A lot of franchises nowadays have begun to spawn titles under the same name but with a different key mechanic, and these titles have been largely called spin-offs. While a good break from the usual routine of canon titles may be appreciated, the result of such spin-off may be that the next canonical iteration may be disappointing, or even worse than the non-canon release. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3, releasing after two consecutive spin-offs, does not fall in the latter category, producing a game and story which surpass the previous titles in the series and doing so with a Nep-Bang.
Releasing just a short while after Hyperdimension Neptunia U, which removed the turn-based combat in favour of a more action style fighting mechanic, I was expecting to be bored by the return to the usual JRPG mechanics, but even though the formula remains largely the same as Re;Birth 2, that of fitting as many enemies as you can in the range boxes, the combat still feels fun. Let us go over the basics first. The premise of Re;Birth 3 is a simple one to grasp; our dear old heroine Neptune gets teleported to a different dimension, which features the same world and its countries, but with a big twist, in that the CPU of Planeptune is not Neptune, but a brand new character in the series and one who I already adore, Plutia. The bad guys this time around are the Seven Sages, who will pursue the CPU along the course of the game.
Gameplay is pretty similar to the previous iterations, so anyone who has ever played Re;Birth 1 or 2 will find himself at ease quickly. Just like its predecessor, there are a number of different dungeons which you can explore, to collect items, get ingredients to then combine together through the use of plans, and complete quests or get to the next story event. In the menus, you can select the party leader, who as usual will be the character you control while platforming along the dungeons. This time, the leader of the party will have a bigger impact on the game, since there are now challenges in the game, which are triggered after doing a number of actions and will give that character a specific reward. For example jumping a number of times with the party leader while platforming will net you an increase in the TEC stat, while picking items up for set number of times will grant you increases in the LUK stat. These bonuses are not only limited to the party leader, since some may be triggered in battle such as not taking damage in a whole fight, and the bonuses may range from stat increases to plans, to for example add that character’s voices to the menu. Thus the leader of the party will have a contribution to the game, which is a very welcome addition to the franchise.
Another great change was the upgrade made to Stella’s Dungeon. This mode debuted in Re;Birth 2, where you could send a scout to gather items for you in different dungeons. In Re;Birth 3, the mode has been improved quite a lot, adding also a visual element to it which almost makes it worthwhile just starting at the cute 8-bit Stella climbing small stairs. This time around, the dungeons are specific to the Stella’s Dungeon mode, and to unlock a new area one must clear the existing one. This gives you a key and a plan, the latter of which must be completed in order to be able to access the new area.
Combat in Re;Birth 3 has not changed by a lot, and all its additions increase the fun of the battles. The addition of EX Finishers has increased damage output of each character when going for a melee attack. These EX Finishers are attacks which are executed at the end of the normal attack chain and usually deal a ton of damage. What I really like is the trade-off which players must make, since these EX Finishers depend on SP. While they do not consume SP like Skills, the character must have one or multiple bars of SP to be able to unleash the SP finisher, which means either sacrificing Skills to be able to spam EX Finishers at the end of each combo, or go ahead and sacrifice the finishers in favour of SP Skills.
As usual of Hyperdimension games, the story is immensely funny, and the characters’ knowledge of them being in a game and also knowing the lore and such gives way to amazing moments, such as how Neptune continues to say how she is the main character and she deserves the spotlight, or also when Nepgear complains about the low scores attributed to Re;Birth 2 due to claims that she was not a good enough lead.
This also results in characters, mainly Neptune, making outrageous jokes which are of a strictly Adults Only nature, and which given the nature of these girls, will be even more funny.
As for the audio and graphics section, Hyperdimension games are not strangers to topping this section, and Re;Birth 3 does as good as its predecessors, and better. Graphically, it’s the best Hyperdimension to date, and it fits perfectly on the Vita’s screen. Characters look better not just in their storyline portraits but also in battle and while platforming, which indicates that work was done all over, as should be for a new iteration. The different colours of the world, the maps and dungeons come together to create a beautiful and distinct storyline, which will keep players entertained until the very end of the game. All the characters and their different personalities also make the game a joy to play, since you never know who will do what, especially with the addition of Plutia who will surely prove interesting. The sound of Re;Birth 3 is also top notch, with an amazing line-up of music making up the soundtrack which fits whatever situation very well, be it battles or story dialogues. These story dialogues are also one of the best features of the whole game, and whenever these dialogues are voiced, you can expect to be in for a great time. The voiceovers of the characters, both good and evil, is wonderful, and voiced cutscenes will be a joy to watch.
All in all, Idea Factory and Compile Heart have yet again managed to create a masterpiece. Following through Re;Birth 2 was no easy task, since even though a lot of reviewers complained about Nepgear it was still an amazing game, and I liked Nepgear quite a lot so I cannot understand all this hate. Nonetheless, Re;Birth 3 V Generation has improved on virtually everything its predecessors have done, and it is so addicting that I have probably never seen the Battery Low notification as much as I have while playing this game. It is almost best to leave it plugged in!
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.