Keeping the title shorter, Rebirth:3 is the re-imagining of Neptune’s adventure into a Parallel Gamindustri where CPU Goddesses are made with the use of a specific rare item instead of being born. Throwing her for an even greater loop is the fact that she doesn’t exists in this reality which can freak some people out as she knows all about them and they know nothing about her. Instead of Neptune, Planeptune has another Goddess in the form of Plutia, an airhead with a kind and gentle soul that loves her naps and makes Compa look on the ball until she gets pissed off where she makes ever the scariest of them all Blanc look nice. Making matters worse for our series’ heroine, time moves differently in this dimension, Neptune is no longer a Goddess, and it doesn’t look like she’s going home anytime soon.
As we all know Hyperdimension series is a spoof on the video game industry and the crazy things that it can invent. Having originally come out several years ago before the Virtual Reality craze really started to become a thing again, an almost entirely new introductory section has been made using this and the ideas behind .Hack and Sword Art Online as the theme which starts the ball rolling. Rebirth:3 is more than just a simple revamp as it goes the extra distance to make itself worth the second, third, fourth, or fifth visit a great one depending upon the player. What? It’s only my fourth time “really” going through the third chapter of the Neptunia games.
From the start with the new intro sequence now acting as a tutorial to the game’s basic systems, it is clear that there were several changes that have been implemented across the board as well as some new story content. Some of these are subtle and it took a little bit to realize at the beginning them but the fundamental later game impact was tremendous. The core of the gameplay however has not changed keeping a fair amount of familiarity unlike the original jump from the original first title into the second. Neptune and her party will still be running through various fields and dungeons chasing after monsters that lead into battle sequences on their adventures through this different Gamindustri.
Exploration still works on multiple layers of “explore”, “battle”, and “find stuff”, but the search function previously available since the precursor of Trinity Universe is now gone. Instead of spamming the search button across every square inch of the map, there are instead two separate elements that take its place. The first are invisible coin boxes that are not unlike the ones found in the Super Mario Bros. series. Neptune can jump up and smack these boxes a total of three times for a decent amount of money, materials, and sometimes plans. These can be found anywhere in the fields and dungeons through their shadows on the ground or the slight blurriness against the background. Secondly acting as a replacement to the search function is an even more robust form of Stella’s Dungeon from Rebirth:2.
While I originally enjoyed the Roguelike mini-game of Stella’s Dungeon it did have one little thing that made it fall a bit short of being truly awesome. Originally the party had to go back to a city in order to send Stella back out on an adventure which could sometimes make leaving and going to a dungeon a bit pointless with how short the first few sorties could be. Stella’s adventures can now be fully controlled from the main menu making it much easier in order to organize her explorations. Also throwing in more changes, our Roguelike explorer no longer goes to zones that have been uncovered but instead scaled a giant tower. This tower in a way makes me think of the Neptral Tower from Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed in which it was described as having “no end in sight”. This Tower that Stella explores with the use of equipment and a partner is divided into areas which all have a certain amount of floors to them. The first area contains a total of one hundred while the next area up contains floors two to three-hundred, and so-on.
With Stella’s system now fully controllable from anywhere it is a bit easier to tackle floors in a slower manner while still being efficient about it. Following the rules of Roguelikes, Stella will always start off at level 1. Moving along in this fashion makes it a necessity to “test” the waters every time you send Stella in depending on the grade of equipment that she has access to. Going too far will send her back in defeat with nothing as any items, materials, and equipment that she held are now gone. Better weapons and armor are key alongside a proper companion to make sure that she can bring back items, plans (weapons, armor, dungeon changes, etc), and materials that will help out the party on their quest to once again save the world from the clutches of evil.
Alongside the other changes, gone is the EXE Gauge shared by the party that could be filled up and abused with Cave using her EXE attacks every round while the other girls filled up the meter in Rebirth:2. It worked REALLY well. This Gauge did more than just allow for EXE attacks but also let characters use finisher moves after their combos making it worthwhile to keep that meter stocked up to the required levels of these moves. Now Instead of having a party meter, Rebirth:3 instead moves away from that instead having these based off of each character’s individual SP meters.
This near the start doesn’t seem like much of a change but it starts to make itself much more notable after the finishing moves come into play and the fact that the SP does not fill itself upon leaving a field or a dungeon for the overworld map. Characters now have to fill their own SP meters that are used for Abilities, HDD, and the EXE moves instead of having them separate. This means that older spamming strategies are now no longer usable, but at the same time it also means that a character with great finishing moves doesn’t have to give those up because another one used the EXE Gauge.
Victory was not a short game in any way shape or form… well unless you lost a certain battle in Chapter 6 or didn’t slightly go out of your way for an item or two in which case that’s only about half the adventure. Being much longer than that however, the sheer amount of original content made for a lot to bring over. Taking that into consideration with all of the new features and content added in for Rebirth:3 and it’s hard to believe sometimes that all of it runs so smoothly on this smaller system. Yes the Vita is a powerhouse but getting things to run the way that they do is no small feat and Felistella really hit it out of the park with the revamp of Compile Heart’s creations.
Combining all of these little things really adds up to making an already great game even better. Hyperdimension Neptunia Rebirth:3 V Generation is absolutely solid in making the third chapter’s return onto the PlayStation Vita an amazing one.
Review by Pierre-Yves