Let's Talk: Hyperdimension Neptunia

Hyperdimension Neptunia wasn't a game I imagined myself getting into. When I first came upon the series a few years ago, being an avid JRPG fan, I wanted to play it. But the battle system and overly moe characters kept me from actually making the purchase. The only time I ever appreciated a battle system like that was in Eternal Sonata and having played Hyperdimension Neptunia now, I can say that Eternal Sonata plays better. Much better.

With regards to the characters, the series clearly panders to a specific type of niche audience within the JRPG community. Overly sexualised, moe characters that fit within specific character archetypes in a story told through the scripting of a typical isekai light novel writer. In other words, a game I wouldn't normally play but an anime I probably would watch.

Now, having said all that, I got into the series because snwlprd wanted to play one of the spin-off games with me: MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies. Since this spin-off featured a beat-em-up combat system, I agreed. I got it during the sale and have since finished the story while occasionally still returning every once in a while to continue with the zombie slaying and Noire levelling.

After playing through the game, I saw the series in a new light. My suspicions and criticism still held strong but I realised the untapped potential. After playing through that game, I finished the anime series, finished Rebirth 1 and I'm currently going through Rebirth 2. Why the sudden shift in attitude you ask? It can't possibly be because of a realisation of this 'potential' I speak of!

You're not wrong there. The shift came because I discovered their latest title soon to be released in English: Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online. And while the game doesn't look as good as it should have been, I feel like the developers are slowly coming to an understanding as to what they have laid out for them.

So, having decided I wanted to play Cyberdimension, I swore to power through all the existing games before it releases. 'Power through' being the main point. I'm rushing through the games with as many 'cheats' as I can get by with (fill the EXE bar quicker, take less damage, more EXP, etc). This of course does not impair my enjoyment of the game in any way as I still go through the story without skipping scenes. It's actually far more enjoyable when the brainless grinding is removed.

Most diehard fans will probably stop reading the article right about now, writing me off as a person who clearly doesn't 'get' it. But I do get it. I get what the games are now. My current interest is to further my understanding of the characters, their interactions and the lore. The gameplay can only change between games, which is why I don't start using the remake system until I'm further into the game. If the battle system doesn't captivate me by then, then I'll ignore the unnecessary sword swinging.

Reading through this article, you might think I dislike this franchise or only see it as a good concept. While one of the biggest drives for me is the concept, I do actually like the franchise now that I've given it a shot. The characters, while very much caricatures of typical anime archetypes, sound pretty damn adorable. Yup, I'm being sold because they sound cute. Also, two tsundere sisters! I mean, very basic writing here but TSUNDERES. COME ON.

There are quite a few more things I like about the series but the most valuable thing they have going for them is their concept. I can go on and on about what I would do if I was the developer but ideas require money. And I understand that. Until they acquire the 'moolah', the series can't evolve as fast as it should.


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