Hyperdevotion Noire PC Review
Late last year, Idea Factory International announced during their annual press event in San Francisco that they would be releasing Hyperdevotion Noire, their tactical RPG spin-off to the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, for PC in a move that falls in line with their recent attempts at basically putting their entire catalog on to the platform as a new means of revenue. So far, so good, as they have seen a lot of success on that front as they indicated in the interview I had with them in December.
Fast forward four months and here we are with another PC port for the series. Since I already covered the original PlayStation Vita version of the game for the site in the past (which I highly recommend reading), I will be focusing on the particular benefits that higher grade hardware has produced for the title. I was already a big fan of the original release, speaking as someone who holds a lot of appreciation for the tactical RPG genre, and the player experience has mostly been improved upon here.
I noticed immediately that the game appeared a lot sharper than it appeared on the handheld. That's plenty obvious considering the Vita's maximum resolution is only 960 x 544 (unless you hook it up to the PlayStation TV where it can get up to a 1080i resolution). I mention this because Hyperdevotion offers a wealth of resolution offers when you get into the configuration menu. Here is what it looks like:
Keep in mind of course that the resolution choices change based on the hardware that you have - I have seen other people posting shots of the game in 1920 x 1080 at 120Hz. Other options include being able to toggle anti-aliasing, detailed shadows, an object's edge display style (I have no idea what this means) You can also choose whether to display the game in full screen, windowed, or in a borderless window.
That's pretty much it in terms of customization. While it may seem a bit paltry, this is actually a step up from prior port releases by Idea Factory where you could only change the resolution and the window size - all of the Re;Birth games had this problem. Fairy Fencer F for the PC wasn't much better.
To be fair, I don't see any real reason to go much further than that since this isn't some graphical showcase that you want to use as a benchmark. While the game looks kind of plain in comparison to other current releases, it's nice being able to enjoy Hyperdevotion Noire in all of its bright and colorful glory. Don't have a powerful PC? The game can be scaled down to run in a 320 x 200 resolution - it's flexible.
I won't say that Hyperdevotion Noire handles the leap to 1080P particularly well. While the game made the most of the small real estate it had in the past, the visual shortcuts that were made become glaringly obvious on the PC during gameplay.
Even with all of the graphical options turned on, the character models lack detail along with the bland environments around them. The special moves also don't look as impressive as they did on the handheld. Thankfully, everything outside of combat including the 2D portraits and cutscenes are bolstered from the bump in specs, and seeing the game run on a bigger screen is a wonderful thing.
While the issues I had with the original game subsist, Hyperdevotion Noire on the PC offers a nice all-around package thanks to its inclusion of Steam Achievements and Trading Cards, some free DLC, and graphical options. It does a good job in shaking up expectations for the series and is arguably the best off-shoot the publisher has been able to produce (thanks in no small part to Sting Entertainment).
If you're a fan of the strategy RPG genre and love anime, or twin-tailed girls, and can put up with a Self-Insert protagonist, you should definitely consider picking this title up.