Back in 2010, Compile Heart created a roleplaying game based on the console wars with video game consoles personified as cute girls in a game called Hyperdimension Neptunia (超次元ゲイムネプチューヌ). While it was an interesting concept, Idea Factory managed to mess it up. The first game shows this with obvious gamebreaking bugs, poor graphics for a PS3 game, difficulties trying to heal your characters among other things. They eventually realized how unfinished the first game was, so they remade it for the Vita. Since I received the game three weeks ago, I want to share my first impressions. (Image Source)
When I started playing Rebirth 1, there are a lot of noticeable improvements. First, the graphics looked great as it used higher quality models from Neptune Victory while maintaining the original character designs. Also, the graphics in the dungeons look more detailed compared to the previous games, especially on the OLED screen. Perhaps the biggest change for the whole series is that NPCs are no longer represented as silhouette, but now have a defined appearance (yes, even male characters too). While the gameplay is pretty smooth, there are a good amount of frame rate issues, especially in some of the battle scenes and on the over-world in some instances. Thankfully, it’s not a game breaking.
While I haven’t played Victory yet, the battle system looks exactly the same. However, there are a few differences since you can only use three characters (3 supporting) at one time. It’s understandable since the Vita is not as powerful compared to the Playstation 3. Thats saying, I think it was big improvement over the original as you can heal without having to use item skill. Also, the battling experience was rather enjoyable as you position your characters and then pick what attack/skill to use opposed to coming up with a combo in the original. You basically break the monster’s guard and then do an all out attack. Like in Victory, there is an EXE Drive meter when filled allow you to perform special attacks.
On the other hand, I felt that this game was slightly difficult for the fact that the team can easily get wiped out. Besides the fourth wall joke where Magiquone/Arfoire wipes your whole team out before the actual boss battle happens, you will see the Game Over screen quite a lot if you don’t grind enough or forget to upgrade your equipment. Embarrassing as this sounds, I always manage to defeat the first boss in Chapter 2, but end up getting my butt kicked by Black Heart several times before I managed to defeat her. Most of this has to do with my inability to enable the EX Finish, even if the EXE Drive meter is filled, but I’ll figure it out eventually.
As a whole, I think the first Rebirth game brings a lot of improvements so far that is good. Some of the more noticeable ones are being able to recruit other goddeses a lot easier since the story’s outcome is more dependent on the shares like in Victory and Mk2. While it’s sad to see the old Makers go, at least you can get to play with the new ones if you didn’t get the DLC on Victory. Not only that, Pururut and Histoire is now playable via DLC. Still, I think this is a good start for the remakes and hopefully it will continue to impress me as I continue playing.
With that, I’m planning to have the game finished and have a review written by late December or January of next year.