors, which I am totally ok with. Uni is a personal favorite of mine, as her main gimmick is a rapid-fire rifle that offers up some melee attacks, often melded in the same combo. All 10 playable characters (including series newcomers Dengekiko and Famitsu, based on the popular Japanese culture and gaming outlets) have their own signature style and are fun to play in their own right. There is a snag in terms of pacing, though. Early on, enemies don't put up enough of a fight to put your skills to the test. While their models are great (aping tropes like Dragon Quest's slimes or Pac-Man's ghosts), most of the foes you'll face in the first few hours are cannon fodder, and it isn't until you reach the boss fight in a particular dungeon that you'll really have any sort of a challenge to square off against. Additionally, it must be said that while the mechanics do match up to the Warriors series, the actual flow of a level feels more confined, akin to the Senran Kagura games. Instead of sprawling battlefields with multiple objectives to worry about simultaneously, Action Unleashed's dungeons are linear by comparison. It's a lot less focused on exploration and more-so on constant fights, with a hefty amount of gates -- some levels are just sole rooms with dedicated arena battles. Despite this, it's still a lot of fun to blast everything in sight and try out new styles of play. Once you clear the first few missions and the game opens up, there's a lot more to do in general to keep you interested. You can opt to watch additional scenarios and hang out with the cast of the game to unlock extra scenes, fool around with your current loot and try out new gear combinations, or adjust your bonus abilities, unlocked by killing a certain amount of each enemy type. Neptunia U is ultimately built on replay value, counting on players to repeat missions for better scores, gear, and the goal of reaching max level with all characters. There's also a new difficulty and extra arena mode unlocked after completing the game. Maybe it's just me, but the videogame industry parody theme that the Neptunia series is going for fits with a faster-paced environment -- especially when a better developer is involved. As long as you can deal with a little skin and a silly plotline, Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is a fun little action romp.
Neptunia U review photo
Compile Heart didn't develop this
Over the years, I've developed a cautionary approach to Compile Heart projects. As a fan of Eastern games in general I'm always receptive to the idea of them, but as a development studio, they don't always follow through as w...

Review: Omega Quintet

Apr 29 // Josh Tolentino
Omega Quintet (PS4) Developer: Compile HeartPublisher: Idea Factory (JP), Idea Factory International (US/EU)Released: October 2, 2014 (JP) / April 28, 2015 (US) / May 1, 2015 (EU)MSRP: $59.99 Speaking of other "firsts," playing Omega Quintet brings to mind the very first Hyperdimension Neptunia title. That's not a good sign, seeing as the original game literally put Matt Razak to sleep back in 2011. Indeed, despite being, on paper, one of the most feature-rich titles Compile Heart has produced, the experience of playing Omega Quintet feels decidedly regressive, a far cry from the comparative refinement that the Neptunia franchise has managed to cultivate over the years. Perhaps some of that disconnect is cultural. Whereas the Neptunia series' light parody of the game industry and its never-ending platform wars will be familiar to most gamers, idol culture -- which informs much of Omega Quintet's setup -- is largely absent outside of Japan. Many of its references to the peculiarities of pop-princess life fall flat for lack of that common ground. On the other hand, not even Neptunia could be considered especially sophisticated in its satire. Anyone familiar with that series would know that the premises, however niche or inventive, really serve as a framework on which to drape a proven mix of cute girls, complex battle systems, anime-tinged humor, and sexualization. Omega Quintet is in much the same way, and its paeans to the life of celebrities are ultimately skin-deep. Except even by those lowered standards and tempered expectations, the game still comes across as lazy and half-hearted, without the charm or spark that helped its cousins rise above their otherwise mundane core.  Omega Quintet at least sounds interesting at first. Its future-set, ostensibly apocalyptic setting is cutely subverted by the fact that the Blare, an existence pushing humanity to the brink of extinction, can only be stopped by the Verse Maidens, a troupe of magical girl idols who sing and fight with giant weapons called "Mics". The Verse Maidens are powered by the adoration of the people, which necessitates their fights being broadcast live like a concert. Sadly, the last active Verse Maiden, Momoka, is retiring, because she's apparently much older than she looks. Enter Otoha, a fresh-faced youngster, and her male friend/player stand-in Takt, as the newest Verse Maiden recruit and the team manager, respectively. As more new Verse Maidens join to take up the reins, various anime-flavored antics ensue alongside goodly amounts of suggestive posing, relationship-building, wacky conversations, and of course, saving the world. The catch, unfortunately, is that all this cutsey waifu fun has to be experienced from the perspective of Takt, one of the least likable male leads ever to be inflicted on videogames. It's as if whomever wrote his lines mistook being a total prick for an aloof kind of coolness. Every word from his mouth is marinated in pointless sarcasm and brain-dead snark that it makes the event scenes -- which already run far too long and stretch their one-note jokes to the breaking point as it is -- a grating exercise in tedium. If he can't even be bothered to care what's going on, why should we? The game can't even be bothered to fully incorporate its premise into the main structure. Omega Quintet comes with a surprisingly robust "PVS" mode, which allows players to essentially construct dance and concert videos from the game's (rather small) collection of idol songs, complete with video recording and upload functions, but there's rarely any point or main-game benefit to engaging it. Ironically, despite the fact that this game is supposed to be Compile Heart's "idol RPG," Neptunia Producing Perfection, which is more of an actual idol-centric game than this could hope to be, came out last year. [embed]290971:58370:0[/embed] If there is a group that could look forward to enjoying Omega Quintet, it's the crowd that comes to JRPGs not for narrative or anime antics, but for abstract and engaging battle systems. Omega Quintet's is enjoyably complex and interesting to master. Where the trend in RPG battle has moved away from menus and into quasi-action game territory, Omega Quintet is all too happy to throw players into a sea of menu selections and gauge-driven turn-based combat. At its core, the game's battling relies on using attacks of varying effectiveness, range, and recovery time to manipulate the turn order. Stacking commands and attacks so that the Verse Maidens all take their turns in quick succession unlocks powerful Harmonics attacks, and building "Voltage" (a gauge representing the audience's fervor) eventually results in engaging the cinematic "Live Concert" mode, a sort of super attack that involves big damage, over-the-top animation, and background lyrics. Throw in Takt's ability to partner up with the Verse Maidens to deliver follow-ups or stat boosts, as well as score-boosting Overkill systems, a Sphere-Grid-like character progression system, and even item and gear crafting, and there's plenty of mechanical fat to chew on. If only the context and characters surrounding this part of the game were more worthwhile. Though there's nothing explicitly wrong with it, Omega Quintet feels far too much like a "by-the-numbers" Compile Heart title to do justice to the studio's first current-gen effort. Its narrative and aesthetic "fluff" ultimately fail to support its dense and otherwise engrossing mechanical heart. For a game about a bunch of girls finding their voices and path in the world, it has distressingly little "voice" of its own.  [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Omega Quintet review photo
Same old song and dance routine
Omega Quintet is a game of firsts. Chronologically, it's the PlayStation 4's first exclusive Japanese RPG (Final Fantasy Type-0 originally being a PSP game). It's also developer Compile Heart's first PS4 game, and by certain logic, the first JRPG to plumb Japan's idol subculture. If only being such a pioneer had resulted in a game that actually put its best foot forward.

sexy sexy sexy photo
sexy sexy sexy

Romance Frankenstein, Van Helsing in this Vita game

Talk about toxic relationships
Apr 29
// Kyle MacGregor
Your skin is poisonous. It rots and/or melts anything you touch. You haven't seen your pops in two years and live alone in a derelict mansion near London. Then, one day, Royal Guards try to capture you for some reason, and ma...

Review: Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart

Apr 28 // Kyle MacGregor
Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart (PlayStation Vita)Developer: Sting, Compile HeartPublisher: Idea Factory InternationalReleased: February 24, 2015 (NA) February 27, 2015 (EU)MSRP: $39.99  Why was I so hopeful for Hyperdimension Neptunia? Well, the concept of a game that parodies the console wars is almost too good to give up on. The series follows a group of anthropomorphized gaming consoles, each the ruler of her own kingdom, all vying for dominance in what's effectively a grand popularity contest. It's a cute idea, at the very least, with the potential for so much more. I hoped it would be a clever satire, something introspective and comedic that poked fun at the industry in an interesting or meaningful way. Instead, I discovered one jejune RPG after the next, a middling collection of games that lean all too heavily on fan service as crutch. What I wanted this series to be and what it is are two very different things. I probably should have realized that before now, but well, here we are. The latest entry in the franchise, Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart, may be a spin-off, but it hews closely to its source material -- albeit with one notable exception. This is a strategy role-playing game, rather than a more traditional one. However, aside from the difference in combat, those familiar with Compile Heart's previous efforts will know exactly what to expect out of this one. But let's talk about what makes this entry unique. The action takes place on grid-based battlefields. There, players act as the general of a small army, moving units to support allies and assault foes. In addition to the SP gauge, used for special attacks, there's an LP meter, which fuels even more powerful moves and allows the central protagonists to transform into their more powerful goddess forms. LP is an interesting resource, as it's gained by performing special attacks while flanked by friendly units. This will result in a kissing animation, which doubles as a power-up.  This system is a key component of a successful strategy on the battlefield, but it isn't without risk. As you might expect, clustering into tightly-packed ranks makes units more susceptible to area-of-effect attacks, meaning it could as easily pave the way to victory as it could to your undoing. The level design at work here is interesting and varied, constantly shaking things up with a range of traps, puzzles, and obstacles. The objectives are similarly diverse, though I'm not sure the assortment makes the combat terribly compelling. Despite minimal repetition, the pace of play here feels inordinately slow. Battles often feel overly long and drawn out, especially when a protracted series of turns are dedicated entirely to positioning. There are a lot of lulls in the action that mar an otherwise competent tactical experience. The story doesn't help in that regard, with a hackneyed plot and shallow, tropey characters that talk forever about nothing at all. There's some mild referential humor to be found, but it's mostly about the fan service. It has plenty of pantsu and giant, jiggling breasts, which is made all the more creepy by the new chibi art direction. The entire cast look like abominable hypersexualized infants. Speaking of said characters, most of the ones you'll be taking into battle over the course of the game are based on popular Japanese videogame franchises. This was actually one of my favorite parts of the experience, as taking personifications of the Street Fighter, Yakuza, and Dragon Quest (I could go on and on) series into the field was a real joy. Their special attacks (like the Metal Gear-inspired Lid's cardboard box stealth attack) are particularly charming, and serve as nice nods to players who are familiar with the source material. It's just a pity that these characters are often relegated to a support role, as the familiar faces are far more useful on the battlefield. Since Noire, Blanc, Neptune, and Vert can all transform into their extremely mighty goddess forms, it pays to deploy them over your favorites. While transformed, the goddesses are able to fly, making them immune to traps and elements of the landscape that limit conventional troopers. It's a lamentable design choice, impelling players to use the same, stale heroines rather than the revolving door of refreshing newcomers.  There are other questionable choices that hamper the experience, like: lengthy enemy turns, the constant influx of tutorial messages that are more busy than informative, a loading period at the beginning of each fight where the game makes you watch combatants materialize out of thin air, one-hit kills, and a bizarre movement mechanic that doesn't allow you to move units exactly where you'd like them to go -- even if that space is in range. There are just dozens of little annoyances peppered throughout the experience that require the player to be very patient and forgiving. It's unfortunate because there's a decent strategy RPG at Goddess Black Heart's core, but the game just can't seem to get out of its own way. Hyperdimension Neptunia fans may well enjoy this one, but I can't count myself among them. The series has an alluring premise, but it just doesn't push the idea far enough for me. The cloying characters and banal story are just so incredibly vapid, and the respectable strategic gameplay just isn't enough to compensate for the myriad of drawbacks and stumbling blocks. Sorry Noire, but it's time we go our separate ways. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Hyperdevotion Review photo
It's not you, it's me
Falling in love with potential can be dangerous. A mistake people make far too often when forging new relationships is placing undue expectations on others. People grow and change, but it's impossible to know how or when that...

 Hyperdevotion Noire photo
Hyperdevotion Noire

Hyperdimension Neptunia SRPG hits Vita next month

'A Moe Army Awaits!'
Jan 07
// Kyle MacGregor
Gamindustri's goddesses go to war next month in Hyperdevotion Noire­: Goddess Black Heart. In this strategy role-playing game, a first for Idea Factory's cult Hyperdimension Neptunia series, the ladies must, onc...
Idea Factory Steam photo
Idea Factory Steam

Neptunia Re;Birth and Fairy Fencer coming to Steam

Idea Factory expanding its reach to PC
Dec 29
// Kyle MacGregor
Idea Factory International has announced plans to bring a handful of its role-playing games to PC. Hyperdimension Neptunia, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation, and Fairy Fencer F will all be...
Omega Quintet photo
Omega Quintet

Idol RPG Omega Quintet hits PS4 in spring 2015

In a world on the verge of destruction, singing might be their only hope.
Nov 18
// Kyle MacGregor
Omega Quintet is coming to North America and Europe next spring, publisher Idea Factory International announced today. The PlayStation 4 role-playing game stars a group of idols who must save the world from darkness with thei...
Monster Monpiece photo
Monster Monpiece

Monster Monpiece rubbing Vita owners the right way on May 27

It's no Monster Girl Quest, but it'll do
May 09
// Brittany Vincent
It's finally here! Monster Monpiece, that deliciously risqué card battler brought to us by Idea Factory, is hitting North America on May 27 and Europe on May 28. For $29.99, you too can collect all the Monster Girls an...
PS4 RPG photo

Compile Heart still teasing PS4 RPG Omega Quintet

Taking the stage on September 18 in Japan
May 07
// Kyle MacGregor
Oh good, another teaser for Omega Quintet, the next entry in Compile Heart's Galapagos RPG brand. Because we haven't had quite enough of those. Nope. Nope. Nope. We need more! The latest morsel of footage showcases the role-...

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 comes to Vita in both physical and digital forms

Digital in Europe
May 01
// Dale North
Rejoice! New RPG Vita games keep coming. The newest is Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 (no typos there -- that's really what they're going with) which Idea Factory says is coming in both physical and digital forms to N...
Hyperdimension Neptunia photo
Hyperdimension Neptunia

Hyperdimension Neptunia PP dances west this June

Gamindustri's CPUs take the take this summer on PS Vita
Apr 06
// Kyle MacGregor
Hypderdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is shimmying over to North America on June 3 and then Europe just three days later, NIS America has announced. The PlayStation Vita idol game stars the heroines of Compile Heart's RPG series, and asks players to manage the ladies' dancing and singing careers. Are you up to the challenge?
Hyperdimension Vita photo
Hyperdimension Vita

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth 1 coming to the US

'A late summer' release
Mar 26
// Chris Carter
Idea Factory has just confirmed the western localization of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth 1. It's a Vita remake of 2011's Hyperdimension Neptunia, and is set to launch in the summer of this year. This versio...

Fairy Fencer F takes a stab at PS3 later this year

Compile Heart role-playing game announced for autumn release
Feb 14
// Kyle MacGregor
It's happening! Fairy Fencer F is headed to North American and European shores this fall, courtesy of the localization-smiths at NIS America. The turn-based role-player comes by way of Compile Heart, the studio behind th...

Vita card game Monster Monpiece comes to NA, EU

Some card images cut, though
Jan 21
// Dale North
Idea Factory International's first Vita game, Monster Monpiece, has been confirmed for North America and Europe today. This tactical card battle with RPG elements comes to PSN this spring.  If the name sounds familiar, ...
WHAT photo

So this is a 'rubbing, pinching, panty-wearing RPG'

Won't somebody please think of the children?!
Dec 26
// Kyle MacGregor
Compile Heart has created a treasure trove of strange and unsavory things in its time, but this just make take the cake. Wait. Actually, no. Never mind. It's definitely up there though. The purveyors of games such as Hyperdim...
Hyperdimension Neptunia photo
Hyperdimension Neptunia

Hyperdimension Neptunia spin-off for Vita is super chibi

Hyper Goddess Faith Noire: Extreme God Black Heart launches May 29 in Japan
Nov 27
// Kyle MacGregor
Hyperdimension Neptunia spin-off Hyper Goddess Faith Noire: Extreme God Black Heart is slated to bring another dose of Compile Heart's inexplicably popular franchise to PlayStation Vita on May 29 in Japan, Dengeki report...
Idea Factory  photo
Idea Factory

Idea Factory International website officially launched

Your one home for all things Idea Factory
Nov 03
// Wesley Ruscher
Fans of Idea Factory games rejoice, the official international website for all things Idea Factory is finally open for public consumption. As reported by our sister site Japanator, the focus of the site is to provide news and...
PS Vita photo
PS Vita

Aksys looks to curry favor with new Sorcery Saga trailer

Hot and spicy, everything nicely
Oct 12
// Kyle MacGregor
Aksys Games' upcoming roguelike dungeon crawler certainly seems good-humored. In Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God, an adventurous young chef sets out on a quest to save a local restaurant by whipping up t...
JRPG photo

Fairy Fencer F strikes PlayStation 3 in Japan this week

Does the F stand for fan service?
Oct 06
// Kyle MacGregor
Fairy Fencer F is cleaving its way onto PlayStation 3 in Japan this week. The fantasy role-playing game was developed in conjunction with Final Fantasy concept artist Yoshitaka Amano and composer Nobuo Uematsu, and spor...
Idea Factory photo
Idea Factory

Idea Factory charters Western satellite studio

Former NIS America president to head up group as CEO
Sep 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Idea Factory is establishing an outpost in California. The Tokyo-based publisher announced the creation of Idea Factory International today, which expressly aims to strengthen the company's brands around the globe. Forme...
New Vita RPG photo
New Vita RPG

Disgaea 4 director working on new Vita RPG

More RPGs on the Vita? Sure!
Sep 30
// Chris Carter
You want more RPGs on your Vita? Your wish is granted! In addition to Phantasy Star Nova, Natural Doctrine, and a number of other games, Idea Factory is teaming up with the director of Disgaea 4 (Masahiro Yamamoto) for a bran...

Compile Heart has a Vita announcement coming Monday

What could it be?
Sep 27
// Dale North
All we can do is wonder until Monday (Japan Time) about Compile Heart's brief message on their homepage about a new Vita announcement. So see you back here on September 30. I hope it's something about Galapagos. They've thrown teases out a couple of times, but we've yet to hear anything else. Regardless, we're always glad to see a Vita announcement. We'll take anything! 
Fairy Fencer F photo
Fairy Fencer F

Feast your eyes on Fairy Fencer F opening film

Flying to Japan on October 10
Sep 06
// Kyle MacGregor
Compile Heart has unveiled the opening film for its PlayStation 3 exclusive role-playing game, Fairy Fencer F. It looks, well, familiar. Despite boasting contributions from Final Fantasy illustrator Yoshitaka Amano and legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu, the title could still easily pass for the next  Hyperdimension Neptunia game. Yep.
Otome Games photo
Otome Games

Sweet Fuse: At Your Side hits PSP in August

Otome game starring Keiji Inafune's niece drops later this summer
Jul 26
// Kyle MacGregor
Sweet Fuse: At Your Side will arrive on August 27, Aksys Games has announced. In addition to being among the last games join the PlayStation Portable's library, the title's release marks something of a rarity, as otome visual...
RPGs photo

Hyperdimension Neptunia to be reborn on PS Vita this fall

Compile Heart opens teaser site for portable role-playing game
Jun 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Compile Heart is trying its best to keep the PlayStation Vita library stuffed to the gills with ports, remakes, and the like. The company has joined forces with Summon Night team Felistella to release an enhanced ve...
Fairy Fencer F photo
Fairy Fencer F

Take another peek at PS3 role-playing game Fairy Fencer F

Jun 07
// Kyle MacGregor
Compile Heart has released a new set of screenshots and environmental concept art for Fairy Fencer F. Showcasing the fantasy role-playing game's characters, dialogue, and battle system, it's looking like the forthcoming ...
Fairy Fencer F photo
Fairy Fencer F

Compile Heart's latest RPG Fairy Fencer F is such a tease

Teaser showcases one of Tiara's special attacks and not much else
May 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Compile Heart has served up a morsel of gameplay footage for its upcoming fantasy role-player Fairy Fencer F. And, well, it looks like a Compile Heart game. Despite resembling just about everything else the studio has p...
Mugen Souls photo
Mugen Souls

Mugen Souls hits PlayStation Network next week

Cool, dood!
May 18
// Kyle MacGregor
Mugen Souls is going digital on PlayStation Network this Tuesday, NIS America has announced. A role-playing game developed by Compile Heart, the story follows a goddess by the name of Chou-Chou in her quest to conquer the uni...

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