The first thing I did when I came back from Japan was to stuff the Blu-Ray of Hyperdimension Neptune Mk2 into the PS3. Given how much I loved the first Hyperdimension Neptune, I could hardly contain my excitement when I got my hands on its sequel. It so happens that the game is STILL in my PS3, because this sequel is just really brilliant.
The story throws you again in the world of Gameindustri, which is on verge of collapse after an all-out attack by the evil forces of Magiquone. Though less subtle than in the first one, the scenario still gives a entertaining and interesting look on the (real) game industry, the most striking part being the debate about piracy (Magiquone being a metaphor of piracy) between Brave the Hard and Yuni. No article or study could possibly get this better. The rest of the game keeps this very Japanese sense of humor that made the first iteration so awesome, making it once again a pure pleasure to watch.
When Hyperdimension Neptune Mk2 take the best of Hyperdimension Neptune, it does also fix and improve nearly everything else. The graphics for example see a dramatic improvement, especially regarding character modelling, but backgrounds look somewhat prettier too. The only thing that bugged me is that they changed the 2D animated characters in conversations by 3D ones. While some of them look definitely good (Histoire, Nepgear, Yuni, 5pb…), some other are just ugly (Neptune and most of the characters from the 1st game). The battle system has evolved as well : less complex, it becomes a lot more player-friendly since you can now heal whenever you want and that the combos are easier to create. You can now use up to 4 characters at the same time, and you can now move freely around the battlefield which give a new but equally strategic and more intense approach. Talking about the characters, the game has an astonishing total of 15 (of which two are DLC characters), each one with lots of different skills and an insane special attack of his own. Hyperdimension Neptune Mk2 (and its prequel) marks the return of over-the-top 15-hit Limit Breaks that we hadn’t seen since Squall’s Lion Heart (you can see those on the videos). The soundtrack was excellent as well : it perfectly fits the game and gives an epic touch in battles. It’s also more varied than in the 1st Hyperdimension Neptune, melodies, voices and sounds have been meticulously fine-tuned.
The only problem I see with this sequel is that it’s a little too easy compared to the first one. You level-up very fast, so the balance is fine in most of the game but collapses towards the end : the final boss barely hit me. It’s also a bit short : l’d say 50-60h for the Platinum, but personally I don’t really consider this an issue. No, Hyperdimension Neptune Mk2 is a masterpiece among JRPGs, and there’s one final very good thing about it.
The DLCs in Hyperdimension Neptune felt a bit like coercive selling. Compile Heart made a complete U-turn on the subject : the vast majority of the DLCs for Hyperdimension Neptune Mk2 are FREE! In-game money, items, game events, additional dungeons & bosses, NEW SKILLS, all this cost me exactly 0¥! The only paid contents are the 2 optional characters (but there’re really worth it) and some accessories (which you have plenty already in the game anyway). Last but not least, Compile Heart has released regular updates since August, which makes already a lot of content that allows you to enjoy the game further.