Average User Score: 8.0Apr 10, 2013GOOD: Great Battle System, Funny Dialogue/Story, Scout System, Improved Frame-Rate, Tough Boss Fights, Multiple Endings, Dual Audio
BAD:GOOD: Great Battle System, Funny Dialogue/Story, Scout System, Improved Frame-Rate, Tough Boss Fights, Multiple Endings, Dual Audio
BAD: Designs for dungeons, baddies, weapons, costumes, etc reused from previous games Slow and excessively grindy start, cliche alt universe ploy.
The third game in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series takes everything that we loved from the first two and gives us plenty more to enjoy! I spent about 60 hours clearing HDN: Victory through it's true ending and after I hurdled the first 20 hours this RPG is certainly a gem. If you are not already familiar with the HDN universe, the game is a complete satire of the current-gen console wars between Sony, MSoft, Nintendo and Sega (Yes, apparently Sega still lives on somewhere). CPU's (Console Mascots Girls) are leaders of their respective console-nation in Gamindustri, fighting for shares, only to unite to destroy a global threat. The writing, the art style, the story and more are meant to be over-the-top and I found myself laughing several times at some of the jabs taken, particularly at the PSN Hack crisis.
HDN: Victory takes place after the events of MKII in Gamindustri (Home of the fictionalized console wars) and things quickly get rolling as Neptune is swept into an alternate past dimension of Gamindustri. The cast largely remains the same from previous titles with the edition of Plutia (Planeptune/Iris Heart) and Peashy. Both add even more dysfunctional hilarity to the collection of CPU's with Plutia's sadistic transformations and Peashy's 'endowments'. Victory's story was well paced and light-hearted with moments of strange, the usual Japanese tropes and even some surprises to be had. Dialog is shallow, but suits each character perfectly with their quirky sayings, emotes and other such oddities each CPU has to offer. Neptune and Plutia are the worse offenders and, on occasion, their banter feels purposely padded. Quest and share management are nearly all optional in Victory which I found as a relief after MKII. Instead, after each chapter you are rated on a scale of 40 on the amount of quests you completed, Planeptune's shares, the new Scout System and baddies KO'd. My scores were usually in the low 20's, save for one chapter where I intentionally took the time to perfect the review score, and the score has no effect on the outcome of the story, just a helpful item as a reward. Item crafting makes it's return using loot picked up in dungeons to forge powerful healing items, weapons, accessories and costume tweaks. An additional game development craft system is added to Victory's mix as well. By fighting off optional Tough Boss fights you can earn either medals to redeem for a blank game disc or chips to craft the game. Hidden in the craft system are 'godly games' and 'terrible games' which grant a powerful boost or a debuff. Final Fantasy, Super Mario and Call of Duty all make a cameo in this optional craft system.
The battle system is great blend of action and turn based elements. Each turn you can freely move your CPU's around the area and line up an attack on the baddies. You are given three different kinds of attack that can: build up hits for an EXE combo, hit for maximum HP damage, or chip away at a baddie's guard points. Deciding on how to build each CPU's attacks for bigger battles became a strategic addiction, and once you had access to a larger pool of CPU's; experimenting with different parties and attacks were essential. It became apparent from the start (more on this later) that baddies hit much HARDER and also recover quite a bit of HP/GP every turn in HDN:V. This is countered with the ability to change into HDD form at any point during battle at the expense of SP points and the AP system from the previous games are gone. Even a small dungeon crawl could turn deadly if an enemy went viral, giving them the ability to one-hit each CPU suddenly. CPU's are now given overpowered EXE attacks that are executed by powering the EXE gauge.
While the game makes it quite clear that the CPU's cannot age as part of their powers, aging them well beyond their looks, this series can sometimes push the mascot girl trope a little to the point of 'uneasy'. Another review pointed out the series' sexism towards men which could generate a whole new discussion, but was pretty interesting take on the story as well.
HyperDimension Neptunia Victory is a solid RPG and deserves your attention. The battle system is active and fun, the story is remains true to its satirical backstory with a crazy cast and goofy dialogue and there is a great deal of content to be explored. Aside from a few frustrations I completely enjoyed my time with this title and look forward to DLC content and future titles.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.5Mar 10, 2013Atelier Ayesha: Alchemist of Dusk is a decent game at best. Out of all the Atelier titles, Ayesha is the most welcoming to those new to theAtelier Ayesha: Alchemist of Dusk is a decent game at best. Out of all the Atelier titles, Ayesha is the most welcoming to those new to the series. Series devotes will find welcome changes, but a few omitted traits that worked in previous games. The visuals closely resembled Totori, all bright pastel colors, environments varied from forests, to ruins, to floating islands. Character design was shooting for cute over battle equipped the usual for any Atelier game. Ayesha recycles the same set of 10 monsters with different colors and names, though some of the bosses really stood out. Out of all the Atelier games I was most impressed with the character models in Ayesha. Gust always impresses me with the game's BGM, some annoyed me, some tunes I wanted to bask in, others were right where they needed to be. The menus do come with a handy option to swap out BGM tracks for the games of the past as well, which made it easy to shake things up towards the end. Ayesha's story was a bit underwhelming. Gust tried to make things a bit "darker" by implying that because of the mankind's abuse of alchemy, natural resources are non-existent, monsters roam freely and is the reason Ayesha's sister was kidnapped in the first place. However, It seems Keith is the ONLY character that is privy to this information and only through his scenes is it ever brought up. The rest of the cast seem completely content with the way the world is and that Ayesha is practicing alchemy, which was the reason the world is in dire straights. While part of the magic is discovering and progressing the story on your own, I couldn't help but either feel lost at times or completely misguided in the quest dialogue. Some major plotlines could be progressed by battling through a series of levels; taking out a boss and grabbing a flower pedal, while others would be as simple as helping a cow with constipation (ya that happens...). I really wish I didn't have to spin through a new game to check out the character endings, as from the little I experienced, the battles, dialog and events were exciting/intense. The battle system was by far the best and most refined in the series however, only during a boss battle did you ever feel the burn to implement strategy and plan you next moves carefully. The rest were either easy or your party was DOA and it was obvious you were in the wrong place. Like ALL the Atelier games the alchemy process needs a large textbook how-to all on its own... Ayesha is no different. There is some satisfaction to be had when you finally get the process down of planning out the stock yard perks, so you can power pour and not use up any CP creating grade S items with ease, but a more extensive help library would have been much appreciated. You also lose the ability to choose the the item traits from the previous games. Albeit, its easy to get the results you like however I could never really get an item perfectly suited for its purpose. They're literally 1000's of different status effects on what seemed like a never ending list of ingredients.
Eventually I will get to a new game and speed through to grab those character boss battles but for now Ayesha is was decent niche title fix. I wouldn't go running to the store to grab this off the shelf, however it is a great distraction until better titles arrive for the niche title fan.… Expand