Neptunia Reverse Review – Remaking a Remake

Whilst the popular Astro’s Playroom landed as my first PS5-exclusive platinum trophy, I was desperate for Neptunia ReVerse to follow. I’m a big fan of the franchise and was delighted to see the games return to their roots. You see, back when the Hyperdimension Neptunia games debuted back on the PS3, the first game wasn’t as well received as it could have been. Perhaps deservedly so since it was just a sexy re-skin of the awful Trinity Universe, a game that disappeared as quickly as it disappointed, and yet Neptunia had staggering potential.

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The series learned from its mistakes and got better with each instalment, with third entry Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory being something of a JRPG masterpiece. The games continued into the PS4 era yet lost their way, focusing on style-shifted spin-offs rather than genuine sequels, however every mainline entry received a polished remaster with extra content, usually on the ill-fated Vita.

The first game, Hyperdimension Neptunia, was completely rebuilt from the ground up to please the fans, now renamed Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1. This is the origin of remaster Neptunia ReVerse and a welcome addition for fans of the saga who want to experience the most optimized entries possible. It’s even more special to previous PSTV players since Neptunia Re;Birth 1 wasn’t compatible with that system. In this respect, I suppose you could consider Neptunia ReVerse a remake of a remake.


The distant world of Gamindustri is comprised of four nations: Planeptune the Land of Purple Progress, Lastation the Land of Black Regality, Lowee the Land of White Serenity, and Leanbox the Land of Green Pastures, each under the divine protection of their respective ‘CPU’ goddess. It’s an all-female cast which tells the tale of the Console War, with four central goddesses (wearing cleavage-enhancing plug-suits) representing the rival console manufacturers.

For no logical reason other than proving their supremacy and reclaiming their birthright, the four goddesses battle for domination of the planet until Neptune is defeated, cast down and stripped of her power. Our protagonist, the ditzy yet charming Neptune, represents Sega as she struggles to find her place alongside the big three. Now, with the help of a student nurse named Compa and a guild agent named IF, Neptune must fight to restore her place and unite her fellow CPUs against a real threat to the world they once swore to protect.


There are two modes to choose from which will alter your experience. You can play ReVerse in its Original mode which replicates Re;Birth 1 or you can try Arrange mode which unlocks all characters (including DLC and future series characters) right from the start, giving you an easier time in those first few hours. I went for Arrange mode for the most complete experience whilst removing some unwanted difficulty however this doesn’t last long and the challenge returns sooner than expected, and like the original game, you really need to put the hours into grinding just to survive.

It’s during this mandatory grind where the cracks start to show as while this remake brings together some of the best bits from the series, it also slips in a hell of a lot of filler. The game frequently puts barriers in your way to stop you progressing which pretty much makes you totally reliant on item location guides (and actual trophy guides don’t seem to exist).

If you need to visit a particular dungeon, for example, you will often find you need to unlock it first by locating its plan and several unrelated items, yet the game never tells you where to find them, leaving you to frequently backtrack hoping you might stumble across the relevant items. This stop-start approach to adventuring happens constantly and caused me to turn off the game in frustration on more than one occasion.

Battles remain largely unchanged from the formula used in Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3, being fully menu/turn-based but permitting character movements within a circular area. SP Skills are special moves unique to each character which are used by expending SP. EXE Drive Skills are super moves available to each character and can be used by expending a charged EXE Drive Gauge. Alternatively, we can execute a normal attack by approaching an enemy and pressing the X button. By placing skills in the combo skill slot from the menu, you are able to connect up to four consecutive attacks.

In addition to attack-based commands, there are also defensive and supportive actions. By opting to Defend and end a character’s turn, they will brace themselves and take less damage from enemies. Neptune and her fellow CPU goddesses can transform by expending 20% of their total SP by choosing to activate HDD mode for sexy plugsuit outfits and stat boosts. You can also switch places with characters placed in the rear slot of the party, use an item currently in your possession, or flee from battle by moving a character to the outer edge of the battlefield as selecting the Run command.


Whilst visually the games haven’t evolved much since the PS3 era, they’re still pleasing on the eye with no-nonsense fan-service taking priority over cutting edge graphics. Textures are still smooth, the copy-pasted environments alternate between detailed and less so, while the characters themselves are always bright and colourful whether they’re in their 3D cel-shaded forms, or their 2D cutscene alternatives.

The game’s returning English voice actors do a superb job as always, including respectable efforts from soundalike voice-actors replacing a couple who have dropped out of this long-running franchise over the years. The music once again continues the series’ trend of recycling old music tracks again and again, which isn’t really an issue since we’re playing a remake of the first game, yet we’ve heard these same few tracks so many times over the last decade that it’s really getting old.


Trophies aren’t nearly as straightforward as they first appear. You’ll need to make two playthroughs or structure your saves to see both the normal and true endings and try out some of the game’s features, such as crafting, skill configuration and guild questing. You’ll also need to go fishing 100 times which is a brand-new feature added to this remaster, though it is a hefty grind.

Tempting as it may be to breeze through the story and tie up loose ends afterwards this is actually easier said than done. It really pays to take your time and grind plenty of extra levels here and there and finish guild quests while farming extra cash and equipment. You’ll need all the help you can get once the game’s true difficulty kicks in after a few chapters, and you’ll need nothing short of a miracle to survive the colosseum battles.


Ultimately, your experience with Neptunia ReVerse will be altered by several factors, starting with your knowledge and experience of the series. Hardcore fans will appreciate this missing chapter finally coming to consoles whereas newer players will likely see only how poorly the franchise is aging. Returning players who have taken a break may be disappointed that there simply isn’t anything new of note here and every component has been copy-pasted from other games in the series.

It’s the grind which acts as the killing blow as you desperately try to level up your party and find items relevant to progression. Without complete mastery of the entire game-world there’s simply no hope for the platinum, with so many trophies being incredibly vague in their requirements. Not even the gorgeous goddesses could save this broken mess of a game. It really left me unfulfilled.

There’s nothing worse than when the game you bought a whole new console for turns out to be a disappointment, and it’s hardly the first time it’s happened. Need I remind you of Folklore on PS3 and Omega Quintet on PS4? We need something with better progression now. Something easier with some actual level of clarity in its progression requirements, though some more pretty anime girls wouldn’t go amiss either.


  • The welcome return of a missing chapter in the overarching story
  • Same great cast and dialogue
  • The combat engine of the later games


  • Horribly broken stop-start progression
  • Lack of difficulty options
  • Pointless filler sections

Neptunia ReVerse

Below Average

A welcome return to a missing chapter in the Neptunia story with all the refinements of the later games, which sadly, is heavily let down by gimmicky new gameplay mechanics, filler sections, bad progression and obscure objectives.

Gary Green
PS5 version reviewed