Neptunia ReVerse launches the Hyperdimension Neptunia series into the next console generation, with a release for the PlayStation 5. Does it do the popular series justice? Here’s our review.
What’s funny (at least to us) is that the Neptunia series likes to poke fun at the videogame industry (Gamindustri in the games), but has now itself turned into a bit of a trope when it comes to the current trend of remakes and remasters. Neptunia ReVerse is a remake of a game that was originally launched on the PlayStation Vita as Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1, which was itself a new version of a PlayStation 3 original. Hey, at least they made the name a lot easier to remember this time, right?
The first PS5 release by Idea Factory International and Compile Heart is essentially a Vita game running at a much high resolution and at a solid 60 frames per second. While the image is much sharper than it was back in 2013 on the small Vita screen, it won’t surprise you when we say this is a game that doesn’t shout “next gen”. Sure, load times have been eliminated, but other than subtle uses of the DuelSense controller (most notably in a new fishing minigame) you’re not getting an awful lot here that wouldn’t have worked on a PlayStation 4.
What you get instead is a nice trip down memory lane (with a few new content bits), which (re)introduces Neptune and the other goddesses, all of which represent major videogame consoles – from Neptune who is aligned with Sega (remember the Saturn?) to more obvious references like Leanbox and Lowee. The videogame references clearly don’t stop there, as the game love to poke fun at a wide variety of gaming-related stereotypes. It does the same with otaku culture, but we’re guessing plenty of people won’t be as familiar with those references.
If you’ve played the Vita game before, then Neptunia ReVerse won’t hold a lot of secrets for you. You’ll see familiar visual novel-like interludes that help tell the story (complete with a Japanese dub), and the combat sequences are still of the turn-based variety. Even if you haven’t played a Neptunia game before, you’ll be right at home as long as you’re used to JRPG-style combat where you attack, defend and use special moves once you’re charged it up. It’s fairly standard stuff and clearly not the emphasis of the game – that resides with the story.
You navigate between story scenes and combat by freely moving through the 3D game world, where you can enter shops and dungeons. There’s also special loot that you can find in the shape of “plans”, which are essentially hacks that you can use to change the game’s behavior. These can functionally change how you play by being more generous with supplies, or add content to the game through additional dungeons.
What’s new and interesting for those who’ve played before is the newly added Arrange Mode, which immediately gives you access to almost thirty characters right from the start of the game. It kind of feels like another “hack” because at times it doesn’t really fit the narrative and the game automatically levels up a bunch of characters just so that everyone keeps up, but you do get to put characters together this way that you wouldn’t be able to combine in a regular playthrough.
Neptunia ReVerse feels more like a re-released “plus” version of the original game than a next gen debut for the franchise, but for newcomers looking to get into Neptunia that’s more than okay. For existing fans looking to move up in console generations, it’s a bit thin.