Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is the first game of the Hyperdimension Neptunia Series, however, they all are stand-alones. The only thing you should pay attention to is that it's recommended to play Re;Birth1 before starting the third game, since Re;Birth3 is a spin-off of the first game.
As Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 always was extremely popular, I just had to play it as well at some point. I have to say, I didn’t expect a lot since this game looks like your typical fan-service based anime game. Oh, little did I know. Never did I think I would enjoy such a game as much as I did.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is a turn-based JRPG, developed and published by Idea Factory. You can find this game on Steam for $24.99.
Gameindustri is a world protected by four CPUs. CPUs are goddesses who protect their own planets, therefore there are a total of four plants: Planeptune, Lastation, Leanbox, and Lowee. The atmosphere is very tense, as all CPUs are fighting for world domination. Suddenly, random monsters get released by Arfoire. Neptune, who is one of the four CPUs, gets defeated and loses all of her memories. She wakes up in the lower realm and meets IF and Compa without knowing she is actually Purple Heart, the CPU of Planeptune. Gameindustri is in great danger. Will Neptune be able to regain her memories and more importantly, will she and her friends be able to save the world?
The story is very simple and light-hearted. It’s nothing new, as many JRPG games have the same storyline. Basically, you just have a villain who wants to destroy the world and a hero who will try to save mankind, this game is no exception. The story is definitely not the focus of this game and that won't keep you playing the game, but the humor and the lovable characters make up for it.
The characters are very adorable and silly to a point it was funny. Every character is unique and completely different, though all of them are very cute. Neptune doesn’t seem like the smartest girl and is basically an air-head. You really end up shaking your head while laughing and reading her comments. On the side note, you definitely won’t be able to not love her. She never gives up and always tries her best. I would say she can be serious when it is required even if she acts very immature. Noire, on the other hand, is your typical tsundere. She is too shy to admit her real feelings, yet you can tell she really cares about her friends. I really enjoyed the interactions between the characters, for example, everyone teasing Blanc or Noire for… Specific reasons. Vert is a very lovable character as well, she is a very huge nerd and loves to game in her free time. But of course, it’s a secret! She loves anything that’s cute and small, and she especially loves to hug people, a lot!
Some might say that the characters are a bit overly cute and I can definitely agree. They indeed act very cutely and some may be put off by it. However, it never bothered me while playing. I mean what kind of game is realistic? Definitely not a JRPG.
Like I mentioned above this game has a turn-based combat style. You can choose your desired location at the base and run around in small dungeons. However, they’re really small and nothing too complex, so you can finish them very fast.
In the area, there are enemies walking around and when you’re bumping into them, the combat begins. Also, when you surprise them from behind, for example, you will be able to land the first hit. When coming into combat there are various options you are able to choose which are, for example, to fight, to flee etc. Some enemies in the same area are, however, much stronger than others and you won’t be able to defeat them immediately. This is intentional and you may avoid them until you’re ready to beat them.
On the floor, there are boxes with an interrogation mark. If you interact with it, you’ll get a more or less random item added to your inventory. So why would you need these items? There are a variety of quests which require you to collect items or defeat enemies. Items might also drop from an enemy, each box and enemy drop different items you might need. Collection boxes are a nice way to avoid fighting with enemies. When you’ve defeated an enemy they will spawn again after a certain period of time, without you needing to leave and reenter the dungeon. This may come in handy if you need to collect specific items, to avoid annoyingly losing time.
You can add up to 3 characters into your party and an additional of three as a backup, in case a character of your main team will die they will get replaced automatically. Each character has their own abilities and needs different weapons as well. When you die, it’ll be a game over. You can load your last saved file though, so remember to save often! You can save your game at the base anytime and there are a few save spots in the dungeons as well. This way, you also know when you have to fight your next boss, as there is always a save spot right before the fight.
A variety of dungeons are getting unlocked, as you go through the story, however, you need to unlock special dungeons by yourself. This is a bit tricky since you can only unlock some dungeon while playing a specific chapter. This game also contains New-Game-Plus, where you can unlock additional dungeons or characters for your party. The process of unlocking dungeons was very tedious because you needed specifics items for the plans. Plans are necessary to unlock dungeons, accessories etc. However, you might be unlucky and it might take a while to gather them.
You should be beware that Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 may require a lot of grinding. It’s not unusual for a Japanese game though, as they all require a lot of time. Given this, you won’t be able to rush through the story. You will notice very soon on, that beating the bosses without grinding is literally impossible.
Graphics and Audio
First of all, the visuals and CGs are gorgeous. The characters do have plenty of different facial expressions and they’re very lively. You can literally imagine how the girls would look like if they were 100% animated. Also, you can notice the art is really detailed. The dungeons are a bit empty though, they’re very straight forward and only contain glimpses of what could be there. For example, if there is snow, it’s just white. Not detailed at all, just white. The focus on graphics definitely lies in the artwork and CGs, but I wished they would have focused more on the dungeons because it’s also the only place where you can walk around more or less freely.
Also, I have to mention some enemies may seem very weird to you, as they are not all monsters per se. Instead, there are very different visuals for each monster, also including posters for example… It felt very weird fighting against an enemy when they were designed as a thing literally, but it was definitely not a deal breaker.
This game has English and Japanese Voice Over. I played the game with English-Voice-Acting, so I’ll be able to only critique the English one. I really enjoyed listening to the girls’ talking as the voices really fit for each character, I would have imagined them exactly with the same voice given their personality. The Voice Acting really is top notch. Although English-Voice-Over often sounds a bit off in original Japanese games, it didn’t feel this way for Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 at all. They all sound very natural and of course cute and lovable!
So in the end, would I recommend Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1? My answer would be: definitely! While this game does not contain an outstanding story, nor gameplay, I couldn’t put my controller down. Just the dialogue of the main characters and their friendship alone were enough to keep me going. I don’t think Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is a game anyone would enjoy, if you are into a story-driven game or enjoy good a combat style, you should look elsewhere. But if you enjoy character development, a fluffy story and don’t mind a typical JRPG you will absolutely adore this game. I can say I’m glad my journey with Neptunia and her friends didn’t end here since there are more games of this series which I will definitely play in the future.
|+ Cute girls||-- Lack of a proper story-line|
|+ Entertaining dialogues||-- A lot of grinding|
|+ Great Voice Acting||-- Very little detailed dungeons|
|+ Wonderful friendships|
|+ Gorgeous artwork|