The Nardio Review
IS Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed WORTH YOUR TIME?
Sort of…not really.
WHAT SHOULD YOU PLAY IT ON?
I played it on my PC with an X Box controller.
HOW IT PLAYS AND WHY IT WORKS:
Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is a beatem up/hack and slash to shut your brain off and relax with. Don’t over think it, just have fun and beat up on the cute things.
But seriously, don’t over think it.
The cracks start to show.
Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed called out to me because it seemed like a fun beat’em up/hack and slash game that didn’t take itself very seriously. It’s also a sort of spin off from a fourth wall breaking role playing games that I hear are phenomenal. Well I don’t have time to throw into an RPG so I figured this would be just as fun in a shorter amount of time… I was wrong.
About the time, and sort of about the fun.
Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is a looooooonnnng and game that is mostly about beating cute things up in several arenas with several attractive female anime inspired characters. Well it seems to be mostly about the eye candy. This came as no surprise to me. I sort of knew what I was getting into from the steam store page, but assuming I knew what I was getting and playing it were two totally different things. I’m OK with hentai and echhi, but wow.. This game puts it right in your face. The costume breaks are over the top. Costume breaks happen when you use your strong attack to much or take to much damage. All of a sudden the game stops showing you the action and then shows you a different kind of action… Your characters clothing ripping off while they look shocked and embarrassed…
Your character then continues the fight wearing a lot less clothing. You hit harder, but it’s disconcerting when it happens because it rips you out of the fight. This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the characters that look and sound like children. That’s just not cool with me. Yes, I get that the legal age of consent in Japan is 14, but some of these characters look and sound like they are 10 years old or younger. That’s just really, really wrong for me. I really avoided playing with those characters as much as possible, but the game forces you to use all of the characters if you want to proceed with the story line. Thankfully I was able to keep it to a minimum. Thankfully with the minimum amount of play I was able to unlock the unbreakable outfits for the younger girls.
Fear not if you aren’t a fan of this clothes ripping action because later on you can earn unbreakable clothing. As you level up and knock out enemy killing achievements you are able to unlock new outfits including the unbreakable ones.
Fear not if you are a huge fan of clothes ripping action because you can also earn easily ripped clothing and pre-ripped outfits.
Win, win really I guess?
As far as the rest of the games visuals go, they were horribly neglected. There aren’t very many enemies in game. They also make no sense whatsoever. I’m OK with the later, it’s the former that is the problem. You will see all of the enemies in game way before you come close to finishing the game. I really, really wish we had more enemy variety. It just becomes a matter of reskining and extra damage and health being added to the enemies as the game goes on. The enemy attacks are also really, really lazy. The stages are alright, but they to seem a bit bland as well.
Now on to the audio! The first thing that you will notice when starting up the game is Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed has a lot of fully voiced dialogue. It takes a little while to actually get to the game because there is so much talking. Now for the most part the voice acting is really well done. The problem is the writing sucks. Like, wow… it sucks. It’s forced, pointless and drags on. I think this was written to appeal to guys who are way to into these characters. Each and every girl gets to shine/needlessly talk and embody their own trope and character. It wears thin very, very fast. Thankfully there are a few good jokes in the mix, but this whole script needs a rewrite and to be cut down by ten or fifty pages. Some characters are written better than others, but overall it just doesn’t work for me. I tended to just skip through a lot of it and just read the text to get through it all. It was less painful reading though it quickly than having to hear the voice actors say the horribly written words. If this is the sort of writing that is in the famous role playing games Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is based off of then I might just avoid them entirely.
Enemies make noises when they are attacked and it really gets repetitive. The same can be said of the characters speaking during combat. Fights can go on for a good while and hearing the same call outs over and over again either drives you nuts or you tune it out. I have to admit some of them are kinda funny, but I’d like less of it please. Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is really a game that you really want to play on mute with your own soundtrack blaring in the background.
Now on to Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed gameplay!
It’s repetitive, shallow and yet sorta, in a weird shut your brain off sorta way.. kinda OK. It seems really simple at first. Honestly it seems bare bones and boring at first. But the more you play it the more you master it and know how to best chain attacks and when to use what power. Sadly the gameplay gets so repeditive thanks to long drawn out levels and slow enemy spawn times that the fun quickly wears out. This is the kinda game you play and take breaks from because its just not interesting enough. I only really kept coming back to it for the review, to see how it ends, and to hope it gets better.
Now I started Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed the way I normally do when I play any game like this… I jumped right into the arena area to get a feel for the game and see how far I can make it. In this game it’s called the Hyperdimensional Collosuem. Well the Hyperdimensional Colosseum was shockingly easy for the most part. Too easy thanks to the lack of enemies in the game. It wasn’t until the very end of the arena when I had to face several bosses at once that I actually had problems and started to die. By then I was level 80 with my waifu Vert and about level 60 something with my secondary character Dengekiko. I picked Vert as my main because her attacks can be used to take out multiple enemies at once. Dengekiko can be used the same way.
I was surprised I made it so far because I actually started the colosseum several levels under where I needed to be and then proceeded to level up quickly in it and power through it all. It took a while to clear this not out of difficulty, but because the stages just took a long time. Waves after wave was thrown at me again and again. Levels can go one for a while as hundreds of enemies keep spawning before you slaughtered enough for the boss to come out. Some times they can spawn really slowly which as you can imagine can feel pretty tedious.
Once I was done with the collosseum it was time to take on the main campaign. Well, it was mostly a cake walk thanks to power leveling through the collosseum. Even when I was forced to use other characters I learned enough about playing the game that it was kinda cake. If I did need to level some characters that I was ignoring a trip to the Collosseum was the fastest bet. That said the campaign was for the most part a cake walk. The only real challenge came after beating the main game and unlocking the second part of it. That said it took me about 21 hours to get that far. That unlocks a tournament mode and additional quests.
I was pretty let down with the game. It felt like more time was spent/wasted on the voice actors horrible, horrible scripts and not enough time building a better gameplay experience. The pathetic lack of enemies and bosses. The stages that felt emptier than they should have been. The piss poor enemy spawn time for the many later levels that drag out to a painful degree.
Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed had potential. It had an insane amount of potential, but sadly most of that was squandered. It played like the game designers phoned this game in. Enemies don’t get harder, they just hit harder and have more hit points. I have to once again mention the pathetic amount of enemies that are in the game. Levels don’t get more challenging, they just tend to take longer. The difficulty that gets added are enemies who use cheap attacks that are almost not readable. This makes playing the game about repetitive positioning in and out of the action over and over again. The more you play Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed the more you see the wasted potential and think of all the other games that have done it better.
That said there was something about this game that made me want to finish it. (Well mostly finish it.) Made me want to level up to max and dominate the main game. There was a certain bit of fun to be found bringing my level 99 Vert to destroy the campaign levels. There was a good bit of challenge to taking my low level characters and use them to beat quest areas that were ten levels above them. Having to be extra careful, having to switch at the just the right time.
Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed by itself is a pretty underwhelming experience by itself. But if you are the sort of player who makes their own challenge and wants to play things on their own terms then maybe you can squeeze some enjoyment out of this game like I did. Also Damnit, I paid a good amount of money for this game and I wanted to try as hard as I could to get my monies worth.
This is not worth it’s asking price of $29.99. It’s to unpolished, it’s to lackluster, it’s to phoned in. Grab this on sale or you are going to be very, very disappointed.
Agree? Disagree? Write your comments below
- Single player campaign
- Steam Achievements
- Full Controller Support
- Steam Trading Cards
- I’m not promoting this mess.