Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3: V Generation (PS Vita) Review

By Shane Jury 17.08.2015

Review for Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3: V Generation on PS Vita

Although Sony's handheld has seen tough recoil from the one-two punch of Nintendo's 3DS and the sheer overwhelming number of smartphone owners, the PlayStation Vita continues to carve a niche for itself - namely, a bottomless well of independent developers and Japanese role-playing game support. One such supporter is Idea Factory, who, together with Compile Heart, has given the Vita not only remakes of the Hyperdimension series in the form of the Re;Birth titles, but numerous other spin-offs focusing on separate genres. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3: V Generation is the latest entry to the franchise, and it seeks to refine what its two predecessors began. How does it fare?

For newcomers to the series, Re;Birth3 keeps the story fairly contained, making slight references at times to the events of the older games, but developing its own narrative. The world of Hyperdimension, appropriately named GamIndustry, pays dividends to the real-life games industry as a whole, with Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and SEGA each having a fictitious representative character and kingdom for the previous generation of machines. The series' protagonist Neptune symbolises a prospective SEGA console in the era of the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii, and the underlining theme of this world is the battle over mindshare and sales for the machines, not unlike reality.

Re;Birth3 diverts from the previous two games in a big way, by going to the past. The main character finds herself in another dimension that would take part in an earlier generation of consoles - this time around being the Nintendo 64 era. This naturally allows the writing - already a solid staple of the series - to go even wilder with characterisation and events reflecting the history of the industry. With a different GamIndustry to explore, doing so feels far more fresh than Re;Birth 2, which essentially recycled the overworld of its forbearer.

The Neptunia series has yet to delve too deeply into the realms of heavy cut-scene and situational storytelling, but more than holds its own through the strength of each game's writing. Backed up by strong voice work, Re;Birth3 is no exception, with many fourth-wall breaks and event explanations gleefully given by the vast number of dubbed characters through minimally-animated portraits. The age-old advice of 'Show, Don't Tell' can apply at times; however, there is an absolutely vast amount of text in the game to click through - not far off an interactive novel in total.

Screenshot for Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3: V Generation on PS Vita

Re;Birth3's exploration control and structure remains the same, with places selectable from a scrolling world map view and a third-person three-dimensional dungeon or area to explore. Eagle-eyed fans of the series will notice many layout repeats from older games, but there are enough new designs to keep journeying fresh.

Battles are also largely the same, as standard turn-based free-roaming combat is initiated by bumping into visible enemies in the field. Strategic fighter placement and technique choices are the key to victory, as even a common battle can prove hazardous to an oblivious player. The number counter for special abilities has been altered in favour of a meter with four set targets; how far full the meter is dictates which abilities the character can use at that point, and doing so drains it once more. Knowing when best to use certain skills is annoying at first, but does lend itself well to overall strategy.

One new feature that Re;Birth2 introduced was Stella's dungeon, and it returns in this game in an expanded form. Stella's dungeon is essentially a side-game with minimal player input, as the titular character explores her own tower, full of many levels. This adventuring uses the real-time clock, so an especially long excursion can be done while the Vita is off. Her spoils of war help greatly with the main game, so it is in the best interests of the player to help with kitting her up and sending her off.

As with the other games, there is a mammoth amount of content in the solo campaign, with side-quests to complete for cash and goods, optional dungeons to explore and the Plan system that changes the items and monsters found in each, and even a boatload of free character downloadable content that makes for one of the largest parties in role-playing history. That being said, for long-term fans, this content might be all too familiar, as Re;Birth3 does quite little to distinguish itself from the others in the series. Regardless of the audience, Neptunia's latest will hog anyone's Vita for quite some time.

Screenshot for Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3: V Generation on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Neptune's latest escapades will delight fans looking for more of the same top-notch dialogue and gaming references, and new players will enjoy their first foray into a series unlike that of any other. A retooled world map and recast characters won't hide the sizable quantity of asset recycling going on behind the series, however. As the finish to a trilogy, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3 refines, but does not reinvent or innovate.

Developer

Felistella

Publisher

Compile Heart

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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