High concept PlayStation 3 JRPG sequel Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 arrives in Europe on 24th February, publisher Nippon Ichi has announced.
Hyperdimension Neptunia is the latest member of a small family of releases to choose the videogame industry for a theme. Unlike iPhone app-du-jour Game Dev Story or SEGA's eccentric Segagaga, however, you are not charged with steering the fortunes of a virtual games company. Instead Idea Factory's idiosyncratic role-playing game offers, ostensibly at least, an abstract, metaphorical take on the videogame business, featuring game consoles personified as warring goddesses that vie for dominance over the land of Gameindustri.
It's a ripe premise, but almost immediately whatever metaphor the developer was aiming for falls apart. Despite lines of dialogue that poke fun at JRPG conventions ("I'm apparently an amnesiac, so I need you to explain stuff to me in a manner convenient for the players to understand," says your character, Neptune) it's never quite clear who or what is the primary subject of the satire.
Rather, ideas and conventions from videogames are invoked with no rhyme or reason (from Princess Pear, a character who is running from castle to castle in order to evade her rescuer, to a Nintendo DS-style piracy device). The writers grin idiotically as they rely upon our familiarity with their reference points to make the game funny and interesting, inviting us to join in gags that lack bite and, more often than not, a punch line.