I’m going to be honest with you. I played and reviewed Hyperdimension Neptunia for this site. If you go back and read my review, you can tell I really didn’t care for the game. You can imagine how I felt when I heard the announcement of a sequel. Needless to say, I was not ecstatic. Of course, things can always improve. In the case of Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2, the enhancements are significant.
The game takes place three years after the first game. Neptune and the other goddess CPUs of Gamindustry are imprisoned in the Gamindustry Graveyard. Two of Neptune’s friends, Compa and If arrive to rescue them, but are overwhelmed. Luckily, they are able to rescue CPU candidate in training, Nepgear, Neptune’s little sister. Now, it’s up to Nepgear, If, and Compa to recruit the other CPU candidates, rescue their CPU sisters, and defeat Arfoire for good.
The game is much like the first game. It is a turn-based RPG with a combo mechanic for battle. You can take on quests that help take away Arfoire’s influence over the lands of Gamindustry. These are relatively simple: gathering quests that have you obtain a certain number of items or materials, and hunting quests that have you defeat a certain number of monsters. By completing quests and lowering Arforie’s influence in a certain area, your team becomes more influential and more powerful in dungeons.
The battle system is similar to the first game with a few exceptions. This time around, you can actually move your character around the battlefield. The movement is gauged by a blue circle that surrounds the selected character. They can move anywhere in this circle. Depending on the stats of the character, the circle will expand. You position your characters around enemies on the battlefield and choose attacks from a menu. Positioning is vital for not only attacking enemies, but avoiding attacks as well. If you put two party members too close to each other, some enemies can attack both characters at once.
The attacks come in three physical forms: guard break attacks, heavy attacks, and rapid attacks. Guard break attacks lower the enemies’ guard points. If their guard points reach zero, their defense lowers significantly. Team attacks can result in an EX finisher that strings the combo into a devastating final blow. All attacks require Ability Points (AP) There are also special attacks you can use that require both AP and Special Points (SP) These attacks come in a variety of flavors. Some boost the stats of your party members, some have an area of effect, and some can be devastating attack moves. The CPU and CPU candidates have a special move that requires 100 SP. This move transforms them into their goddess form and all their stats skyrocket. While in this form, their SP will drain after each turn. When it reaches zero, they revert back to their human form. The battles break down into a nice flow of bringing down the enemies’ guard points, attacking with combos, and positioning your team correctly.
When in dungeons, you can walk around picking up items and materials. You can attack an enemy and initiate a battle with a symbol attack. Symbol attacks are much like first strikes. You get to attack first and start off with more AP than normal. During dungeon crawls, you can also search for hidden items by pressing the circle button. This will scan the surrounding area for special items.
When not questing in a dungeon, you will be going through menus that represent the Gamindustry. Here you can accept and turn in quests, craft items and equipment using the materials you gathered and talk to people in towns via the Chirper. Here, an interactive chatroom pops up and you can speak to different people. Some can even become an event cut scene that may increase your friendship with your party members or learn a new ability.
You can equip your team with better gear and weapons as well. To me, I found that anything that increased the character’s AP was the best choice. A cool little feature for the customizers out there: You can put pictures on your PS3 hard drive and upload them to the game and change how Nepgear looks when she’s in goddess form.
You can also form teams with your party members. Doing this will reduce the number of party members in battle, but will offer up more support for the characters you do have in battle. Of course, if you want to bring out a supporting character in battle you can always switch up in the battle menu. Supporting characters will still gain EXP and offer up special attributes and abilities for the leader of the team. Basically, you’re buffing up.
The story is much better paced in Mk2 than in the first game. The events have more bearing on the story, and they happen quite often. The voice acting is decent for what they have to work with. This is a game that not everyone will enjoy as far as story goes. Cutesy anime girls that are quirky and goofy will not entertain the RPG players that love blood and guts. Some of the music is catchy, as well. I will admit I had the battle theme stuck in my head for a good three days.
The only real problem I had with the game was the fact that level grinding is a must. You’ll hit points in the game where you can’t complete a story mission due to the difficulty of the battle. This means you have to grind and do quests for an hour to raise your level enough to win. It’s not too bad, it just gets tedious. Other than that, the graphics and visuals are not too fancy. They get the job done, but I have seen other games in this genre look better.
This game is for the fans of comedy and slice of life anime series. You won’t get high octane action, but you will get a decent RPG if you keep an open mind. It is very much a niche title that I would suggest for only anime fans and RPG players. I’ll be the first to admit, this game is a huge improvement over the first game. I actually had a decent time playing Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2.
Review copy of the game provided by publisher.