Last year, I was unceremoniously greeted with the unhappy news that an old acquaintance of mine by the name of Chris had passed away in his apartment — where he slowly decomposed for about a week before someone noticed they hadn’t seen him. Due to his highly autistic behavior and noticeable lack of social skills (to say nothing of his personal hygiene), he wasn’t considered to be a very popular fellow amongst his peers. He and I, however, were able to communicate when I was younger because of our shared interests such as the British sci-fi comedy program, Red Dwarf, and the occasional anime title.
He loved the Japanese culture (well, what he understood of it, at least), and held anime and videogames above all; things that generally made me just kind of shrug my shoulders at first and say “Um, yeah, OK, dude…” and—as the years went by—inevitably caused me to get a quizzical, flabbergasted expression on my face and politely shout out questions like “What is up with the Japanese, Chris?” As inescapable as Fate itself, our paths began to part as I went on to try to live what I was fairly certain was something at least half resembling a life of my own, until my contact with the poor lad demised entirely; coincidentally, my interest in anime dissolved into nothingness as well — while Chris remained in his own little, happy, eternal teenaged-boy mind.
Though the belated word about his demise pained me deeply, I can’t help but feel that Chris would have fallen completely in love with the latest Japanese RPG game, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. And that is quite possibly the nicest way I can put that. No disrespect intended to my late compadre, but Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is the kind of game that only he could have appreciated. For me, it was an entire 50GB disc full of pure hell. And that’s mostly because it’s a game that appears to be aimed primarily at girls. Again, no impertinence is to be aimed in the direction of Chris here: he simply liked that kind of stuff. Whereas, I—as you probably have deduced—do not.
And I am most certainly not a fan of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. Heck, I can’t even pronounce it! Thankfully, I was not alone in my précis of the game: my own teenaged offspring repeatedly kept trying to convince me to shut it off whilst I repeatedly pressed the X button over and over like a disgruntled caveman in order to make my way through the title’s never-ending barrage of dialogue screens, and I frequently kept pulling them by their collars as they less-than-coyly attempted to vamoose from the room so as to avoid being visually and aurally tormented by the sights and sounds the Japanese-made RPG had to offer. If I had to suffer, they did, too, dammit!
It was in fact odd that neither of them had any sort of interest in it, either. Normally, my daughter is eager to pounce upon anything RPG and/or Japanese in nature — a trait that seems all too familiar to me. In this instance, she was bored, outraged, and staggered by the mundane, repetitive nature of the game. The fact that some of the characters caused us to shout out “Pedobear!” surely did not help the enjoyment we so clearly were not experiencing any.
So, anyhoo, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory—the third (!) in a series that I am grateful to not have been familiar with prior to this chance encounter (my editor offered, I accepted — not having so much as an inkling what I was getting into)—takes place in an alternate reality of the year 1989, where our heroine Neptune gets sucked into one of those funky time/space rift thingies and has to deal with a pending war between Gamindustri nations Lowee and Leanbox. Honestly, it sounds a lot more interesting than it really is. For the most part, all Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory appeared to be to me is one dialogue scene after another (I have never been so grateful to see a “Skip” option in all my life!) interlaced with occasional, short, battle sequence.
Like all of the other (better) single-player RPGs out there, this game gives you the option of choosing combo attacks against a variety of goofy-looking foes when you’re roaming the surprisingly un-dungeon-like dungeon levels. Life in any of the game’s cities, on the other hand, is quite disappointing: it’s usually just a single snapshot of a town square, where you can gain entrance to certain marked buildings by scrolling over to them and pressing X. There are also a lot of strange characters sitting in the square (another resembling Pedobear, I might add: what is up with the Japanese, Chris?), who blab incoherent things which my children and I concluded were supposed to be funny after much deliberation (and a fair amount of crying, I might add).
Naturally, some of the people you encounter will aid your quest — or quests, as there are a lot of side tasks to be taken care of in this weird, weird world. There are a lot of other odds and ends a truly devoted RPG-loving individual might find somewhat interesting. The bottom line, however, is that Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is really just a “girls’ game.” The over-saturation of all things glittery and sparkly-like, as well as the employment of god-awful J-pop music en masse should convince you of that right off the bat. As such, I recommend this one only for really young ladies who don’t mind being perplexed any more than they already are in life. And a few autistic adult males, too, of course.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence, Language, Partial Nudity, and Sexual Themes.