A little over two years ago I reviewed Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory on the PS3. It holds fond memories because it was the first game I received a physical copy for during my reviewing career. Now, I’m tasked with the duty of going through the Vita version as Idea Factory continues remaking the series for the handhelds. Will it live up to nostalgia, or is it a title better left in the past?
The nuts and bolts of the game can be found in the link above to the PS3 review. The focus here will be on the changes and additions that will determine if this is a game worth shelling the $40 bucks on, or whether it’s just worth picking up the previous PS3 version at a cheaper price.
Like ReBirth1 and 2, the remake system is back, allowing players to find plans that can change the game, add in items, etc. What is included to remake the game is all in the hands of the player, allowing you to make the changes you see fit, if any. But while some of them have a direct influence on the game, like weaker/stronger enemies, others that sound good in theory are a waste, like ‘symbol death’. I make a point of that particular concept because it has the right idea of giving the player the ability to end easy battles in an instance, but wastes more time than running around the enemy due to the lack of getting any reward.
This remake system creates two big changes to the core game. First, the scout system is gone. While it is mentioned in the story, the act of finding places is automatically done through the narrative or Stella’s Dungeon. The flag system, which changed the enemies and harvestable items in the areas is also gone and integrated into Stella’s mini-game. This saves a lot of time as the player only needs to go to the menu screen to flip a switch, instead of wandering through zones.
Stella’s Dungeon is the second, and the most enjoyable change of the game. It is a simple menu game where you pick a floor of a tower and she goes exploring. It is all done in the background while playing like normal or when asleep. Stella has her own gear and can find new plans and items while exploring the tower. Due to it running in the background, it gave me a reason to keep coming back to the game again and again to resend her on a mission. A simple addition like this is a positive step, and very innovative, in getting the player to come back again and again, if only for five minutes.
Combat has a major change that some will see as positive and unique, but others will find annoying and tedious. Skill points are no longer a static number that goes up with leveling. Now it is a set maximum 1000 that refills whenever attacks are performed. This is great because you can constantly refill it by just grinding for experience points. The downside is there is no easy way to refill it without hurting your damage potential, unless you want to guzzle down a ton of items.
In the field there was also a switch from using the search scan mechanic to invisible, mario style blocks. Before, you had to keep hitting the scan button as your run around an area, hoping to find hidden loot. Now you can find the silhouette of a floating block that you can jump at for coins and, rarely, items. Towns were also switched around, as the static city background has been replaced entirely by a simple menu screen. For whatever reason these changes were done, it took some of the charm away from the game. It is quicker and less grindy, so you’re given convenience at least.
If you’re wondering why this review is so short, that is because there is not a whole lot to differentiate this version from the PS3 version, except for the minor minuche above. Neptunia Re;Birth3 is a fun game, just like its original, but there are not enough changes to warrant picking it up a second time unless you really want another Vita RPG or are a trophy hunter. If you have not already played the game, then yes, this is worth it with all the little extras added in. Your Vita won’t be disappointed.