Following the re-release of Hyperdimension Neptunia on the PlayStation Vita as Re;Birth1, Idea Factory International decided to give the same treatment to the second game in the series, Mk2. Following the same pattern as before, the game is ported to the PlayStation Vita with a few enhancements but mostly as the same game that released for the PS3. I was actually the one who reviewed Mk2 the first time around; applauding the game for a good combat system that was derailed by a rather lackluster story. Three years have passed since that review and nothing has changed, this is still a game with so much potential that just gets wasted.
In Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 SISTERS GENERATION, a force calling themselves Arfoire Syndicate of International Crime or ASIC, have taken control over the land of Gameindustri. It is up to IF and Compa, who have freed Neptune, to help her regain power and take back the hearts and shares of the people in Gameindustri. To do this, players must travel around lands such as Lastation and Leanbox to find all the mascots and have them aid you in your cause to retake the land. Along the way you will meet tons of characters to aid you in your cause. The game actually features a new selection of playable characters from the original.
The concept of the story in Re;Birth2 is so exciting on the outside. A world that basically takes every chance it can to poke fun at the Game Industry and those inside of it, while never taking itself too seriously. Now, it’s all good to have a light-hearted story that delivers joke after joke, mostly focusing on making fun of itself. However, that story still needs to be good and that is exactly where this game fails. The story is just a boring mess of jokes that should be funny but aren’t, characters that are more annoying than interesting, and so much added fluff that you drown in it. There is seriously so much dialogue in here that is just worthless, that it’s hard to sometimes stop and care about what the story is trying to tell you. Add in the fact that none of the characters are overly memorable and the jabs at the industry are interesting but never all that funny, and you have a story full of potential that is never realized.
Now, once you can get past the story and characters, you actually have a very competent RPG with a very solid and fun combat system. In the turn-based battle, you control your team of characters on a 3D battlefield. Each character can then be moved into position and attack one or a group of enemies with three different basic attacks that consume Action Points, or perform magic attacks with Skill Points. Later on in the game, you unlock the ability to perform devastating via the EXE meter and your CPU candidates can access a mode called HDD that allows them to do more damage yet consume less SP. There is a lot to like with the combat system and it will keep you entertained for a long time, especially with the Remake System. This new system allows you to do things like change the difficulty, amount of enemies in a given area and the strength of those enemies, and more.
Thankfully, the game isn’t just combat and story, as there are a lot of side things to be done in Gameindustri. Each character has a lot of customizable options, cool outfits and weapons to collect throughout the game. Not only the characters customizable, but their CPU form that you can call out in battle can also be customized. Change to different CPU outfits to gain different abilities, effects, and to give yourself a general boost in performance. Players will also be able to gather materials while in each dungeon area and then use that material to create new items and weapons to use. You will also want to pay attention to the shares that you own in each town. By completing quests for that specific town, you will gain back shares from the group ASIC. The more shares you have regained will change the type of ending you receive, so do as many quests as possible and re-do them if you have to to try and gain back as many of those shares as possible.
On the presentation side of things, the game makes a smooth transition from the PlayStation 3 over to the Vita. The characters are given a lot of attention and they all look great, but the worlds themselves are still extremely bland and the dungeons are rather uninspiring. In the combat, the game features a remake system, which improves on frame-rates that were at times an issue with the original and there issues just aren’t there with Re;Birth2. On the audio side of things, the voice acting has been reworked along with the music, which for the most part it all works, though I still find myself muting the characters during battle to avoid the annoying battle cries over and over again.
At the end of the day, the game was fairly average when it released on the PlayStation 3 and here we are on the PlayStation Vita and the game is still just average. The changes brought about with the Remake System does add value to the game and the combat is still fun. The game also scores points for going mobile, as it allows you to play a bit more at your leisure, hitting up a few missions and then putting the Vita down. The sad thing with this series and game, is that there is a great concept here that is hidden under layers of lame puns, bad jokes, and annoying characters. If you can get passed the story and added fluff that drags you down, there is enough here to keep you entertained for awhile.
Review code for Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 SISTERS GENERATION provided by publisher. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.