Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2
(NIS America for PS3)
By Mike Delano
Quirky goes a long way with me. I’m much more likely to spend some time with a game that’s a little rough around the edges but has a whole lotta heart than I am with a more polished game that treads familiar ground. Considering that Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 is an RPG that stars pint-sized anime girls modeled after video game systems (Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, and onward into obscurity/nerd heaven) that do battle with an evil game-pirating empire, this sequel was in my wheelhouse from the start.
But it’s got some issues that keep it from being the hardcore gamer’s gem that it could be, the main one being that it’s too long (not based on RPG standards, but based on the amount of interesting stuff it has to offer). The drawn-out nature of the adventure puts a lot of strain on the battle system, but it’s a good one: The turn-based combat lets the player move around the field for strategic placement, and the Guard Break concept functions like Final Fantasy XIII‘s chain-rewarding Stagger system.
The overlong feel of mk2 buries a lot of its humor, too. It can be a funny game, with writing that’s full of clever insider stuff for the gaming faithful, from NPCs bitching about pre-orders to a wandering red-haired adventurer named Falcom. Surrounding those intermittent chuckles, though, is lots of repetitive banter, which makes me wonder if the game wouldn’t be better served as a punchy, 15-hour romp with tons of post-game content for those interested rather than a 25+ hour quest with lots of built-in filler.
If you’re the type of gamer who would smile when a character named Cave shows up and makes references to bullet hell, then mk2 definitely has some goofy fun to offer, just make sure to equip your patience before setting off.