Review: HyperDevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart
This is my first foray into the series, but instead of starting with the main RPG titles, I got to play Hyperdevotion, which is a turn-based strategy game with the same characters in a similar universe. Coming in completely unaware of what I was getting into, I jumped in blind. The game sadly didn’t even live up to my basically nonexistent expectations.
The Hyperdimension games are an anime style RPG series that is satirical towards the gaming industry. Hyperdevotion is a spin-off of this universe where every single character you encounter in the game has a relation to a video game or video game console. You play as a girl named Noire who is a CPU (Console Patron Unit) in the middle of the ‘Console War’ with Vert, Blanc, and Neptune. Each of these three characters represent a console fighting for shares in the land of Gamemarket. But one day, a mysterious woman robs them of their powers and they have to work together to unite Gamemarket. It’s a very fascinating concept, but one that never really lives up to its full potential.
The character’s only parts speaking are in 2D visual novel cut-scenes before every mission. Each lasts for what seems like forever and then the battle begins. All of the cut-scenes are incredibly boring. The characters banter on and on about the bland story, a conflict ensues, and then after the mission is won they discuss it over. The characters personalities are boring and their conversations even more so, so I wound up often skipping them to get to the battles. Most of the conversations felt like fan-service, and something a newcomer wouldn’t appreciate at all. Also, most of the characters are over sexualized to a ridiculous degree. All of it is over the top and completely unnecessary. Thankfully, if you want to skip the talking sequences or you are just confused on what you need to accomplish in battle, a mission debrief is given to you by a mentor character before every fight. It gets straight to the point and explains what you need to do in a quick manner.
After the talking sequences is when the actual game starts. Like I mentioned before, the game is a a turn based strategy game where cartoon styled versions of the characters fight on a 3D battlefield. Every character has a basic attack and special moves that use SP for a power or increased damage. From the very first battle things start out slow and simple. From there on, you are thrown a multitude of tutorials explaining all of the nooks and crannies of the battle system. I was playing through this monotonous beginning phase hoping the game would pick up but instead, it let me down.
Plain and simple, the game is just extremely slow. Characters move at a snail’s pace, attacks take a long time, and trying to even just moving my character became annoying to deal with. Even trying to get to a battle or attempting to access the shop is a struggle, because of the convoluted and overall messy menus. Battles seemed to drag on and on and with basically no way to quicken them, making the game get old incredibly fast.
Along with the tediousness, the game is relentlessly hard. Often times I would have to repeat battles a couple times to win. There is an option to opt for an easier challenge if you lose a battle, but its so easy that it defeats the purpose. The difficulty of Hyperdevotion lands on both ends of the spectrum with no good in-between.
The sad part about it is that I feel like there is a good strategy game buried beneath the mess; a diamond in the rough. The mechanics make sense and everything is very tight, which gives me hope for a future, more polished game. An example of the good battle mechanics is the buddy system that Hyperdevotion adds. Whenever a character initiates a special attack next to another character, they get a tiny peck on the cheek, do a ton more damage, and some of the heart meter fills up. Once it reaches a certain amount, you can change your character into its RPG form which allows it to fly and do a lot more damage for every attack. This made me want to correctly position my characters before every attack, and made a character attacking by themselves feel wrong. The buddy system worked great and hopefully in a future game can be showcased more.
Along with that is the wonderfully animated battle scenes. When fighting on a mission, the characters are morphed into a more cutesy and cartoon like figure which I think worked very nicely. Also, the battle animations were very elaborate and fun to watch, but could be sped up a little to quicken the pace of the battles. Characters could walk a little faster too while we’re at it.
Hyperdevotion has potential, but it has some problems that it needs to work out before becoming the fun game that it definitely can be. The combat is slow, the story is terribly boring, and the game’s difficulty should be tweaked. There’s a good game hiding somewhere in Hyperdevotion, now the job is just finding it.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Potential for a good second game
- Buddy system
- Neat art style
What I Dislike:
- Battles are too slow
- Convoluted menus
- Boring story
- Poor difficulty balance