It’s a little surprising that Idea Factory has done such a great job at porting its games to PC. Square Enix’s ports of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy were fairly buggy and had myriad performance issues, but the Neptunia games mostly run right as rain. That remains the case for the latest port; this time it’s Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart, the SRPG entry in the series originally released on the PlayStation Vita.
As in the original, you control an admirer of the goddess Noire, leader of the land of Lastation, who’s recruited to be her secretary. Lastation’s in danger and Noire’s lost her power, so you’re going to need to help her and the other CPUs save it. It’s not much of a spoiler to say that the villainous Arfoire is involved yet again. Neptunia is consistent if nothing else. It’s all fairly well written but don’t go in expecting too many surprises.
This is a strategy-RPG as opposed to the series’ previous entries, which focused on turn-based combat and Dynasty Warriors-style action. It’s not an especially difficult example of the genre, though players who aren’t used to the systems at play here might have a tough time, especially if you don’t take the time to grind a little between plot points. There’s a lot of focus on pairing up characters to help generate resources for skill use; properly pairing your heroines will increase their generation rate and allow you to use powerful skills more often.
Aside from the new combat system, there’s a lot of focus on Noire herself in this one. You’re her secretary, friend and confidant, so you’re going to have to help her out. This largely takes place through Sim Noire, allowing you to do interior decorating and such between battles as well as talking with Noire. This kind of content isn’t really my bag, but most fans of the series are going to appreciate it and it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s there.
The Steam release of the game is similar to the Vita release…but, well, better in pretty much every way. The graphics are nicer, the resolution is larger, the framerate is better; we’re used to that from Idea Factory thanks to their quality Steam releases of pretty much every other Neptunia title. The slightly irritating load times present in the Vita version are largely eliminated here as well, though that could be because I played this on an SSD. My only real issue is that the Xbox One wireless controller issues that plague a lot of RPGs released on Steam lately are present and accounted for here, so you’re best off hooking up an Xbox 360 or similar controller and using that instead.
As always, fans of the original Hyperdimension Noire who haven’t played the hell out of it already on Vita would be well served to move over to this superior version of Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart. Newbies are better served with the excellent Re;Birth 1 and 2, of course, and those who have been following the series on Steam shouldn’t miss this one. Of course, if you haven’t had enough Neptunia, fear not! Lke death and taxes, Neptunia games are a fact of life, so expect a write-up of the latest zombie-themed adventure soon enough!