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Hyperdimension Neptunia may not be a franchise that you’ve heard of before. This strange land of consoles as goddesses is certainly one of the odder worlds you’ll come across in a JRPG.
The Hypercollection gives you three games across the series. There are more and re-workings of a couple as well, so this is a great entry point.
A bit of back story concerning the setting for the games might help. All three are set within Gamindustri, a colourful place once ruled by one goddess. The goddess decided to split the world into four parts and install a CPU (Console Patron Unit) in each to govern this game like world as they saw fit. And it’s the conflict and interaction between these CPU’s that forms the basis for the first game. The subsequent two games follow on from this, so revealing too much for those will ruin some of your fun.
The first one sees three of the CPUs deciding that, after a lengthy period of trying to take each other down and constant battles, them banding together and taking the fourth one down would be a good idea, the thinking being three would be less competition than four. With this decision made Purple Heart, the CPU for Planeptune, is set upon by the others and sent crashing down to Earth, where she promptly suffers from memory loss.
A trainee nurse called Compa finds her and she adopts the name Neptune (or Neppy as Compa calls her) and they head off on an adventure which turns out to be one of great importance.
That’s the basic plot for the first game, a sugar coating to go over the dungeon crawling RPG that lies underneath. The other two games included with the collection follow on from this with new characters and settings, which I’m not going to reveal here because, well, spoilers.
As crawlers go, they’re all pretty competent. They all have their quirks and you can see the improvements made as the series progresses across the games.
In the first Hyperdimension title, the navigation of the world itself is a much slower affair as you’ll be looking for information before you can explore the dungeons that get unlocked. Added to this, to explore the nations other than Planeptune you have to wait for them to float past so that you can connect to them. The second and third titles use an 8 bit style map to allow you to navigate your way around the world, with events being marked so you know where to go to progress the core story.
A simple change but one that makes a big difference when it comes to finding your way around.
The dungeons themselves come with tweaks too. Initially, you’ll be random battled like a mad thing in the first one – classic JRPG tactic. In the subsequent two, you’ll be able to see the monsters in the dungeons more often and even be able to sneak up on them and gain the upper hand in battle.
Combat is turn based through all three, but in the later two you can move around between turns and aren’t rooted to the spot as you are in the first one. A small change but one that adds an interesting mechanic as some attacks/buffs can affect multiple enemies based on where they’re standing in relation to you.
The various characters you encounter can be combined in parings to allow for extra attacks/bonuses in battle and you’re free to switch between these outside of battle. So gearing to a particular enemy type is possible and in some instances a must.
Add into this the usual standard RPG fare of armour and weapon choices ago go, allowing you to kit out the characters in your party and bolster resistances and attacks, and you’ll soon have a formidable team at your disposal.
With new unlocks and items to create as the games progress, this can be almost as much fun and as rewarding as completing the main quest line itself, so make sure you don’t overlook it.
What you have on this disk is three decent RPGs that show how the series has got better with each release, each tweak and change adding to the enjoyment.
The characters are suitably amusing and it’s not a series that takes itself seriously. There’s plenty of gaming related jokes and humour to keep you entertained during the cut scenes, which are presented in a visual novel style. Yes, they’re not the deepest gaming experiences when compared to other RPGs (be they J or otherwise) but they have enough of a plot to keep you interested and importantly they’re fun, and will keep you entertained in a far more light hearted fashion than your traditional JRPG.
If you fancy dipping into something new and like a dungeon crawler smothered in a light hearted fun coating, pick this up. This bundle is a cracking bargain.