Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed

There’s always been something about the Hyperdimension Neptunia series that I’ve enjoyed since it first arrived in the West back in 2011. While the series has been primarily RPG games, it’s nice change of pace to see Japanese developer Compile Heart try a new take on the series. Back in February Idea Factory International released Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart for the PlayStation Vita. The game was developed by Japanese developer Sting and was a tactics RPG.

The newest entry into the Neptunia series is Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed. Like Hyperdevotion Noire, it is developed by another studio, Tamsoft, who developed games for series including Senran Kagura, Oneechanbara, Ikki Tousen and Battle Arena Toshinden series. This means they know action, which perfectly fits the title Action Unleashed.

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The game is set in Gamindustri once again as two journalists cleverly named Famitsu and Degenkiko (based off popular Japanese sites/magazines) compete to create the best article for their publications about the CPU Goddesses and CPU Candidates. While Neptunia U’s story is probably the blandest in the entire Neptunia series, it has its interesting moments but is very easy and skip just to get into the action, since it roughly always circles around to the same topic and feels like it has a final boss just to have a final boss with no real reason.

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Even with the lack of story, the true enjoyment of the game is the hack and slash gameplay. It’s very similar to the Tamsoft’s Senran Kagura series, where you face off against large waves of enemies on screen and roughly button mash between your light and heavy attacks to perform combos on enemies, who are all parodies of creatures from different video game series (Dragon Warrior, Mario, Monster Hunter, Pac-Man, Tokimeki Memorial). Tamsoft also adds some extra fan service to the game by including a costume break mechanic, much like the Senran Kagura series where if you take too much damage or use your heavy attacks too much, they lose some clothes even in HDD form.

I enjoyed how every character is unique in their fighting style, both in their regular forms, as well as their HDD forms, but there is quite a bit of depth to the game outside of just beating up opponents. The early half of the game is very slow with enemy AI’s being pretty bad. As you get to higher levels, they deal more damage. With certain missions, you are left to change your strategy to survive. Using your HDD form makes a large difference, since it changes your characters combos and unlocks a powerful technique that can deal massive damage to all enemies in range. It’s not something you can use often, or at least for most of the game. Like an RPG, the characters level up as you defeat more enemies, and there are tons of items to unlock by defeating tons of monsters and collecting coins.

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Tamsoft did a great job introducing the Neptunia to a completely different genre. The game flows quite well and the ability to switch between characters in battle is a nice option to use if you want, but I love the amount of content the game has. Once you beat all the missions, there is still quite a bit more to do after unlocking new modes, including a battle mode similar to the Dragon Ball Z Battle Tournament, and a Tower game adding even more replay value to the game.

Rather than creating a brand new soundtrack from the game, you hear music from the previous Neptunia games. It’s a great idea, and you can choose between English and Japanese voice tracks and the cell shaded art style looks exactly like the main series. Overall Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed shows that trying new things is always a good thing especially when it works so well.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

4 Atoms

Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed
Developer: Tamsoft
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Rated: T
Release Date: May 19th

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