As a gamer, I had a hard time getting into the past Hyperdimension Neptunia games, as there always seemed to be too many strange design choices and not enough substance to really enjoy them. Well, at least the developer is consistent, as they have decided not to stray too far from that formula with Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection. The game continues a trend of the series and makes even more head-scratching design choices and provides even less substance than the previous entries. Gone this time around are the RPG elements, replaced by minimal simulation features and enough fan service to make all the boys happy.
The story in Producing Perfection centers around a young man brought into the world of Gamindustri to save the day. The CPUs of the four lands, Neptune, Noire, Vert, and Blanc have lost their popularity to the idol group MOB48 and now fight to get it back. Playing as the young man who was brought in from Earth, you are tasked with teaching the CPUs what it takes to become an idol and helping them to reach number 1 on the charts and gain back their shares. The story is there on paper but does absolutely nothing to really drag you in and make you enjoy it. In fact, I found myself often skipping through big chunks of dialog so I could just get on with the “gameplay” portion of it. The charcters, like in past games, are overly annoying and aside from a few jokes that land, most of the supposed funny moments fall flat on their face. It also doesn’t help that the entire story is one big sexual joke after another, turning the CPUs into walking sex objects that occasionally make a gaming joke and then dance.
You might have noticed that earlier I put gameplay into quotation marks and the reason being is that there really isn’t any gameplay to speak of, unless you count clicking through menus gameplay. As the game begins, you are pulled into Gamindustri and asked to select a CPU to personally train. Each CPU has a very distinct personality and the story will be different depending on which one you choose, but the gameplay will be exactly the same no matter if you side with Neptune or the overly voluptuous Vert. After taking your pick of the four girls, you will be transported to their respective world and will spend most of your time in their bedroom telling them what to do. This might sound like the start of something promising and the premise of turning them into idols isn’t a terrible one, but the execution and lack of options that follow is downright disappointing.
The majority of this game is spent in Producer Mode. Here, you have a limited set of activities you can have your CPU do. Select work to boost your fan base, lesson to increase your stats, relax to reduce stress, move to travel to other nations, and Concert. Your goal here is to increase your fan base and stats while not over stressing yourself, all in an effort to gain the majority of the shares before 180 days have expired. Don’t let the 180 days fool you into thinking it might be hard or time consuming to gain all the shares. In fact it is the opposite, as it took me less than three hours to “win” all of the shares back and complete my playthrough with Noire. I was honestly so shocked when the credits started rolling that all I could do was set down my Vita and perform a face-palm maneuver.
The only real break from the menu spamming that happens while working and taking lessons are the concerts. However, just as you escape the boring menu pressing of training, you are then greeted by button spamming through concerts. As the producer, you set the stage, pick the outfits of your CPU, and select three special effects. When the concert begins, you simply move the camera around to different angles and button mash the three effects as their cool downs are over. There is absolutely no strategy in the camera angle or effects, as you basically just move around at random and spam the effects until you reach the max love from the audience. Mixing and Matching outfits can be somewhat fun at first, until you figure out that they do absolutely nothing for you performance and are just there to let you play barbie.
Outside of the Producer Mode, you also have an Unlimited Concert Mode, which just likes it’s name is a place to put on concerts, should you want to really relive that ordeal. The last mode to talk about is probably one of the most useless modes outside of the Rub Technique in Monster Monpiece. In Viewer Mode, you can pull up a full-body model of whatever CPU you choose and then proceed to touch them in all sorts of places to try and get a rise out of them. Using both the rear and front touchscreen’s in a way I am sure Sony envisioned the Vita screens being used, you just keep touching them in a creepy stalker way. I honestly would stay away from this mode in public places unless you want to really lose all the cool points you might have collected in life. The viewer mode also features an extremely out of left field Alarm clock, where you can select a CPU to be your wake up call.
I really don’t understand where in the development process of Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection that the game just went off the tracks and took a nose dive. What starts off as an interesting concept quickly spirals out of control, becoming one of the more boring games I have played this year. Unless you just really like looking at Vert jiggle her breasts or the Viewer Mode really heats up your world, there is almost no incentive to play this game. There is absolutely zero depth to the simulation gameplay, the concerts are void of any strategy, and the characters/story are overshadowed by the need to make little boys happy. I cannot recommend this for anyone, even those die hard Hyperdimension Neptunia fans out there.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the name Producing Perfection has to be a cruel joke; the game “produces” nothing of the sort.