Neptunia PP Review
Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection represents the first time an idol simulation game has found it way to the West - a little surprising, given how extremely popular the genre is over in Japan - chalk it up to cultural differences, I suppose. Based on the success of series such as Project Diva f and other super niche titles that may have only a few years ago been an isolated fad, it seems that now more than ever people on the other side of the pond look to be more accepting and arguably inviting to new experiences. Does Neptunia PP offer a good taste about what the genre has to offer us? Yes and no.
The story in Neptunia PP is as boilerplate as you would expect. The four CPU Goddesses - Neptune, Noire, Blanc, Vert, are enjoying a time of comfort and luxury, running their nations with utmost pride, or in the case of Neptune, having fun all day and taking as many naps as possible. The life and blood of the world of Gameindustri revolves around the concept of Shares - the more Shares a CPU Goddess has, the more powerful they become, and this percentage rises and falls based on the number of worshippers that enlightened being has.
During this time of peace, out from the darkness comes an idol group that quickly reaches extreme popularity. With the attention of the world's citizens focused on the group known as ADK48 (hohoho), the CPUs suddenly find that their number of Shares have dropped dramatically and they find their very existence threatened.
Feeling the pressure, the group of four decide to take on the challenge of becoming idols themselves, though Noire doesn't want to admit she would love to be in the spotlight. Since they didn't want to go into this half-assed, they pool their powers together to try and summon the ultimate Producer to help take them into superstardom and garner as many fans as possible, thus increasing their Shares once more. You take on said role after being ripped from your own dimension and hurled into this unusual land of game culture references and extreme moe.
From there, things sort of play out as you would expect: the main story consists of choosing one of the four CPU Goddesses and helping them climb the music charts right to the very top. On the way, players will be able to train their idol in a variety of stats including voice, rhythm, and expression; participate in different publicity promotions such as the host of a news show, handshaking appearances, and voice recordings; take a vacation to ease burdensome stress; and of course, perform concerts in front of millions of fans.
The entire game is very simple in its delivery, with little need to go into long sessions of grinding like the [email protected] series in order to get the most out of the experience.
For the concerts themselves, there's not a whole lot to see here. There are only five different songs in the game, four of which are a respective CPU's signature song which allows only that individual to transform into their HDD form for a better reaction from the audience.
There is also over a dozen different stage effects that can be chosen from, each with their own benefit that increases the crowd's reaction when they start cheering during the course of a song. Each comes with its own cooldown meter - the higher the percentage, the longer the cooldown is before it can be utilized again.
Players can dress up their idols with different hair colors, clothing, and an assortment of accessories which are unlocked over the course of the game either through story progression or through doing well at events and concerts. The selection is a little on the small side, and they only offer an aesthetic benefit.
It's weird to say that the concerts themselves aren't really the main draw of this game. Sure, they have their own charm and I did really enjoy the songs themselves (which are in Japanese only). In the grand scheme, their only real purpose is to move the plot of the game forward, and that would only serve to detract from what is perhaps the best part of Neptunia PP - the sheer amount of voiced cutscenes.
I mentioned before in my Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory review that I had a much better experience spending time with the characters far more than the gameplay itself which by and large was just a slightly above average at best. You would be hard pressed to find a scene in this game that doesn't feature voice work, allowing myself the pleasure of listening to the excellent English dub that is arguably better than even the Japanese track.
The writing is as good as it ever was, with the same heavy amount of wise-cracking one-liners, charming interactions, and fourth-wall shattering quips, making my time with the game quite enjoyable as a big fan of the series in general.
Overall, Neptunia PP is a pretty short game - you will likely be able to pull everything out of the gameplay department in a single afternoon. However, thanks to the large amount of cutscenes and streamlined idol training mechanics, it serves as a good entry into the genre especially for anyone who is into Hyperdimension Neptunia.
The replayability value only stretches as far as getting through each of the four main characters, and you won't be able to get the True Ending on your first playthrough. I would definitely recommend it to a fan of the series, but for those of you new to the entire experience, you may be better served perhaps waiting until the game goes on sale, but I find it still worth a purchase, and would love to see a sequel with more depth.