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Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory Review

Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory Review

If you've been following NIS America's previous Hyperdimension Neptunia releases, you already know that the first game was flawed in most respects, to say the least, which relegated it solely to fans of the genre. A year later NIS America released the second game in the series, Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, which still catered heavily towards its core fans, but was easily leagues above the series' initial offering. Now Neptune is back in the series' newest installment: Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. So is this game a victory for just the fans or gamers at large?

Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory once again follows the exploits of the series' namesake, Neptunia. After the events of mk2 she's become complacent and in an amusing fourth-wall breaking twist, shirks her duties to the point of de-levelling back to Level 1. One thing leads to another and Neptune ends up in a parallel universe of sorts where it's the 1980s and the console wars are just beginning.

Victory's story is easily one of the game's highlights. Like the previous two titles, Victory plays heavily on the video game culture ranging from consoles and handhelds to various gaming tropes. In particular, the localization is absolutely hilarious as it very frequently takes jabs at the game's characters, major events from video gaming's history and even the previous Hyperdimension Neptunia games.

Victory also has some fun with one of mk2's running gags revolving around that game's protagonist, Nepgear. Gamers and reviewers didn't think she had much of a personality and liked her sister Neptune more than her, so in Victory they basically destroy the fourth wall in an attempt to fix this with the game's characters making that blatantly obvious.

Of course, with this being a fan service game, the breast and moe gags that were present in the first two games are present here once again. The former tend to occur when the female leads change into their "HDD" forms, where in battle they gain more power but outside of battle their more adult and voluptuous appearance takes full advantage of the more revealing clothing they are wearing. The latter occurs when they're in their normal tween-ish forms.

Most of the time these gags are humorous, if somewhat overused at times, but there's one scene in particular that gets pretty close to crossing the line. Without revealing too much, during one scene the girls in their HDD forms initiated a group bath, but the actual bathing takes place when they revert back to their normal forms. Granted the scene in question doesn't get into graphic territory, but it's still somewhat disturbing to say the least.

Sadly the gameplay is where most of the disappointments in Victory occur, as Compile Heart for some unbeknownst reason decided to revert back some of the improvements made in mk2. The battles use the same system employed in mk2 (and the developer's recent title Mugen Souls), which allowed each character to move freely in a given radius during their turn and launch either a series of combos or special attack if they were within range of the enemy.

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