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Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection Review (PSVita)

Perfect in very few ways

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I’ve followed the paths of many vastly watered down professions and passed on the opportunity to become at reputable truck driver, agricultural farmer or neighbourhood grass mower all in favor of this one true calling – to manage and train a bunch of transforming animé girls into hard-hitting J-Pop idols. Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection gave me that role. But it wasn’t what I expected it to be.

While the series went on to produce several other RPGs in relatively quick succession, it wasn’t until the television anime show aired that we understood the franchise to really have the potential to be something other than a string of battle brawlers.

Japan can personify just about anything with either a high-school girl or a delightfully colourful anime rendition of another high-school girl – and Hyperdimension Neptunia did so in a way that now attempts to challenge the likes of Vocaloid and THE iDOLM@STER in giving players the chance to ‘manage’ the career of one of Japan’s thousands of aspiring ‘idols’.

That’s get this out of the way first. Don’t expect to be grinding your way to the big leagues of combat stats and blowing your rival idols away with lasers during their hard-earned performances in front of millions of horrified ‘fans’. You’ll be grinding, but certainly not in the way you’re used to training the girls of the ‘Gamindustri’ world. Instead, be prepared to simply spend an entire in-game day by selecting “Vocal Training”, waiting for the results and then hitting the sack.

The aim of the game here is to ‘Produce Perfection’, and that can’t be achieved simply by dressing the girls up in adorable outfits, sending them onto the stage and locking the camera onto their face while they prance around under a spot light. Sure, that segment puts on a nice little show, but there’s hard work to be done before that’ll yield chart-topping success stories.

Selecting one of the 4 major heroine to ‘produce’ is the first step in propelling these girls ahead of their rival performers ‘MOB48’ – a clear pun on one of Japan’s most prominent idol troupes. After that, you’re free to spend the days as you see fit. Each day comes and goes after a single round of training a girl in one of her many stats and traits.

Trust, knowledge, vocals, rhythm and expression all need to be improved upon while bigging up their ‘guts’ and managing their stress levels to keep the juices flowing. With a few ‘dating sim’ elements thrown into the mix, you’re able to elect days to spending time with the whole cast; relishing in their moé appeal and increasing the ‘affection’ gauge (if that’s what you’re into).

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The be-all and end-all lies with the crafty planning and execution of these training programs. You’ll need to manage their health to get better results of their training. Effectively incorporating the fabled 5 ‘P’s of performance while being called a pervert by anyone who sees you messing with the camera angles during the concerts. That’s 6 ‘P’s. Six.

Outside Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection‘s near endless grind of single button gameplay comes the actual performances the girls are working to deliver. With MOB48 stealing the group’s ‘Shares’ and claiming nearly every spot on the weekly and monthly idol charts, your stats come into effect in numerous ways when putting on a show.

Prior to each performance, you’re able to tweak the stage effects across 3 slots and blasting out the visual eye-candy on separate cooldowns when the fans cheer in random sequences. Weaving effects, camera angles and even a transformation into a character’s ‘HDD’ form during key parts of the chosen songs yields a better chart result when the rankings come rolling around. A disappointing standing in the listings can, and will, put a downer on spirits; leaving the days of de-stressing and working up courage of the poor girls in ruins.

Even still, boiling down to luck of the draw, days can pass by before you’re able to train the budding performers how you planned mostly down to randomly occuring events interrupting your flow. While the repetitiveness of burning away in-game days with mundane tasks that really shouldn’t have you witnessing sunsets, the short moments outlining their gradual progression seemed to be enough to have me mashing the X button through at least 65 days worth of virtual girl management.

There’s certainly something to the genre that can make it over to a western audience, but it was more than a little strange to hear the English voice actor, Wendee Lee, voicing a character with a brash personality incredibly similar to that of one of her co-workers on one of her more reputable works…

TheGamersHub Score
Reviewer: Josh Brown
5.5
10
+ Pros

Costume changes and dance routines will certainly be up someone's alley. Especially for established fans.

Character dialogue/bonding can be a good laugh at times. Reoccuring top grade voice actors for both vocal tracks.

- Cons

Mundane gameplay where all but one task doesn't even constitute as much as a mini-game for players.

Random events can derail work that already felt monotonous to achieve.

Performances lack any real depth. Feels like they're just there for the eye-candy spectacle.

Saddening lack of songs.

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