In 2011, Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 transformed a series born an awkward first episode. As Mk2 didn’t necessarily need a remake, Hyperdimension Neptunia ReBirth2 (Re2) comes on PSVita more as a “plus” version than as a remake.
The story begins as the dark forces of Magiquone, which defeated the heroines of the first game, have almost entirely conquered the parodic world of Gamindustri. However hopeless the situation may seem, the little sisters of the goddesses take up arms to free the land and save their big sisters.
Far from being simplistic and like Mk2 before him, Re2 is the most addictive and surprising in terms of narrative. It’s in this one where the allegory of the console war is the cleverest, including the question of piracy presented in a very stunning way : the game illustrates the spread of R4/pirate copies and their consequences, especially in the hands of casual gamers. But Re2 doesn’t just condemn that fact and opens the debate about the balance to find between cost, creation and accessibility in a memorable conversation between Uni and Brave. The story can change in several ways, the game having 9 different endings! One of them, the Conquest ending, is frightening, almost unbearable in cruelty, but add a great deal in terms of gravity and is another great symbol. In Re2, that particular ending can see a new development under very strict conditions, but is supposed to change the tragic course of events. Another good thing of Re2 compared to the vanilla version is that quests and their effects in terms of shares aren’t limited and this allows you to see all the endings in one playthrough.
Re2 is nevertheless a concentration of fun because it brings numerous funny events, including brand new ones, one of which that parodies the Neptunia popularity polls being absolutely hilarious. We still miss a few of (very good) Mk2 events as NISA and Gust are no more. The parody of the gaming world in itself is as good as ever, even in the smallest details like some characters’ lines, the small avatars whom you come across on the world map, the name of the skills… It’s also the kinkiest in the series, because it goes beyond most niche games as for fan-service : uncompromising artworks and permissive camera angles make it an excellent ecchi offering.
This newest Neptunia game has probably the richest content ever. It includes 22 characters all in-game, a new line-up of costumes/accessories and numerous post-game challenges adding to the various endings. Re2 also adds a new mini-game called Nariyuki Dungeon. Similar to Victory’s scout system, you will send a mini-character called Stella (who is the personification of the developer Felistella) in dungeons so she can loot items. It’s no a big addition as it remains fairly anecdotal. I rather lament the fact that costumes can’t be unlocked before the end chapter for most part, they were a lot more accessible in Re1. Same problem for the Oracles who are playable in this remake, but the unlock conditions are even harder than for the sisters in Re1. Honestly, I expected that they would join much earlier, and in a way that is more connected to the story. I cleared the game in 30h straight, but I do reckon I would need more than twice that to go through all the possibilities.
Mk2 had reformed the series by introducing the new battle system. Re2 isn’t doing anything like that since it inherits the aforementioned Mk2 system. That’s still turn-based with free movements on the field and an FFXIII-like break system. It’s back with its traditional qualities and drawbacks, that is to say tactical enough but pretty even in its progression. Like in the first remake, you can change the difficulty settings anytime, which turns out to be quite handy again. Unlike Mk2 in which the challenge went decreasing, Re2 is remarkably progressive in that matter. It is a huge improvement over Mk2 : bosses in Mk2 required more much focus than in the original version. The difficult settings are also a good way to ensure a solid challenge even if you go grinding time to time. Last but not least, you have a team of 4×2 characters : 4 in battle and 4 in reserve that can relay anytime.
Let’s finish by technical aspects, which haven’t changed much since Re1 : it’s the same engine and thus equally one of the most beautiful portable RPGs there is. Let’s stress that graphics have been polished from Mk2 and that returning characters add more flashy and colourful skills. All this is sometimes too much to bear for the game because the framerate tends to drop significantly when there’s too much stuff on the screen. Another important note : Re2 abandons the (rather underwhelming) 3D models during the talk parts experimented in Mk2 to come back to our beloved animated 2D models.
Changes and improvements in this second remake not being as important as in the first one, Hyperdimension Neptunia ReBirth2 is interesting but optional for those who have Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 on PS3, but a must-have for those who don’t as it excels in many aspects.