Fine tuning your Neptune.
In my review of Fair Fencer F, I mentioned my not so amicable past with Idea Factory. My biggest issue with them has always been the consistently poor optimization in their titles.
While their games would often look like something out of the PS2 era, they would chug along on the PS3 like it were Crysis 3 on Ultra settings.
It boggles my mind to this date. How, after making so many titles for the PS3, have they still not gotten the hang of making better use out of the hardware?
So when I heard that I would be reviewing a port of the second Neptunia game on the Vita, I feared the worst.
However, when I booted up the game and got into the thick of it, I was pleased to find the best optimized Idea Factory game I’ve played to date.
Demo Availability: N/A
Voice Acting Selection: Both JPN and ENG voices.
Length: About 25-35 hours for the first play through with multiple endings.
Those who don’t know what Hyperdimension Neptunia is yet, I’ll just wash away the biggest common misconception by saying that it has very little to do with tunas.
It’s actually a series of references about the gaming industry as a whole, with characters representing consoles/series and developer companies.
All of the references are quite direct, and it’s interesting enough how they can manage to make a cute little anime character out of basically anything.
The characters are all a goofy bunch assigned with personality traits from a duffle bag of clichés, but most of the time it’s entertaining enough to watch them banter on amongst themselves while frequently breaking the fourth wall.
The combat is the standard turn-based affair with a greater emphasis on positioning, and while it doesn’t do anything particularly groundbreaking, it’s a solid engine that offers a good amount of customization.
The biggest difference with Rebirth 2 from the PS3 version is the aforementioned performance, as the constant frame rate drops while in the field and in combat have mostly been ironed out, to great effect.
It’s a much smoother experience overall, and I feel perhaps Idea Factory has found the perfect platform for their engine, as visually speaking it looks nearly identical to the PS3 version.
For those who played the original mk2, there’s a host of additional content in the form of new playable characters and mechanics, including the ability to unlock a myriad of new options using the “plans” system.
Unfortunately, the plans and side quests suffer greatly due to the ambiguous nature of the objectives, as they commonly ask the player to collect items without any indication of where he/she should be looking for them in the first place.
Also, while the addition of a bunch of new playable characters is a nice touch, the core of the experience and overarching storyline remains much the same, and I found myself skipping most of the dialogue given I had completed mk2 previously on the PS3.
While Rebirth 2 is a massive improvement over the PS3 version in terms of performance, I felt the newly included mechanics and playable characters didn’t quite add enough to warrant double dipping for those like me who have already finished the title once before.
However, for those who haven’t, it’s a solid title jam packed with content, and while the characters and humor will be very much a point of contention, it’s worth checking out all the same if you’re into JRPGs.
Fun Tidbit – While the title has many different endings, the process taken to unlock many of them is a grindy affair.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.