In the latest adventure with the Gamindustry girls, they take a step out of their action RPG comfort zone and take a stab at becoming idols in this idol-management sim / parody game to face a new threat to their nations. If you’ve played any of the Hyperdimension Neptunia games before, you’ll know that you can expect to see copious amounts of references and parodies of games and companies in the real world. Producing Perfection takes that formula and applies it to the ever expanding pop-idol culture in japan and idol management games like the idolm@ster series.
The game begins with the for CPUs, Neptune, Noir, Vert and Blanc meeting to devise a way to reclaim shares from the super idol group MOB48 which has been gaining all of the support from Gamindustri’s citizens, leaving few who still believe in and support the CPUs of each nation (most likely a parody of how AKB48 and similar groups have gained immense popularity in Japan with some of the more obsessive fans dedicating their lives to following these idols). The 4 heroines soon decide that to fight the super idol group, they should become idols themselves to regain popularity and shares. This eventually leads to them summoning a producer from another world to manage their idol careers and help them become the best.
This is where you come in. As a frequent player of games , including many idol management games, you find yourself suddenly transported to another world and are tasked with becoming one of the girls’ producer. Here, you can choose which of the 4 girls you want to work with, which will set up the story for the rest of the game. Once everything is in place, you begin your journey on managing your chosen idol in order to beat MOB48 (and hopefully grab more shares than the other CPUs in the process).
There’s 3 main modes you can play in Neptunia PP, Viewer mode, Unlimited Concert and Producer Mode, which is the main story campaign of the game. In Producer Mode, every morning you’re greeted by your idol in training and you can undertake a variety of tasks in order to help her reach the top of the idol rankings. The management sim aspect comes into play by deciding what tasks to do on each day and planning your idol’s schedule to achieve the best results. You can choose to spend a typical day by training your idol to improve specific aspects of her abilities, promoting your idol to attract fans, and relaxing to reduce the stress accrued from a busy idol’s lifestyle. Certain actions may take a number of days to complete, or may only be preformed once every few days, so you’ll need to keep this in mind when choosing what to do. You have a limit of 180 days to beat MOB48 and make your idol the best in Gamindustri, so you’ll need to spend the time that you have wisely. Every week and month, you’ll be shown the current idol ratings, which will change throughout the story. Your idol’s rating will change depending on how well they are dong and how many fans they have and seeing these results can affect your idol’s mood and stats depending on how she reacts to her position on the chart.
For the most part, days can go by very quickly, with each daily action usually spanning a couple of static text screens before you have to say goodnight. The main bulk of the gameplay involves choosing one of these day to day actions and then watching the result of each one play out, with the whole thing behaving more like a visual novel or text adventure, requiring very little input from the player. As you preform the same tasks over the course of the game, repeating event scenes become boring after you’ve seen them the first few times but luckily you can easily skip past the text you’ve seen before. Occasionally, special story or character events will appear, which break up the tedious nature of day to day management while you’re trying to boost your idol’s status. Sometimes you can even increase your relationship with the characters through certain event scenes, which will usually include a decision you’ll need to make which could affect the result of the scene. These less common and unique events that help to progress the story or give you a nice segment of the characters interacting with each other and the producer can provide a bit of enjoyment, but that may be lost on you if you aren’t particularly invested in the characters already.
However, if you do enjoy seeing the HDN characters whenever possible, then the game has several ways to facilitate your needs. When managing your idol, you can choose to have them interact with the other CPUs to boost their friendship levels, which gives you some extra event scenes for these interactions, and will also improve the probability the other CPU will accept a request to form an idol group if you choose to do so later on. Since you can choose one of the 4 CPUs to manage at the beginning of the story, there’s 4 main branches of the main campaign (1 for each CPU) and you can get a good, bad The viewer mode lets you get up close and personal with your favourite CPU and dress them in a variety of outfits and accessories you can acquire in the main game and also functions as an alarm clock if you wish to have one of the girls wake you from your slumber.
Back in producer mode, your idol will get to perform in concerts every now and then, while as the producer, you manage the stage, control cameras and manage stage effects to try and get the crowd excited and make the concert as popular as possible. After selecting the song that will be performed and the stage, costume and stage effects to equip, the main goal in this section is to build the crowd’s glee level by choosing good camera angles and using different stage effects to get the fans excited. This proves to be quite clunky in practice as the controls and the methods you should take to get a good score aren’t exactly intuitive. sometimes, just changing the camera randomly throughout the song can be enough to gain a good result at the end and other times even when trying to time camera changes and effects with what you’d assume to be good points in the music may fail to get the meter filled even halfway. Reading the tips and consulting the manual did little to help me in this regard, relying on luck and copious amounts of random button presses to get adequate scores.
If, you find that you enjoy these concert segments, the Unlimited Concert mode of the game can let you play any of the songs with the characters and you can choose what costume and stage you wish to preform in, without needing wait between concerts and complete other tasks like in producer mode. Although, with only a maximum of 6 songs to play, I’d assume even the most dedicated fans would start to get burned out on only being able to repeatedly play from such a small selection. Other than that, there’s not really a whole lot to Neptunia PP to justify playing unless you really need to play any game that features the HDN girls in some shape or form. If you’re someone coming to this without any knowledge of what idol management games are, there might be a slight novelty to be had in playing Nep PP just because it’s something different. But if you do already know what a good idol sim can be like, I doubt you’ll play through this one for too long.