Hyperdimension Neptunia is a series that PlayStation owners have had plenty of time to get used to. Debuting in 2010 on PlayStation 3, Idea Factory's RPG series has been popular enough to span several entries and a handful of spin-off titles. The series recently made its debut on PC earlier in 2015, and has wasted little time in releasing a remake of 2012's Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2.
The remake, which has received the obnoxiously long name of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation, starts off with the world of Gamindustri in danger. Piracy has run rampant across the land, and to make matters worse, most of the heroes from the first game have been captured by a villainous group called ASIC. With previous protagonist Neptune unavailable, players now take control of her sister Nepgear to save the day.
From a story perspective, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation takes an incredibly risky path. The game tosses aside the main characters from the first game in the series, instead spotlighting side-characters. The risk was worth taking, though, as the new protagonists are all interesting and help freshen up a sequel that hasn't changed all that much from a gameplay standpoint.
That isn't the only added benefit from changing protagonists, though. Hyperdimension Neptunia has become well known for its fan-service, and while it is still there it makes much less of an appearance in Re;Birth2. Jokes about breast sizes are few and far between, and it is just a more well-natured game in general.
The action found in Sisters Generation will feel familiar to anyone who has played previous entries in the series. It is still a turn-based RPG that has a simple to use, yet deeply customizable battle system. The combat doesn't innovate, but it is mighty fun to play.
Idea Factory's sense of humor shines throughout the game, but there might actually be too many jokes. For every one line of dialogue that ends up advancing the plot, players can expect to read about thirty that are throwaway jokes. This means that there is a lot of text to sift through, even for fans of flavor text in games.
While previous titles in the series have required more grinding than can be considered fun, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 features a much better difficulty curve. There are a few difficulty spikes to experience, so as long as players don't avoid battling, the game shouldn't be much of an issue to finish. Well, at least to obtain the normal ending.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation features several different endings and paths that can be taken by the character. The path for the True Ending, however, will require the player to complete a ton of in-game quests (by collecting items, killing enemies). This means players that want to experience all that the game has to offer will need to grind away, or at least take a trip to YouTube.
One of the most interesting parts of the title is the plan system. This allows players to customize their in-game experience by collecting materials in dungeons. These materials can be used to create plans that make the game easier (or harder), add items to stores, and even change what enemies appear in dungeons.
This remake isn't all about polishing up a previous game, though, as some new content has been added. Stella's Dungeon is one of the new additions and functions similar to a mobile game. Players can send Stella out to explore dungeons, where she can bring back items for the player. It is an interesting mode, but one that is certainly more of a diversion than a necessary part of the game.
The series has never been a graphical powerhouse, and Sisters Generation is no different. Even if you play the RPG at the highest resolution, it still looks like a nicely polished PS2 game. That being said, the game's strong art style keeps the game's basic visuals from ever becoming an eyesore. There are several different distinct dungeons to explore, and even more unique enemies to beat up.
Boss battles are one of the title's weakest components as players will end up facing the same handful of bosses a dozen times over. For a game that is relatively short, at least in terms of JRPGs, this repetitiveness just seems like lazy game design. Thankfully, even when the game is repetitive, it is still interesting enough to keep players attention.
Overall, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generations provides a light-hearted JRPG experience that isn't seen enough on PC. While it won't blow anybody's mind in terms of mechanics or graphics, it does offer up a lot of fun in its 20+ hour story. Just be ready to read a lot of dialogue.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation is a remake that learns from the mistakes of the original. It is one of the most balanced titles in the series, and arguably the best.