“Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed” Review

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Took me long enough to get to Noire’s review, but I just finished this game a little while ago, so I tried to not put this one off for as long.

Gameplay: 8/10 – The gameplay in this title is reminiscent of the Shinovi Versus and Estival Versus titles in the Senran Kagura, though a bit watered down by comparison. In a musou-like fashion, you fight off hordes of enemies and bosses per whatever objective you have in the quest. It’s a little samey, but executed well enough. Some characters focus on swift, weaker attacks with high combos while other focus on strong, slower attacks with short, high-damage combos. There’s a good variety in most of the characters, so it’s not too hard to find one that fits your playstyle. You’re also allowed to choose either one or two characters to embark on a quest with. Completing quests with a pair will increase their lily ranks over time. Unlike previous games in the series, lily ranks give you special voiced dialogue between the characters at ranks 1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, and 10. Some of these are quite interesting or cute, especially since we get to see some interactions between characters that have never really given each other the time of day in the series before, like Noire and Rom, for example. Boosting lily ranks unlocks special effects like gained EXP or reduced respawn time after death, so it’s worth pairing up characters you use often to make them a stronger team. The plot in the game is very bare bones, as it revolves around a couple of journalists named after Japanese game magazines working to cover the CPUs and Candidates as they work for the people. There is an overarching plot, but it doesn’t really reveal itself until late in the game. Not much is explained and they don’t really cover any ground with it. You’re mostly playing the game for the character interactions and not so much for any sort of grand adventure. However, in a character-driven series like this, it’s not a bad way to go. The game lets you turn your brain off and enjoy some mindless brawling action and easy to follow dialogue, so it’s a nice relaxing play.

Graphics: 9/10 – The graphics are pretty good here. Character models are well-detailed and have good physics. They also have uhh… bounce physics. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about how good they look, but I do have to dock a point here for the weapon textures being really low-res. It’s not that noticeable unless you’re at the quest results screen, and then it’s really, really noticeable.

Sound: 10/10 – No complaints here. The game re-uses some of the best tracks from the series along with introducing a few that are new to this game. The new tracks are pretty good, and I especially love the title track. Voice work is excellent, especially in the case of the dub. Everyone brought their A-game to the dub this time around and it’s definitely among the best performances in the series. Dengekiko’s actress needed some practice, unfortunately, as she sounded a little stiff and artificial. But I did think that her voice was a good fit. Everyone else was stellar. Monsters are all voiced as well, with unique dub voices, too.

Overall: 9/10 – Hyperdimension Neptunia U is a slightly unpolished but overall well-executed action game. It makes me pretty excited for Tamsoft’s follow-up work in the new game for Blanc which will be using the same engine. This seems to be a noteworthy game in that I’ve seen it appeal to a lot of people who don’t typically play or even like Neptunia games, so if you haven’t tried one before, this alternate universe expedition might be right up your alley.

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