Release Date
21/3/2016
Platform
PC
Publisher / Developer
Idea Factory International, Inc. / Tamsoft
Genre
Action RPG
Player(s)
Single-player
Rating
ESRB T

The franchise’s most recent port to the PC, Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is a must play for fans of the Neptunia series. Developed by Tamsoft, the company that brought to life the Senran Kagura games, Neptunia U keeps the fun aspects present in all Neptunia games while incorporating new elements in this titillating spin-off.

Steam describes the series:
“Choose your tag team and rip through massive hordes of enemies with exciting aerial and ground-based combos. Look out, though―take too many hits and your clothes and defense will end up shredded!”

The spin-off takes place in a peaceful alternate timeline after the Console War of the main series where the CPUs and CPU candidates improve their public profiles through the reports of journalists Dengekiko and Famitsu. The main story revolves around these girls performing missions in order to achieve that goal. With Dengekiko and Famitsu now on center stage, we see how they interact with the established franchise characters. As usual, comedy plays a huge role in conversations with no lack of fourth wall-breaking. Blanc’s scenes were especially hilarious as she attempts to create a public personality unlike her true self, causing embarrassment to herself along with inciting teasing from other CPUs and even her little sisters.

The most noticeable aspect of Neptunia U is how different the gameplay is compared to previous installments. Turn-based gameplay is no more, and is instead replaced with a beat ‘em up style with characters battling hordes of familiar monsters at a given moment. It comes as no surprise seeing that Tamsoft is the developer of the spin-off. It also should not be a surprise that sexy costume breaks are another aspect of the franchise’s new gameplay style.

By killing monsters, medals are earned which can be redeemed for boosting stats and obtaining new accessories and weapons, a replacement for shops in the previous games. Accessories along with optional cheats can also be obtained in the Gameindustri Gauntlet and the Neptral Tower, which are unlocked when further progressing into the game. Nonetheless, there are not many to collect, thus character customisation is quite limited.

Also limited are the maps and even the objectives of the missions. The main story is played though less than a dozen different maps with the mission objectives either being killing particular bosses, killing a certain number of monsters, or collecting a certain amount of items. However, the game’s simplicity should not be taken for granted as missions may be too difficult if characters are too low leveled. However, levels can be raised quite easily, maxing a character to level 99 at a pretty quick speed. Even with a max-leveled character though, there are still challenges as some missions near the end of the game have a recommended level of 99.

Neptral Tower is where most completionists will spend their time in order to collect more medals and raise levels and lily ranks, not mentioning aiming to play with all 10 characters through the 50 floors.

Verdict
Though Neptunia U may not be the best installment of the franchise, it is still a very welcome addition. Admittedly, gameplay gets quite tedious with the constant slaying of hordes, but it is a game that will never tire in the long-run. The main story can be beaten in a few hours, but there is never a lack of great comedy in between. Remember to also take advantage of the viewer option. It is there for a reason, especially for situations where clothes are constantly getting ripped.
8.5
VERY GOOD