The Hyperdimension Neptunia series has been around North America since 2011 and has had three PS3 games released under its name. This time Idea Factory has brought the goddesses to the PS Vita but in a much different type of game. For those of you who have never played the Hyperdimension series, let me give you a brief overview: it mocks the current events in the gaming industry. There are four goddesses, each of whom represents one of the big three and another who represents Sega. They fight each-other, trying to take control and seize the most shares, making in the process, a commentary on the gaming industry as a whole.
Hyperdimension is a very niche series, and after playing Producing Perfection, it’s made me want to look at the main games in it. At the beginning of this title, Producing Perfection lets you know that it’s an offshoot and does not affect the three main PS3 games. This is a breath of fresh air for someone new to the series, and by playing, it could possibly get you hooked on the series. This incarnation of Hyperdimension though is less RPG and more American Idol simulation, for lack of a better term. So don’t buy this game thinking it’s a traditional RPG, while it has some of those elements, there are not battles to win or loot to sell.
The game has four modes that you can tinker around in: Producer Mode, Unlimited Concert Mode, Viewer Mode, and Config Mode. The most important one is Producer Mode, it’s the main story mode where you are the producer of one of the Goddesses, and you must train her to become the best pop idol in all of Gameindustril. This is where you will spend the majority of your time. As for the rest, Ultimate Concert Mode is where you can replay concerts with any Goddesses and with any unlockables you have gathered. Viewer Mode allows you to change the Goddesses costumes and Config Mode is the most boring as it only allows you to change volume and setting. I don’t know why the game touted all these modes at the outset, but the most used ones will be Producer Mode and Unlimited Concert Mode.
When you meet the Goddesses of this world you learn that MOB48 is the biggest pop idol group in Gameindustril and their company MOBusiness is making sure that their songs are the only ones played on the airwaves. The four Goddesses or CPU’s have taken note of this due to the fact that the people’s faith in CPU’s has diminished, while their faith in the Idols has grown. The four CPU’s, Neptune, Noire, Vert and Lowee, then come together to hatch a plan to topple MOB48, and get their shares back. The shares, which in our world would be console adopters, are important to the CPU’s seeing as they each represent a console and they want as many shares towards their console as possible.
The CPU’s decide to become Idols in hopes of regaining their shares and the faith of the people. The four of them use their combined power to bring a common gamer, you, to their world to be one of their producers. Before you are zapped into their world you get to chose who you want to be producer for, luckily once you beat one of the CPU’s story you can go back and play as the other three, so pick whoever you like. Once in their world you start your life as a producer and get the CPU on track to become the top idol in Gameindustril.
When you finally start your Idol on her track to stardom, you are given an finite amount of days to do so, so you must be very analytical in what you want your Idol to do. During your day you are allowed to pick one thing to do from a category of five things: Work, Lesson, Relax, Move and Concert. The Lesson option allows you to strengthen an ability for your Idol, for instance she can take singing lessons, which will increase her vocal stats, or dance classes that will increase her rhythm.
The Work option gets your Idol out in the street making fans and getting publicity by going to the recording studio to record a new song, or by doing an ad campaign, all of which garners more fans and increases your Idol’s song position on the charts.Relax helps you blow off stress by taking a vacation, or romantically going out with the Idol and if the Idol hits 100% in their stress meter the game is over, so you have to keep a close eye on that. Relax also gives you the option to make alliances with the other 4 CPU’s, you can befriend them and then you can ask them to become a duo, or even a trio. The Move option allows you to travel to another one of the countries, you can travel from Lastation to Lowee to try to take away fans from Lowee’s CPU.
Then there is Concert. This is the main focus of all your trials and tribulations and once you acquire enough ‘Guts’ through Work and Lessons, you can put on a concert. The Concert controls are pretty simple, you use the two analog sticks to control the camera that is sending your Idol across the airwaves. This is the only real problem I had with the controls; I had difficultly getting the camera directly on my Idols face and having it do nice birds eye view shots. This could have been a problem with me, but I wanted to throw the caveat out there, it can be frustrating.
Other than that you use the three face buttons to set off certain pyrotechnics during the show, the trick is to wait for the crowd to cheer for you to set them off so that you get the maximum number points during the concert. Before the show begins you can customize many aspects of the show and throughout you get to unlock stages that you can perform on. You can also unlock new songs to perform, but I found that you should stick with the same song until you hit number one, and you can unlock costume pieces that you can adorn your Idol with. Concert is the main focus of the game, and it is done quite well, other than that pesky camera.
The graphics and sound of Producing Perfection are done very well. The main character models are all very unique and just shine off your Vita screen. The concerts are also done well, the songs are catchy, and the graphics, while a little blocky at times, still look great as you get your Idol to sing and dance all over the stage. The voice over actresses do a great job making each CPU unique and fun to engage with. After beating Vert’s Idol tale I started with Noire’s and the difference in characters is amazing and very well done.
Sadly all of these positives do not take away from the fact that the game is insanely repetitive, you’ll get bored at some points when you have long stretches of days where you only Work and Learn. To quell that boredom however, the game is extremely short. I finished Vert’s story in one sitting and got the best ending for her. So if you play through all 4 CPU’s stories, you’d have the game completely finished in about 4 days.
The game does deserve a look though, it is very unique, very well done, and very fun, before the repetitive sets in. If you are looking for something you’ve never played before, or are a huge fan of the Hyperdimension series, take a look at this game, it will be enough to tide you over for the next Hyperdimension instalment on the Vita.