Role-playing game “V Generation”, is the latest PS Vita remake of “Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory” which was the third game released in the main Neptunia franchise on PlayStation 3. Made by Compile Heart, Idea Factory, and Felistella- it continues to use the “console wars” narrative and satirical humor style that the series is known for. Combined with the other spin-offs and remakes of the series for Sony’s portable system, the PS Vita is now the definitive place to experience all of the games in the series past, present and future—not counting the next main installment which is in development for PlayStation 4. However there are at least two new spin-off games (Zombie Army and Hard Wars) to look forward to on PS Vita which is set to release in the near future.
The story in Generation V is similar to most of the stories I’ve experienced in the spin-offs. Basically, the main protagonists in the game, called CPUs, represent different gaming consoles (SEGA, Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii) but in stylized Anime girlie form, and much of the conflict revolves around these protagonists challenging each other over territory, and then ultimately teaming up to fight a larger enemy which threatens the entire world of Gamindustri (pronounced “Game Industry”). The game has an over-all light hearted tone with a tongue-n-cheek sense of humor about itself and references the ‘game industry’ and the ‘console wars’ with a bit of satire, which is reflected in the games dialog and enemy and boss encounters which share a resemblance to characters found in other video games, like warp pipes from Mario Bros., Tetris blocks, or slimes from Dragon Quest, for example.
This time around the world is at peace. However, by happenstance the title character Neptune is sent away to another dimension- to a mirror world of Gamindustri set in the 80s, where she must fight a new threat from a group called “The Seven Sages” who want to eliminate the world of CPUs. Thus, Neptune is tasked with reuniting with her ‘console friends’ and saving a new world while also trying to find the means to get back to her own world.
Much of the story is told through (very long winded) text dialog featuring sharp, colorful, 2D animated Anime portraits, with some voice work and occasional cut-scenes added, but the least I say about the dialog the better, because I feel that while I’ve enjoyed most of the action and combat in previous games, game play gets hindered by thin plots that are often stretched much too thin and painfully immature dialog is inserted between combat scenarios much too often. Story-wise the games could use much needed development, but some people might appreciate the humor. Thankfully, you have the option to skip a lot of the dialog if you so choose and get right back into the action!
Much of the navigation is done via the world map. Small icons on the map display dungeon entrances which are instanced and feature a variety of environments resembling their region on the map, from green forests, to dark caves and industrial buildings, etc. Completing story events advance the plot forward and can be accessed via dungeon quests or story quests which also unlock more areas of the world with new dungeons popping up as you make progress. You can also choose to go on side quests or hunts by accessing job boards from guilds available throughout the world or grind in dungeons if you feel like your party is weak or just want to veer off of the story for a while.
Only one character avatar is visible on the screen when exploring dungeons, which is the party member you’ve designated as the leader. Enemies are visible on the screen so you can pre-emptively strike them to initiate a battle. Your battle party is made up of 4 characters, but you can couple them and leave 4 on stand-by so you can make a party of 8 which will also give you stat boosts, but other-wise you are limited to 4 characters on the screen during battles. However, you can tag in a partner on reserve which comes in handy if you find one of your party members in critical condition. Combat is turn-based, and attack moves are mapped to the face buttons on the controller, although you have a bit of free movement once a battle has been initiated so you can line up an attack on an enemy or enemies, and a side-bar on the screen designates the turn order for all characters.
An important thing about combat to note is that most enemies have a Guard Gauge, or a defensive shield which must be whittled down before they can receive any damage, thus your party members have three basic set of attacks that are combo based to effectively overcome enemy shields. Guard Break combo attacks lower enemy guard or shield. Power attacks affect enemy health greatly, and Rush attacks build up your special moves meter. Most battles require you to start off by lowering enemy guard first which regenerate during battles making it a war of attrition if you just button mash. You have up to five slots available to create combos which also include elemental attacks once you’ve gained increased your character levels.
Combat is somewhat reminiscent of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII in which combat actions are mapped to the face buttons on the controller which you can customize. For boss battles, your party members have the ability to transform into altered forms, crazy robot armor and weapons, which are much more powerful called HDD, although most typical enemy encounters don’t require the altered form, however either form has the ability to access stylish, wildly animated super moves that light up the glorious PS Vita screen with insane visuals.
Generation V is advertised as an “enhanced” version of an older game. The game adds extra story content like new dungeons and added features like menu sorting for shops, guild quests and item recipes to pin-point locations for item grinding which I found rather useful in an undoubtedly very grind heavy game. The story is somewhat lack-luster but the gameplay is quite fun, If you don’t mind grinding for everything from level experience, to loot drops which I didn’t find to be too tedious but actually pretty reasonable and PS Vita’s sleep mode made it quite manageable as well. I typically found boss fights challenging and found it necessary to strengthen my party before retrying, but the leveling process is quite fast so it wasn’t too much of a hassle. The game isn’t bad at all if you’re looking for a colorful, fun, dungeon grinding, crazy Anime experience, but probably still only appeals to Neptunia fans or maybe Anime fans at least.
This review is based on a review copy of the PlayStation Vita version of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3: V-Generation published by NIS America.
- Replay Value
- Repetative Enemies/ Environments