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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: NIS America
Developed By: Compile Heart
Genre: RPG
Players: 1
Rated: T for Teen (Fantasy Violence, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes)
Release Date: March 21, 2013
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

April 9, 2012 - The Hyperdimension Neptunia series has garnered a solid fan base here in the United States. While the sales would lead you to believe no one really cares for the title, the demand for more of the series has consistently been growing with each installment released. While Iím sure Xbox fans would love to have the series on the platform, the previous two installments were PlayStation exclusives; with Hyperdimension Neptunia V being the latest installment and once again exclusive to Sony's platform. While all three games connect together to tell one extended story, Hyperdimension Neptunia V stands on its own a solid experience for the PlayStation 3 console.

Just like the previous two installments, Hyperdimension Neptunia V takes place within the land of Gamindustri. This land is governed by several goddesses, each that represent real world video game consoles. An example of this would be Neptune, the central character of the game, which represents a Sega console by the same name. Before you get ahead of yourself, this console never saw the light of day. There are literally dozens of console/portable devices referenced with the series, let alone this game. Each of the goddesses rule over their respective lands helping to keep the world; as a whole, at peace.

The events within Victory take place shortly after the conclusion of Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, the second installment within the series. Unlike the previous two titles, Victory takes a different approach by utilizing time travel to help tell their epic tale. Neptune has been sent back in time to the days before she became a goddess. This was a time before the other goddesses knew of her, which creates some interesting situations. Neptune must now travel through different time periods in order to stop a new evil group known as the Seven Sages from eliminating all the goddesses.

The battle system in Victory borrows elements from both previous Hyperdimension Neptunia games and Mugen Souls in order to create an all new experience. During battle, your party members have a set radius to move around in. once an enemy comes within the define radius, you are given the option to attack with a standard attack or bring out the big guns and utilize a special move. Your standard attacks will inflict damage on your enemy, by nothing that will cause an instant victory... unless you are fighting enemies that are obviously weaker than you. Your special attacks are a highlight of the battle system as they are generally over-the-top flashy and can cause some serious damage.

Victory allows you to map three different attacks to the triangle, square and X buttons, which allows for quick and decisive attacks. While this simplifies the combat system, there is still strategy at hand because you need to know which attacks to map to the face buttons based on the situation you are in. You have a specific amount of CP, which is required for your attacks. As you progress through the game, you will obtain more CP to allow for more destructive attacks. However, trying to stick to only three particular attacks throughout the game will get you nowhere and result in you dying a lot. Gone are the days of creating your own combos on the fly which is a bit of a bummer; however the change will open up the experience to more people interested in the series. On the plus side, the goddesses you use in battle will still be able to transform and deliver devastating attacks.

After defeating your enemies in battle, your characters are awarded experience points. With each level increase, you character are able to deliver stronger attacks and acquire more devastating specials. As you play the game, you will find yourself leveling up at a faster rate than in mk2. This change can be seen as a step to make the series more mainstream, allowing more players to experience the saga within the worry of not being able to complete the adventure. It could also be seen short-changing those die-hard fans of the series who want a more challenging experience. IN my personal experience, level up did come more frequent than in mk2, however I still found myself being tested by my enemies in the random battles and within the boss battles. Level grinding isnít required in Victory, but can give you an edge as you progress through the game.

While Victory has progress in the right direction in terms of game design, several wonky elements from mk2 were brought over in Victory. First and foremost, the inclusion of the item crafting system. I like the idea of being able to craft items that can help you on your journey, however the idea of having to buy the item you crafted from a shop instead of it being put into your inventory just doesnít make since. Youíll also notice several environments, enemies and character models are recycled from the previous installment. While Victory isnít the first game to do this, the fact that no improvements were made to these elements is rather odd.

The cheeky dialog and jokes about the game industry have made their return in Victory. You will find yourself cracking a smile, if not laughing at some of the stuff the writers came up with. I have to say all-around, the dialog in Hyperdimension Neptunia V is well done. There are a few characters here and there that seem a bit annoying, but overall the characters gave solid performances and help carry the story along.

Just like the two titles before, Hyperdimension Neptunia V is a lengthy experience. Depending on how you approach the game, you can since 3-40 hours into the experience. Iím currently clocked in at 55 hours. In terms of overall satisfaction, Victory comes up a bit short when compared to mk2, but that wonít stop you from enjoying the epic adventure. For those who have played gamers for at least the last 10 years, you will get a lot of the humor and subtle nods to other games. Victory is a classic example of ďtwo steps forward, two steps backĒ. While the story is solid and engaging, you canít but help missing some of the elements from previous games that were either omitted or changed for what seemed like the better.


Review copy of game provided by publisher.

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