|Dev: Idea Factory/Compile Heart|
|Pub: NIS America|
|Release: March 12, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Fantasy Violence, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes|
by Becky Cunningham
There are niche Japanese RPGs, and then there are niche Japanese RPGs. The Hyperdimension Neptunia series, a satirical look at the Japanese game industry in which consoles and game companies take the form of goddesses who look like young women, is quite firmly in the second category. It requires a firm interest in the weirder corners of Japanese pop culture, a high tolerance for moe (loosely defined as an art style in which characters are cute almost to the point of obnoxiousness), and a willingness to be subjected to many, many jokes about breast size.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is the third title in the series, and takes its story back to the Japanese console wars of the late 1980s. Sort of. Series protagonist Neptune is transported through a time rift to an alternate-dimension land of Gameindustri in which things haven't progressed much since that time. Accordingly, the console goddesses representing the Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 have been changed to represent the Famicom (known to us as the NES), original PlayStation (not actually out until 1994), and Xbox (not actually out until 2002 in Japan). The SEGA Mega Drive, an actual Famicom rival from the 1980s, is represented by the alternate Gameindustri's leader, but in general the game appears to play fast and loose with the actual chronology of console history.
At any rate, instead of battling representatives of piracy, this time the CPU goddesses are up against a shadowy cabal called the Seven Sages that hopes to bring an end to video games altogether. Neptune's goals are to protect this alternate Gameindustri and find a way home. Along the way, she'll have to deal with the ever-bickering CPU goddesses and baby/teenage versions of the game company goddesses from the other Neptunia games.
The game's story is told through talking-head scenes featuring mostly still 2D character art, but exploration and combat feature 3D models and areas. So far, the stories in the Neptunia games have been seen as quite silly and sometimes crossing the boundaries of good taste, though well-localized by NIS America. The combat system in the games hasn't always been well-received, but the development team has made refinements over time in order to make it more interesting and engaging.
In Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, combat remains turn-based, with characters able to move around the battlefield and position themselves during their turns. Enemies will have both hit points and guard points that will go down when the player's party does damage in battle. Reducing an enemy's guard points to zero results in that enemy's defense becoming drastically lower, allowing the player to go nuts on the weakened unit.
As usual in RPGs, the player's characters have a variety of attacks and skills at their disposal. Players can set up custom attack combinations that allow up to four consecutive moves to be used when executing the attack command. These combinations include powerful finishing moves that can even include assists from other party members. By using a healthy chunk of skill points, the normal human forms of the goddesses can transform into their powerful CPU forms. These forms have boosted statistics that can be customized by equipping processor parts found throughout the adventure.