Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed – Review
Follow Genre: Brawler
Developer: Tamsoft, Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory
Platform: Vita, PS TV
Tested on: PlayStation TV

Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed – Review

Site Score
Good: Combat is easy and fluent, Graphics, Overall idea
Bad: Too basic, Misses some of the original elements that made the franchise great
User Score
(2 votes)
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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

It has only been a month since the Hyperdimension Neptunia Hypercollection passed the revue and it’s already time for another title that situates itself in the Neptunia universe. This time we swap the PlayStation 3 for its handheld counterpart, the PlayStation Vita, to go on a slightly different adventure as all the ones we’ve had to guide Neptunia through before. Keep your wits about as Gamindustri has sent its two finest reporters, to follow all the CPU’s and candidates, to write the best article(s) a journalist possibly can. Better say cheese before diving into the action.



After all the chaos of the previous games, peace has been restored in Gamindustri. The CPU’s have bonded with each other and even the CPU candidates (their little sisters) are getting along quite nicely. Neptunia still rules Planeptune with Nepgear by her side, Noire and Uni watch over Lastation, Blanc and her twin siblings Ram and Rom take care of Lowee, and last but not least Vert looks after Leanbox on her own. If you were thinking this was an introduction to an inevitable bad event heading their way, you might be a bit disappointed. Because things are going so well, two reporters, Dengekiko and Famitsu, both get assigned to write pieces about the beloved CPU’s and their darling little sisters. Degekiko will write about the goddesses, whilst Famitsu will give some coverage to the little sisters who walk in the shadows of their siblings.

All of this is the base of some good old fashioned rivalry between both journalists, as well as the CPU’s and the little sisters. The CPU’s don’t want to lose their image of being extremely strong, whilst the sisters just want to prove themselves, as being strong and not needing protection all the time. To do so, both parties will have to tackle loads of quests to show exactly how good they are, but it will prove nearly impossible for the reporters to follow them on their adventures without getting hurt in the process. For some reason, their ‘boss’ provides special items, allowing both writers to enter the fray as well. After writing the first hit article things are getting quite strange though, as quests keep coming and more and more monsters are arriving on the scene. For some reason you keep getting more and more work and encounter new types of monsters and you can’t help but wonder if some ‘evil’ presence is causing all the fuss.


The limited story value Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed has to offer is presented by small visual novel-like scenes scattered throughout the main campaign. You often get to see these scenes before or at the end of specific quests or through the ‘City Watch’ option when navigating through the main menu in the Story Mode. Unlike the other Neptunia games, these intermissions only take a few minutes compared to the longer, funny and witty conversations fans of the series have come to know and love. Whilst the humor remains intact, the overall story is quite flimsy and will not offer that much entertainment for those who love a good narrative. The foundation of a fun and original story is there, but it hasn’t been properly worked out in order to be truly captivating.


Having tested the game on a PlayStation TV console, it was clear that the developers put a lot of effort  into making it look good. Even though it was designed to be played on the PlayStation Vita, it still looks crisp on the big screen. Character still have their cutesy looks, they are detailed from head to toe and stay appealing to watch throughout the course of the game. The same can be said for the thirty different kinds of enemies that are thrown at you, which also happen to come in different colors.

The environments suffer from the same condition as all the other Neptunia games, as they are quite empty and lack the same level of detail(s) as the characters. Nonetheless, some stages look quite appealing, thanks to their bright colors which fit right in with the colorful palette that was used for both the characters as well as the enemies.



Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed has the option to choose between the original Japanese or the English voices. Choosing the right one for you is pretty much all about personal preference, as both options will present you with a great cast, with funny and witty voices to accompany you during your quest for the ultimate article. Even though the cast does a superb job during the cutscenes, they only have a limited amount of catchphrases when actually doing quests. After a few hours of wading through quests, you’ll probably start getting annoyed by the two phrases each of your characters throws at you, on top of hearing the same special skill name over and over again. For some reason, Idea Factory implemented the function to turn off the voices of each character separately, which gave us the impression that even they were annoyed by the limited amount of ‘tidbits’ the characters had to offer.

Another thing Action Unleashed does well, is the use of a fairly expansive soundtrack. Even though with all the quests you’ll be doing you’ll come across the same songs from time to time, there is still a lot of variation in the different kinds of songs. You’ll hear tunes from other Neptunia games, as well as newly implemented songs.


Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed breaks away from the typical RPG formula that is linked to the franchise but takes the direction of brawlers such as Dynasty Warriors. This means you’ll be hacking and slashing your way through small stages, whilst constantly being surrounded by herds of enemies at any given time. Truth be told, this direction might be a great chance to explore the Neptunia franchise even more, if it were not for a decent amount of limitations.


With ‘brawler’ being the keyword of the mechanics of this game, the quests you’re about to embark upon will be, as expected, quite monotone. Most quests will ask you to kill a fixed amount of opponents or defeat one or several bosses, which spawn after killing smaller minions. The developers tried to add some variation by giving you quests where the goal is a secret or where you’ll have to collect several items in order to complete the missions. Nonetheless, this is often a way to give a little spin on the grinding you’ll have to do anyway. The quests without the known objective often still need you to kill a fixed amount of enemies or a boss, whilst the fetch missions will simply require you to kill monsters in order for the items to drop. (You say ‘potato’, I say ‘potato’.)

Most of these missions can be tackled solo or in a two man team of your choice, unless the quest in question states otherwise. When you’re finally ready to beat your digital enemies to a pulp, you’ll quickly find out that the controls are quite easy, as you’ll only have two attack buttons, three special skills and a ‘HDD’ (super) mode, which boosts all your stats and allows for an even more powerful ultimate move. Of course, to access your HDD mode, you’ll have to fill your EXE bar, which will drain over time when you’re in your HDD Form. Other than that, the limited control scheme feels quite natural but after a while, when your character gets stronger, you’ll notice that you’re either spamming the same attack or special move, over and over again.

Idea Factory did not throw all the RPG elements of the previous games in the garbage bin, as your character levels are still able to go up and you’ll also find certain accessories and weapons that will boost your stats. Both of these can be unlocked by grinding and killing loads of enemies, which may not come as a surprise to you. Many of the slain enemies will drop medals, which can be traded in for stat upgrades, wearable accessories and stronger weapons. Score hunters will probably be disappointed with the fact that the game stops counting medals after you’ve collected 999 pieces for a specific enemy type.


Other than the useful stat upgrades, the game also presents you with certain cosmetic ‘upgrades’. Action Unleashed has implemented a system that is based upon the all known ‘fanservice’ many anime series are sprinkled with. Thanks (or due) to this the developers created the ‘Costume Break’ feature, which will rip up your clothes, if you receive too much damage. This creates a way for unlockable costumes, be it indestructible, easily destroyed or already torn ones. A small feature some gamers might appreciate, albeit a useless one. (Don’t worry, there’s no actual nudity.)

When the credits start rolling after beating the story mode (in a few hours) you’ll unlock the Gamindusti Gauntlet mode, which is basically a one vs. one PVP mode. In this mode you’ll be able to select one of the playable characters, in their normal or HDD forms, and pit them against some of the other playable characters. Even though the concept is decent on paper, its execution is flawed. If the character you love most, is already a lot higher in level than the other ones, you’ll instakill your opponents, thus taking away any real challenge.

After beating the Gamindustri Gauntlet for the first time, you’ll unlock the last mode, namely the Neptral Tower. This is actually a mode that introduces even more grinding, as the game wants you to complete fifty stages, five times (ten playable characters, in teams of two) in order to ‘reach the actual finish’. Those who love to grind will find some merit in this mode, others will probably not.



Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed shows us that this franchise could certainly produce fun brawler-type games but there’s still some work to do. The overall combat mechanics feel natural, easy to pick up but rather limited after a set amount of time. Customization options and certain RPG elements are all there, but also a tad basic to remain entertaining, especially throughout the extra unlocked modes. Nonetheless, even with the limited story, the witty characters make up for a lot with their short but appreciated chats. Brawler fans might want to look into this one.


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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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  1. […] mechanics, all with hours of witty banter and the necessary dose of cute looking girls, last year Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed was released, which totally wiped away the well-known mechanics of the other games and presented us […]

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