Back in 2013, Compile Heart and Idea Factory started remaking Neptune games for the PlayStation Vita starting with the first game, Neptune Re;birth 1. Neptune Re;birth 2 Sister’s Generation in comparison to the prequel feels more like an enhanced port rather than a remake since Mk2 did not have as many problems in comparison to the first game in the franchise. If so, what improvements did Compile Heart and Felistella made in this enhanced port?
The story is the same Neptune Mk2 as the four goddesses and Nepgear gets captured when they tried to take down the Criminal Organization Magiquone (犯罪組織マジェコンヌ). Three years later, Nepgear was freed with the help of IF and Compa. Now, she has to save her sisters by collecting the power from the disks from each respective kingdom while recruiting other party members (Makers and other goddesses candidates) in order to save their sisters and ultimately defeat the criminal organization.
Like the last game, Rebirth 2 Sister’s Generation contains all the features introduced in Rebirth 1 such as the disk maker and the remake system while implementing the battle system from Neptune Victory. As you would expect, the battle system is similar to Rebirth;1 and Victory since you can fill up the EXE Drive Gauge so you can eventually perform a EXE Finish or a EXE Drive. In addition, you need to bring down the enemy’s guard points by using guard-breaking attacks to get a “Guard Break.” Afterwards, you can unleash powerful attacks to deal massive damage. As always, the goddesses can transform to gain better stats at the cost of some SP. However, they do not automatically transform before boss battles like they do in Re;birth 1, meaning that you have to decide if it’s worth it.
As for the story, I thought that the story was more enjoyable compared to Rebirth 1. Instead of using 3D models like in Mk2 for the dialog scenes, the characters are now shown in 2D instead, which in my opinion is an improvement. As expected, the Lily rank and share requirements are still there. For instance, in order to recruit the older sisters and get the other endings, you need to raise the shares to a certain level. Also, character events can pop up sometimes that might give you an opportunity to raise the Lilly rank with a certain character. Lastly, Red finally returns after being absent since the first game in the franchise, taking over Nippon Ichi’s role in the story.
To me, raising Lilly Rank and Shares can be tedious at times since you have to grind in order to meet these requirements. However, with the disk making system, you can quicken this process by using certain idea chips. If you use specific chips, you can create a gold or bad disk, which adds one additional effect for the member that has it equipped. Note that you only need raise another member’s Lily Rank with Nepgear to meet the ending requirements and they will carry over to a New Game Plus. Also, once you unlock the Colosseum by using the Remake system, you can raise the shares even faster compared to doing quests. Overall, it is nice that there are more than two endings and there is a new one to address the fans’ dislike towards the “Ruling” ending, the grinding to meet these requirements can be a bit tedious.
A new addition to Rebirth 2 is Nariyuki’s Dungeon, which features Felistella’s mascot named Stella, who goes on her own adventure. When you send her to a dungeon, she can collect items, fight monsters and find equipment. However, she starts at level 1 every time, meaning that you will need to equip weapons, armor, gem and accessory to increase the chances of her clearing the dungeon. Otherwise, she will get defeated and lose all her equipment.
Although this feature can be a convenient way to collect items that is hard or too time consuming to find, it takes time for her to finish the dungeon. Also, events happen at random while she explores it. Because of this, most players will overlook this feature. Luckily, she will continue exploring the dungeon even if your Vita or Vita TV is on standby, meaning that you can send her off to explore other dungeons while you are doing other things, as long you have the game running.
Like the last Neptune Rebirth game, Rebirth;2 Sister’s Generation is still a very enjoyable game. While it does not feel like a complete remake, the characters, references to video game culture and the story were still entertaining. Not to mention, the game ran smooth most of the time when I played it on the Vita (the Vita TV, not so much). If you haven’t played Mk2, interested in the Neptune franchise or feel like playing Mk2 again, definitely give Rebirth 2, Sister’s Generation a try.
A localized version of this game is being released on January 27th in the United States. The copy I reviewed is the Japanese version, which got released in March of last year.
Strengths: Improved gameplay over Mk2, improved graphics, enjoyable story and characters. Also, Histoire, Chika, Rei and Mina are now playable once they are unlocked via the Remake system.
Weaknesses: Some elements are recycled (monsters, dungeon, music). Also, grinding to meet share/Lilly Rank requirements for the endings can be a bit tedious.
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