Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
If there’s one series that will continually keep me coming back for more it’s Hyperdemension Vert… Errr sorry, wrong script, Hyperdimension Neptunia! Celebrating its tenth year anniversary, Compile Heart and Idea Factory have brought the CPU Goddess to the latest generation of gaming consoles in Neptunia: ReVerse and while this adventure isn’t a new one as it’s basically ReBirth:1 (V3), this transition comes with a few neat twists.
Starting off from the very beginning ten years ago, Hyperdimension Neptunia was an obscure Japanese RPG that itself was all about video games and its tropes and I’m still in some ways surprised that it had been localized. Happy as I own every entry of the series, but surprised as one had to wonder if the niche market was enough to make it worth bringing over. Having now seen sequels, ReBirths, and spin-offs, the series is popular enough that fans like me no longer even need to worry about “IF” we are going to get it, but when.
And so starting back over from the very beginning, before the introduction of the CPU candidates, before the introduction of a whole Neptunia-verse, Neptunia: ReVerse stars our “fifth” wall breaking protag as she’s defeated by the other three Goddess and sent plummeting down to Gamindustri. Found and nursed back to health by Compa, it won’t be long before Neptune joins her other bff IF (Iffy for short) as the three travel to regain Neptune’s memories through a series of shenanigans.
Having continuously evolved over time, and in some cases rolled back, ReVerse is no different as while it’s retelling a story told a few times over, the engine under the hood makes things both look and run smooth. Load times, graphics, combat, if there was one thing that I would have a complaint about is that the pre-movie renders looked dated and I have to wonder if that’s because they were originally brought over from the PS Vita (before the PS4 port) which uses a much smaller native resolution than the main consoles outputting full 1080p and 4k. Otherwise everything else looks and sounds great.
Coming back time and time again, there’s an appreciation for the style of gameplay that the Hyperdimension, Megadimension, Hyperdevotion, MegaTagmension, Superdimension and Cyberdimension all have in common. It’s the balance between a fairly hardcore Dungeon Crawling experience that often times requires a lot of grinding, and a Visual Novel like a approach to tell the rest of the story. It works and it works well as Compile Heart and Idea Factory have not only done it here, but have also pulled it off in Dragon Star Varnir, Death End re;Quest 1 and re;Quest 2 and the various versions of Fairy Fencer F.
These narrative segments are a combination of pure written dialog and loads of voiced over segments for when things are either really important or the punchline was too much to pass up on. From the protagonist Neptune and her closest friends Compa and IF to the various supporting cast and the other Goddesses, there’s more than enough dialog to go around to the point that sometimes the self-awareness drops in as Neptune herself calls out the walls of text or tries to avoid them to get things moving. It’s brilliant, it’s fun, and it adds something more to the sheer amount of time that you may be, or want to be spending, travelling through the various dungeons in their default format for quests, experience and items before using the Plan System to change things up. New enemies, new items, more powerful enemies, each of these will help you move forward in the story.
This is perhaps the one aspect that I forgot about over time while having gone back through the ReBirths on my Vita as well as the remakes and revamps of Megadimension Neptunia VII. The bosses are HARD. I don’t just mean, alright, sprinkle a little more experience and gain a level and come back. I seriously mean that they are brutal and unless you’ve either gone about and ground for some serious level experience or gone farming for items to unlock new equipment that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise? You. Are. Toast. Not just toast, but fully charcoaled and entirely non-edible Toast.
Thankfully there are some ways around this that won’t take too much time mindlessly grinding away experience but will instead be a bit more fun. In the mindless category there are some dungeons that open up or can be opened up which will help on this but the other is brand new to ReVerse and that is the universally loved to have as a minigame, Fishing! I honestly don’t know what it is about fishing as in real life. While I may have done it while I was younger with one of my grandmothers, as an adult I simply do not have the patience for it. Put it into a video game though and I’m all in.
Taking up a fishing line and heading to one of the local fishing holes, Neptune can cast a line and hope for the best once the bait at the end of the line touches the water. The process is fairly quick as there’s no need to play with the line or worry about whether or not something will bite, it will. What you need to worry about is the fish’s stamina versus that of Neptune. Drain the fish’s stamina and Neptune will catch anything from new gear to various local fish. Fail? It’s not as simple as losing out on bait but Neptune and the rest of the party will be attacked by some fairly tough monsters that are basically boss grade for that part of the game. This is where grinding is made easy as you can either fish to catch stuff or fail on purpose and basically go through a boss gauntlet and not have to worry about how long it takes them to respawn.
Making things even easier on that front is the ability to simply skip through all of the attacks and just see the health bars decrease and damage numbers fly across the screen. There’s nothing wrong with seeing how the combinations of attacks all get put together but after a while, you’ll want to start skipping everything to simply get to what it is that you need to such as getting that low rate item drop or defeating a variety of Shampurus from Mugen Souls that have somehow made it into a dungeon within Planeptune.
Finally also along for the ride are some additions that come over time such as the additions of some characters like Plutia and Peashy from Neptunia Victory and then Uzume from Neptunia VII which are available very early on to be added into your party. This alone helped with the grinding and potential boss fights as these three alone were also Goddesses in their own Gamindustris. Add in that Neptune gets her Goddess form back early enough in the adventure and having four Goddesses to face off against tougher foes makes for a much easier time accumulating experience.
So overall, while I personally would have enjoyed a brand new Neptunia title for the launch of the Goddess shenanigans on the PlayStation 5, Neptunia: ReVerse is a good place to start for those that would actually have no idea of the series. What better way to start off than the beginning? For returning fans though, I would say that if you’ve been wanting to return back to the beginning as it’s been several years Neptunia: ReVerse is worth it especially on a much larger screen and some added bonuses to get the adventure started off faster with some help from the other Neptunia-verse Goddess.Score: 8.5 / 10