Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 25.04.2016

Review for Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart on PC

The Hyperdimension games, despite their enjoyability, have always followed a pattern; a very distinct and repetitive pattern. Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart changes that by removing Neptune as the lead, replacing her with Noire, and going into a new genre. Shockingly, it ends up being quite good. After the review of the PS Vita version early last year, it's time to check out the Steam release.

With its distinct (and, frankly, cute) chibi art style, replacement of the traditional main lead, and venture into a previously unused genre for the series, it could easily be forgiven if one thought Hyperdevotion Noire would be a weak and underwhelming spin-off title. After all, the flagship series itself rides the line between 'funny and unique' and 'boring and repetitive' quite frequently; every step must be careful and such a wild one would seem like a shoo-in for a failure, yet it lands fairly solidly with its feet on the ground.

It all takes place in yet another alternate dimension from the other games. This time, the world is called 'Gamarket' and Noire seems on the verge of winning, even trouncing all three of the other goddesses in an (admittedly somewhat cute and decently animated) opening fight scene. Before long, though, things go very wrong and Noire is knocked from power. Her generals desert her, with many other nasty things leaving her to claw her way back up to the top.

Screenshot for Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart on PC

As always, the game's strongest point is its characters and interactions. In addition to the normal cast, this time the series allows a series of generals to take to the field, with each one representing a specific series of games, as opposed to a game company (like usual); for example, there are two generals constantly trying to one-up each other and prove that they are better than the other. One is a young girl wearing self-insert knight armour that boasts a heavy influence by blue-coloured, blob-shaped foes. The other is a woman who speaks in needlessly overly-dramatic phrases, emphasising the mystical, and may give people who see her flashbacks to certain laughing scenes, or to a particular natural phenomena associated with clouds and squalls. The names and which series they represent won't be stated, but it will be hard to not figure it out.

The new characters work out quite well on the whole, as it's nice to finally see the games themselves get representation, as opposed to just the companies. It can be a bit annoying, as the very strict 'girls only' party policy keeps former background characters like 'Snake Hayter' from taking to the field and replaces him with Lid, who represents a certain stealth franchise in his place. That aside, however, the newcomers seem to fit in decently.

Screenshot for Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart on PC

As for the game itself, it's surprisingly competent. It would have been way too easy to go for a simple cash-in and slap in almost no effort, resulting in a basic and uninspired title. Instead, it seems to draw heavily from both Disgaea and Fire Emblem and manages to show that someone was awake at the helm when making it, even if it's not in the same league as those series. The basic premise of how the combat functions should be obvious; however, Hyperdimension Noire mixes it up a bit via various mechanics.

For one, when starting a map, the player must select a leader who will grant a special bonus to all units on her side of the field. Picking the right leader can be a huge issue, or minor, depending on many factors. Additionally, while characters have their obvious skills, should they use said skill while standing next to another unit, there will be a moment in which the nearby unit will kiss the first and enhance the skill, usually in the form of cost reductions. There are a lot of girls kissing girls in this game.

Screenshot for Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart on PC

The maps themselves are varied and often have special gimmicks involved. While this is not anywhere near the levels of Disgaea, and possibly not even the recent Fire Emblem: Fates games, it shows an attempt at effort that was both unexpected and absent from lesser strategy titles.

Not all is rosy, however, as this does boast some shortcomings. There is a 'Sim Noire' section, in which the player upgrades Noire's living space. Part of this is answering requests submitted by her followers, but the way this is presented makes it difficult to know what is even being requested, let alone how to properly respond. Another drawback is the fact that various maps have chests that can only be opened by attacking. This would normally be fine except that certain chests can only be opened by attacking with a specific element - no skills - which can lead to a lot of undue frustration.

Screenshot for Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Hyperdevotion Noire is a great little side-game that was clearly put together with some skill, and the solid character writing more than holds it together. Those looking for a great strategy RPG may want to look elsewhere, but Neptune fans fond of the previous entries will be more than pleased to find Goddess Black Heart is a very well made game.

Developer

Sting

Publisher

Idea Factory

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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