Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection Review: Mismanagement
The Hyperdimension Neptunia games have a certain and dedicated fanbase that can overlook some of their shortcomings and overreliance on fanservice, and enjoy the games for what they are. Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is yet another title that's set in the fictitious world of Gamindustri, but this time, the four heroines use their powers for a slightly different activity: becoming pop star idols. As if the premise of the main games wasn't crazy enough, this one just takes it a step further, and I was legitimately interested in where the story would go from here.
The greatest thing about HN games is that despite being set in a fictitious world, a lot of the content is based on real world products or situations. The four heroines after all, represent the three main consoles (Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation) with the fourth being made specifically for the game. Even Producing Perfection's protagonist, MOB48 is a play on AKB48, a Japanese pop group. It's these connections to the real world that make the games a lot more relatable in a sense, despite their constant hammering of fanservice on the player. Unfortunately, Producing Perfection seems to rely a bit too much on this, and thus loses some of the heart and soul of the previous titles.
Gamindustri's biggest problem apparently is the rising popularity of the aforementioned MOB48, a huge group of pop idols. In order to defeat them, the four CPUs (Console Patron Units) decide that the best way to fight back is to become pop idols themselves. However, they know literally nothing about achieving this, so they use their powers to summon a young, and seemingly horny guy (that's you!) to manage one of them and help them rise in popularity by performing various tasks and putting on concerts to increase fanbase.
The gameplay (if you can call it that) consists of picking from various tasks to perform each day. You can always only choose one per day, and that task will raise one of numerous stats such as Vocals and Expression. The problem is, that's all you do in these instances. Whether it's telling your idol to record in the studio, practice vocals, or study for a test, the process and outcome are always the same. You get a static scene of a background that has to do with that task, some lines talking about the activity, and then a message saying move on to the next day. That's it. There are numerous instances where my idol wanted to play a marathon of games in order to increase her skills, and I would have loved to participate in some sort of built-in minigame to simulate this, but instead, ended with a few lines and nudging me once again to move on to the next day.
The success of each of these tasks results in how stressed your idol is. Going to work or practicing will gradually raise stress, while taking a vacation or personal day will lower it back to normal. The key here is balancing vacation days with other tasks to optimally raises stats without overexerting the idol.
After a certain amount of time goes by, you can then put on a concert. This was going to be the highlight for me, except once again, very little input is required from the player. You first pick the stage, pick a costume and pick a song. You can also cause three stage events to occur: as blast of confetti, a spotlight or a laser show. Triggering these as well as changing up the camera view will increase how much the fans are liking the performance. If you're singing the song meant for the idol, you can also make her transform into her HDD form, which also boosts how much fans enjoy the show. However, I found that there was no strategy required to get the most amount of fan loyalty. Instead, I kept changing the camera view to the point of nausea, and just fired off the three stage events whenever they were off cooldown.
The amount of fanservice is huge here. From the very first time you get summoned, to a lot of conversations that happen between you and your idol. Perhaps I had it coming, I did choose the extremely busty Xbox inspired CPU named Vert. Upon first meeting her, she told me that I was lucky to fall on her soft breasts. Shortly afterwards, when they all introduced themselves, Vert once again pointed out that she's the most mature, and has the most voluptuous breasts out of all the CPUs. Lovely. But Compile Heart knows its target audience, so I guess the joke's on me.
Since I'm talking about fanservice, the game goes beyond this by allowing you to touch each idol in the game's Viewer Mode. I should have known something like this would be in the game. After all, I just reviewed another Compile Heart game where rubbing girls picture on a card in specific, and mostly erogenous places would result her in leveling up. So I guess the joke's on me again.
Producing Perfection had some interesting ideas, but each one falls flat due to its uneventful execution. I wanted more involvement in making sure my idol reaches success by the end of the 180 day time limit. I wanted to perform various mini-games which resulted in how successful the stat boosts are. Hell, even some sort of rhythm game could have easily broken down the monotony. It's tough to even recommend this game to Neptunia fans, since the game loses a lot of what made those other games so quirky.