GameplayEditThis game is in essence a story based adventure game, in the sense that much of the game is spent reading the on-screen text, as in a visual novel. However, the game also features 3D style dungeon exploration, similar to recent Final Fantasy titles. Like most JRPGs, the dungeons feature random encounters, treasure chests, and various obstacles. These obstacles can be cleared by utilizing the various unique dungeon skills each character of Neptune's party has.
During battle, the current turn for characters and enemies are displayed at the top right, as well as upcoming turns. When it is Neptune's turn or any other supporting character's turn, they are given a set amount of AP (Ability Points), which determines how many moves they can make. Each different move consumes a set amount of AP. There is a Sword move, which has the character slash an enemy with their weapon, a Gun move, which has the character shoot the enemy with their weapon (or in Neptune and IF's case, a gun), a Physical move, which has the character go straight up to an enemy and punch and kick them, and the Defend command, which consumes no AP, but puts the character in a defending state and ends their turn.
When using a Gun move, the circle next to the Combo Counter on the right displays your current bullet. When the game starts, you will have a default bullet. However, as the game progresses, Neptune and the party will obtain other types of bullets, and you can switch between them during combat with the shoulder buttons. Different bullet types usually have special effects or elemental powers.
Each enemy has a GP gauge, as well as an HP gauge. When that enemy is attacked, the GP gauge will decrease. When the gauge is empty, Guard Break mode will activate. During this time, that enemy will receive more damage than usual until the GP gauge refills.
What sets this game apart from other RPG's is the Game Disc System, which allows Neptune and company to perform various special actions through special combos, accessible and editable through the pause menu. Neptune can summon characters from classic video games by initating the combo assigned to that game disc, and it will inflict higher than normal damage. Neptune can also activate a transformation state, which is called HDD (Hard Drive Divinity). This transforms Neptune into a much more powerful state, and she will gain access to two additional moves, both of which deal massive damage. Although the default transformation is Purple Heart, Neptune can also install other game discs to change her transformation. Finally, she can also use the game discs to summon an image, which appears on-screen, then inflicts higher than normal damage on the opponent. Although the default image is blank, you can change the image by using pictures in your PlayStation 3 photo library.
While you're viewing the region screen, you can shop for additional weapons and accessories, transfer to another region through a dungeon excursion, view any side quests (which don't have voice acting), and enter dungeons.
The game takes place in the world of Gamindustri, which is further divided into four regions: Planeptune, Lastation, Lowee, and Leanbox. Each region is completely different from the others, except the building known as the Basilicom, a place where the residents of the region worship the goddess. The region's goddess also resides here. Planeptune is representation of a modern-futuristic city, with skyscrapers and various streets. Neptune's adventure starts here, and she is also the goddess of this region, though she initially doesn't remember. Lastation is a steampunk-style city, and is heavily industrialized. This region is guarded by Noire (Black Heart). The name is a reference to the PlayStation, most likely the PlayStation 3, due to the general coloring of the area, which is black. Lowee is a frosty, forest style city, and the heavy snow makes the entire region look white from above, which is a representation of the Wii's color. This region is guarded by Blanc (White Heart). The name is also a reference to the Wii. Leanbox is a very rocky and mountainous area, with green grass at the base of the mountains; a representation of the Xbox 360's color. This region is guarded by Vert (Green Heart).
Players control Neptune, one of four goddesses who is involved in a series of events known to many as the Console Wars. The story begins when the four goddesses are fighting each other, but this results in nothing after a while, so Black Heart comes up with a quick solution, which is picking which one of the four to remove from the battle right now. At this point, they all start to figure this out, and it eventually ends up that Neptune is chosen by majority. Unfortunately, Neptune bragged earlier that she could single-handedly defeat the other three goddesses, which results in a 1 vs. 3 fight against Neptune. Ironically, Neptune is defeated, and blacks out, only to begin dreaming. Through this dream, Histoire contacts Neptune, but Neptune is still unsure of what to do, even though Histoire tried to explain the situation to her. The dream ends, and Neptune wakes up in Compa's house, where Compa introduces herself and explains that she crash landed in front of her house, so she took the knocked-out Neptune in. After introducing herself, Neptune and Compa notice Neptune's wounds, and Compa attempts to bandage them up, though a struggle was involved, because Compa used too much bandage. After Neptune is wrapped up with bondages, as she called them (due to the fact the bandages were on so tight), she reveals that she can't remember anything up to that point, which leads Compa to believe that Neptune is suffering from amnesia. Compa then explains that there are powerful monsters running loose, but this only encourages Neptune to go hunt them, so Compa goes and finds an easy dungeon for them to fight in. Histoire (nicknamed Histy by Neptune) guides them through, and they eventually come up to the boss. However, out of nowhere, Neptune activates her HDD and transforms into Purple Heart, which freaks out Compa, and subsequently defeats the boss. They eventually agree that the transformation was just a coincidence, and exit the dungeon. Eager for more, Neptune goes into another dungeon, followed by Compa, to fight more monsters. While walking around, the two of them literally bump into IF. She explains that she is looking for treasure, so Neptune invites IF (nicknamed Iffy) to join them. She agrees to stick around for this one dungeon, but ends up staying. After clearing the dungeon, IF suggests that Neptune should go to the Basilicom so they can receive permission to travel to other landmasses to fight more monsters.
Neptune (Purple Heart)
Voiced by: Rie Tanaka (Japanese), Melissa Fahn (English)
The main character of the game, she is the goddess representing Planeptune. She loses her memory after being defeated by White Heart, Green Heart, and Black Heart, and crash lands near Compa's house. She tends to be a character with high energy and a childish personality, and likes to give nicknames to people. She also likes to jump headfirst into danger. However, she seems to be completely different when she transforms into Purple Heart, taking on a much more serious character. Also, unlike the other goddesses, who only change their appearance during HDD, Neptune's voice and personality also seems to change as well. Her name seems to be a reference to the cancelled Sega Neptune. Her dungeon ability is Hammer Crush, which allows Neptune to destroy breakable obstacles. Her default weapon is a sword, and uses a gun for her Gun command. Compa calls her Nep-Nep.
Voiced by: Kanako Sakai (Japanese), Cristina Vee (English)
She is a girl who attends nursing school, and is the first character to join Neptune's party. After Neptune crash lands in front of her house, she tends to her wounds with bandages, though it takes some effort. She seems to be pretty shy, though she will do anything to help Neptune, and in the sequel, Nepgear. She occasionally makes allusions to medical conditions. Her dungeon ability is Monster Call, which can summon bosses at certain points. Her default weapon is a giant syringe, which acts as a sword and a gun. Her name is derived from Compile Heart, the company who developed the game. She also wears the Compile Heart logo.
Voiced by: Kana Ueda (Japanese), Kate Higgins (English)
She is a guild member, and joins Neptune's party after they bump into her during their second dungeon excursion. She seems to be a headstrong character, and likes to accomplish the important things first. She's also very attached to reality, though she will break the fourth wall when she gets too angry. Her dungeon ability is Treasure Search, which reveals hidden treasure chests within a given area. Her default weapons are a set of claws, and she also carries a gun for her Gun command. Her name is derived from the initials for Idea Factory, evident by the IF logos on her clothing. Idea Factory is the parent company of Compile Heart.
Voiced by: Mika Kanai (Japanese), Stephanie Sheh (English)
Although her true form is a tome, she was able to transform into a fairy-like being when Neptune broke the seal on her. Early in the game, Histoire contacts Neptune through her head, and Neptune is the only one who can hear her. She also assists the player by providing the tutorial; Neptune reveals this at the end of the first dungeon. In the sequel, she becomes the Oracle of Planeptune and serves as CPU in Neptune's place.
Voiced by: Kaori Mizuhashi (Japanese), Michelle Ruff (English)
Self proclaimed hero who travels Gamindustri to fight evil, though she's more referred to as a lunatic. Constantly described as flat-chested, which more often than not, makes her angry. She also talks about justice very much, and constantly calls herself the heroine. Her name is derived from NIS America (NISA for short), the company who released the game. She has large blue hair and sports a red scarf, in a similar fashion to a Prinny. Her hair is tied back into a ponytail with a hair clip resembling the NIS logo. Her name is Nippon Ichi in Japan, which is the official name of NIS in Japan. She will become playable through the Nisa Battle Ticket, purchasable for $1.99 through the PlayStation Network.
Voiced by: Natsuko Kuwatani (Japanese), Cassandra Morris (English)
She is a young girl who creates items, usually out of very strange ingredients, and sells them. She travels the world to become a master alchemist, since she wasn't very good at the art when she was young. The manual describes her as having a love for money, but knows how to handle it. Along with Nisa, she will join Neptune's party through the Gust Battle Ticket for $1.99. Her name is derived from Gust Corporation, who releases their games under the NIS America label. Her outfit resembles that of a character in the Atelier series produced by Gust. She also claims to hail from Salburg, a location within the Atelier universe.
Noire (Black Heart)
Voiced by: Asami Imai (Japanese), Erin Fitzgerald (English) She is a goddess who represents Lastation, which comes from the PlayStation 3, and is a very individual character. She seems to like to perform on her own, and does things on her own time, but she is quite forgiving and fair. She also seems to have a strained relationship with Neptune, but still operates as an individual. During the story, Neptune finds out that she is giving up her position as goddess. She and Neptune are also rivals, as are Nepgear and UNI in the sequel.
Vert (Green Heart)
Voiced by: Rina Satou (Japanese), Tara Platt (English)
She is a goddess who represents Leanbox, which is a play on the Xbox 360. She is quite intelligent, but is not as strong as she thinks she is. She also doesn't know as much about Arfoire's monsters as the others. In addition, she seems to be slightly arrogant, and Neptune describes her as stubborn. She and Blanc appear to be rivals, partly due to breast size.
Blanc (White Heart)
Voiced by: Kana Asumi (Japanese), Wendee Lee (English)
She is a goddess who represents Lowee, which in itself, is a direct reference to the Wii. Her appearance doesn't exactly match her personality, as she tends to get very loud and angry very easily, and this short temper causes her to take her rage out on others, usually Neptune or the other goddesses. She also has a foul mouth, which can easily be demonstrated in almost any conversation involving her, even during the boss fight with her. Shares a rivalry with Vert, partly because of differing breast sizes, since she is also occasionally described as flat-chested.
Voiced by: Chiaki Takahashi (Japanese), Laura Post (English)
The main antagonist of the game, she will not stop until she defeats the four goddesses and takes over Gameindustri once and for all. She wears very gothic style clothes; black, with a splash of purple. Her hat carries a thorned rose as well. She also has purple hair, which looks similar to Neptune's hair. She used to be acquainted with Historie, but when they split Gameindustri into four parts, Arfoire turned against her. Her name is based off the R4, a Nintendo DS game card which allows the owner to download games, music, and movies for free.
Voiced by: nao (Japanese), Mela Lee (English)
An additional character, her in-game events can be purchased at the PlayStation Network. Her name is directly derived from 5pb., the music company nao belongs to. In the sequel, she appears as a big pop star in Leanbox, who performs concerts to keep people from converting to ASIC. the According to Cave, her real name is Lyrica, and is very shy to people while offstage. She wears the 5pb. Records logo on her necklace. Because nao speaks Japanese, her in-game events come in English subtitles only.
Voiced by: Kanae Itō
An additional character, her in-game events can be purchased, as in 5pb's case. Her name is directly derived from Red Entertainment. She is a young lesbian girl who constantly travels the world in search of a wife, eventually running into IF and declaring her first wife.
Various different types of DLC exist for Hyperdimension Neptunia, including character, quest, and item downloads. In total, $98 of DLC was released for the game in the United States.
The game received average to negative scores. GameShark gave the game a D, stating that "the concept for the game is at least interesting", but also stated that "Hyperdimension Neptunia is a mediocre action role-playing game that cannot stand on its own two feet." Eurogamer gave it a 2 out of 10, stating that it is "a sexist, senseless, and ultimately stupid cultural curio." Bailey from GameSpot gave the game a 3/10, criticizing mostly the oversexualized character design and "truly awful music". On the other hand, IGN gave the game a 6.0 out of 10, praising its decent length and lack of need for level grinding, but criticizing the game's easiness and music. The Crowbar of Examiner.com gave the game a 9 out of 10, stating it was a breath of fresh air to the RPG genre.
The game's name is derived from the scrapped Sega Neptune which combined the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and Sega 32X into one unit, originally scheduled for release in 1994 or 1995 before the project was dropped after the release of the Sega Saturn. The Sega Neptune was subsequently used as an April Fools' Day prank by Electronic Gaming Monthly in its April 2001 issue which said that Sega had found an old warehouse full of old Sega Neptune prototypes and would be selling them online at $50 off its original intended retail price of $200.
If this etymology is valid, the character of Neptune could be said to represent a hypothetical seventh-generation console made by Sega, had they not exited the hardware market. This would fit with her amnesia and with the other characters (i.e. consoles) shunning her, and might be an implication that the writers of this game have a penchant for Sega.