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June 2018

Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection

Platform(s): PlayStation Vita
Genre: Simulation
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Idea Factory
Release Date: June 3, 2014 (US), June 6, 2014 (EU)


PS Vita Preview - 'Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on May 13, 2014 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

The fan-favorite Hyperdimension Neptunia CPU goddesses are back, and this time it is your job to guide them to become Gamindustri’s most popular and up-and-coming idols!

The Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise has mostly focused on RPGs. The games began as a straight-up parody of the video game market and industry. Over time, the franchise has seen multiple games on multiple systems — and with an ever-increasing number of characters. Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection starts by mentioning that it's not canon and should not be taken seriously.

Hyperdimension Neptunia PP introduces the four goddesses of the Gameindustri world as they face an unprecedented disaster. The game hardware they are known for selling has seen an increasing decline in popularity. The youthful has fixated on a new idol group, MOB48, instead. The goddesses decide the only way they can compete is to become idols as well. They summon a human to serve as their producer. The player is this producer and has to guide one of the four goddesses in her career. Until they reclaim their popularity, he can't return home. The producer sets out to create the biggest idol the industry has ever seen.

The core of the game involves building up your idol's five core stats: Expression, Knowledge, Rhythm, Truth and Vocals. The five core stats determine their effectiveness as an idol and affect their concert performances. In addition, they have a fan meter, a guts meter, a haters meter and a stress meter. The more fans an idol has, the more people want to see her show. Guts is your idol's courage meter, so if she lacks guts, she can't put on a performance. Haters are born when you neglect an audience, and they can have a negative impact on your concert's success. Stress is the opposite of guts. Most actions increase stress, and the higher your idol's stress, the more of a chance she will fail at a task. If the stress meter reaches 100%, your game is over. Fortunately, you can reduce her stress by sending her on vacation or having her do some fun tasks. Each idol also has an affection meter that represents how she feels about the player/producer. The affection meter impacts the events you can see and the game ending you'll get.

Your goal is to increase the basic stats while building up a fan following and the affection meter. Every day, you can either relax, train or work. Relaxing lets you befriend other idols, take a vacation or spend time with the producer to increase affection. Training improves the idol's stats. Working involves going to publicity events and radio shows to get the idol's name on the market. It increases your idol's popularity and occasionally gives a boost to other stats, but it also comes with a noticeable increase in stress. Certain options focus on a specific stat while others increase the group's stats. The rare "study" option can only be chosen every 10 days but provides a huge boost to all stats.

Once you have enough guts and stats, you can give a concert. You select a stage, a song, and a costume for your idol, and you can also choose up to three stage effects. Once you've selected this, the song begins, and your idol performs onstage. You have no direct control over the idol's dancing and singing, but you can control the camera angle and stage effects. Moving the camera at the right time improves the audience's reactions to the singing. Likewise, you can set off stage effects to make the audience happy. If you set off a stage effect after the audience cheers, the idol gets a huge boost. By default, you only have a single idol, but you can recruit the other AI idols to be part of a group. This improves the overall potential score but also divides your popularity. If you team up with an unpopular AI idol, it can be more harmful than going solo.

Aside from increasing stats and managing stress, you'll also encounter various chance events where you must select from a handful of dialogue options. Depending on the option selected, you may get a stat boost, stress reduction, or special events that lead to different endings. However, if you make the wrong choice, you can hurt your idol's popularity or increase her stress level. You'll have to keep your idol's personality in mind; some may respond well to criticism while others prefer a softer touch.

The game ends either when you've reached 180 days without becoming the #1 idol or when your idol reaches the top of the billboards. This can be a slow or quick affair, depending on how much effort you put into pushing the idol's career. Once you've done a single playthrough, you can start a new game+, which preserves your idol's stats and unlocked costumes. You can give the idol a second shot to try for a better ending or switch to one of the AI idols and level them up instead. You can also play the game in a special unlimited concert mode, which allows you to customize and view your concerts without trying to achieve a high score.

Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection seems to be a game for fans of the franchise. It's an experience intended for Hyperdimension Neptunia fans who enjoy the characters and want to spend more time with them. The introduction of "American Idol"-inspired gameplay adds some new flair to the quirky series. Those who are looking forward to the game can check it out next month on the PlayStation Vita.

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