Before I briefly go over the details you need to know in order to make an educated decision about a possible purchase of this upcoming PS Vita exclusive I need you to understand that this is a "Preview Review". In simple terms it's more, or less a preview of my future full length review. It will not be a complete disclosure at this point for the simple fact that I got the code for the game late, and will not have the full playthrough finished before it's release. As such my purpose behind posting this micro-review is to tell you whether, or not I think the game is worth a purchase, and what the game entails this time around. I hope you enjoy this article posting for what it is, and I hope that it gives you a proper understanding of "Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart". Do enjoy!
IdeaFactory International's core developer Compile Heart has teamed up with another development team known as STING to bring to you something that is groundbreaking in terms of new features, and presentation within the Neptunia universe. At the heart (pun intended ^.^) of the new story you will find that Lastation's CPU candidate 'Noire' (aka, CPU Goddess Black Heart) is the main protagonist this time around, and that through a slip up with a shady character named Eno (which most of you will recognize from previous Neptunia games) she has turned her Gamindustry topsy turvy. With the help of former Gamindustry CPU friends Nep-Nep, Blanc, Vert, and a mystery male gamer character known only as "The Secretary" they set out to make things right, and solve the mystery of exactly what went down in regards to the current Gamindustry shares standings.
In an unusual turn of events Compile Heart, and co-developer STING have made all the things you used to have to work towards unlocking available from the start. This includes access to the "Disc Dev", The "Basilicom", the "Shop", the "Mission HQ", the "Item Dev", and the "CPU Hotel". This development choice negates the redundancy found in past games, and lets the gamer focus wholly on the new aspects of the story as well as the gameplay. Within the main menu constructs of "Hyper Devotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart" you'll find in place a complete overhaul in the way of how Gamindustry's CPU lands look. You'll find that the areas have been somewhat downsized, but that theystill contain the citizen avatars that add little gaming nods to real world gaming through their speech bubbles. As far as tasks go within the respective Gamindustry lands (Lastation, Lowee, ...) you will be building upon the restoration of said lands by doing multiple choice email answers of gamers seeking your help, and will be battling your second in command pals who have taken over rule of your Gamindustry land. This of course will be done through a brand new combat system.
As far as the combat system goes this time it seems more like a 'Disgaea', or 'Final Fantasy Tactics' setup in that you will be moving, and performing actions on a gridded battlefield, a battlefield filled with beautifully rendered Chibi representations of each of the characters. The combat mechanics are still pretty much the same as before with the HDD (CPU Goddess Form) function taken into consideration as well as SP. Skills, and basic attacks. There's even the use of items, and retreat options in place via the pop-up menu that can be raised, and closed during a battle. One thing that varies greatly from previous Neptunia battle systems though (not including the fact that there is no more ring based action RPG combat) is that you have an additional function known as 'Lift". While I cannot confirm it just yet I believe the "Lift" function will be used in a manner similar to how it is used in the Disgaea series. It should also be noted that the 3D gridded battlegrounds require a strategic approach with the appointing of a leader, and the dispatching of team members. You'll even gain a damage output advantage if you move your characters to the side or back of monsters/generals before applying an attack. It's basically a simpler version of Disgaea's battle system with a Neptunia setup.
When it comes down to the graphic, and audio presentation in "Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart" it is definitely a step above past releases in so many ways. You get the usual motion art with a sort of "Moe" appeal, though it too is an upgrade graphics-wis. In fact the anime art comes to life more realistically than before with extra movement animations. You also get the new Chibi style character builds that make the CPU goddesses of the Gamindustry look like actual Japanese Nendoroid anime figures. I imagine, in all honesty that this would make for an amazing PS4 port. Even the enemies like the dogoos look simply amazing onscreen. One thing I also noticed is that the menu, and screen layout has also taken a visual overhaul, and definitely accents this new type of presentation in a complimentary fashion. For those of you looking for Japanese voice overs this game has got that intact as well along with English subtitles for the Japanese impaired. Even the soundtrack is impressively presented in a truly highlighting manner.
Needless to say there's plenty of grinding to do, combat scenarios to encounter, and pervy hijinks from the Gamindustry's leading gals. Do I think it's worth a purchase, or a pre-order? Hell yes!!! this is an Awesome upgrade to a game series I have recently grown very fond of. I think it's a huge step in the right direction, and an innovative one at that. While I definitely loved 'Re;Birth 2', and it's amazing story I feel 'Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart' has a lot more to offer the gamer seeking to get into the series. The new combat system did take me by surprise as did the Chibi style characters, but in a most pleasant way. I can see good things happening for the franchise that IdeaFactory, and Compile Heart have devoted their time, and efforts to. If you are looking for a good JRPG this February then definitely do yourself a favor, and buy this game! Keep in mind it is a PS Vita exclusive though, and that it will be released this coming Tuesday ... I think?