All the CPUs do is take on quest after quest. How about we insert some excitement into this with some articles by a couple top journalists? Sure, as long as I can beat up monsters! That’s Hyperdimension Neptunia U Action Unleashed in a nutshell.
I’ll admit, at first I was a bit hesitant to play this game. I hadn’t gotten into hack ‘n slash games too much. Then I looked a little deeper and just told myself, alright you know what? I want to play this. Let’s do it. And let’s just say I ended up loving it.
Dengekiko and Famitsu are two journalists looking to get a big scoop on the CPUs and the CPU candidates. They decide to go watch them on a quest, one watching the CPUs and one watching the candidates, and write articles on them. This turns into them joining up to work on an even bigger article, with more quests magically starting to appear after a dry spot. The two journalists are pretty much parodies of two of the biggest gaming magazines in Japan, and they even play the parts in some of their dialogue.
The core story of Action Unleashed isn’t that long – you’ll likely finish it in around 12-15 hours. Yes this includes doing all the story quests. The bulk of this game exists in the post-game, and especially for completionists within getting the Platinum. All of the quests you do will follow the same basic concepts – either defeat a specific boss enemy (which you typically need to clear out hordes of enemies to get to), defeat all the enemies, or find items. Sometimes the quests will request particular characters, so it’s a good idea to try and practice with playing all 10 characters.
What story does exist in Action Unleashed follows Hyperdimension Neptunia’s core concept of making fun of concepts in gaming. The characters even start to take stabs at concepts within the game, such as the fact the girls’ clothes can rip apart. I found myself laughing quite a bit at the interactions and the story, and really did enjoy it despite the short length.
Action Unleashed really comes down to the actual gameplay though, and that’s where I definitely enjoyed it. Despite never really being too big on hack ‘n slash games (even though I tend to be a “kill all of the things” person while playing), I really did have fun. There’s something really satisfying about being able to go in and just smash enemies to pieces. Even though I mentioned that quests will typically have you doing mostly the same things, there is something extremely satisfying about being able to go in and just demolish everything.
While the game doesn’t have any actual difficulty settings, the difficulty felt like it ramped up nicely as you’re learning the ropes. Once you really start to get used to it you’ll definitely start to find the broken setups. HDD mode is also present in the game and serves to power up your charcters greatly. For the Rom, Ram, and Uni, it also gives them a bit of a different fighting style. Rom and Ram, typically closer range with powerful spells,transform their attack into a long range attack that can really help demolish enemies. For Uni, while her normal attacks can have her flinging bullets everywhere, HDD mode brings them into a more focused area of attack.
Speaking of normal attacks, the game has a few options for attacking. You have your normal attacks, usable with the square button. You’ll likely be using these most of the time. There’s also the strong attack on triangle, which will pound into enemies even more at the cost of ripping your outfit a bit. You also have your special skills which will cost SP. Pretty much every character seems to have one “extremely strong” attack. Funnily enough, I found most of the “strongest” attacks to be the 1 SP ones. More expensive doesn’t always mean better, ‘kay?
Outfit ripping serves a few purposes. The main one is that, should your outfit rip, your stats will increase by quite a bit. However, this comes at the cost of taking more damage from enemies. You’ll be able to unlock a few varieties of the outfits to suit your needs, though. Want a permanently torn outfit? You’ll be able to unlock that. Never want your outfit to tear? You can unlock that too!
Beyond the story are two main modes. There’s the Gameindustri Gauntlet which will pit you against the other girls. You can either choose the lineup or have it random, and you can also choose how difficult it will be. Unless you really want to play on the higher difficulties here, there’s absolutely no benefit to doing so that I found. Well, at least in terms of going for the Platinum.
Then there’s the tower of repetition… I mean Neptral Tower. Get ready to face hordes and hordes of enemies in this tower! This place does prove useful for those aiming for the Platinum, however. It provides an easily farmable place to level up your Lily Ranks – in other words, how friendly the girls are with each other. At certain levels you’ll gain more benefits such as increased experience gain or faster EXE Gauge (which controls when you can go into HDD).
Hyperdimension Neptunia U Action Unleashed is a pretty good game overall, I found. The dialogue will leave you laughing and it’s just plain fun to beat up hordes of enemies. The quests can get extremely repetitive though and will leave you wishing for a larger variety. The short story mode may also be a turn off to many, but I found it to work just fine. It accomplished what it set out to do and that’s what matters.
Hyperdimension Neptunia U Action Unleashed Review Score
I would like to thank Idea Factory for providing me with a copy of the game for review.
You can purchase the game now on Amazon.