What this should be compared to is Forked, Knifed, and Spooned.
Those cards are type restricted, which Hippo is not. If you just know you want smaller servers no matter what, then Hippo might be the way to go. If you are playing Quetzal with E3, then you might not want to use a barrier breaker at all and you need to ensure barriers don't get stacked, then perhaps play the cards that are barrier restricted instead, so they hit barriers no matter how deep you have to go to hit them.
I think most people are now of the opinion that 3x Hippo is more or less an auto-include in Anarch. Those other cards I mentioned are far from auto-include, though a lot of people still put 1-3 of them in their decks anyway so they only have to break a Chiyashi once or twice per game or something.
The best part about Hippo is how little thinking there is to be done. It only triggers in very specific instances, you just broke all subs on the outermost ice. That reduces the mental effort required to pilot such decks considerably. Anyone that has ever played a long and exhausting tournament can attest to how nice it is to devote less mental effort to each game with a more straightforward deck.
FWIW, I kinda agree with the design philosophy that led to Hippo, as in "These cuttlery cards aren't good enough. Type restricting is too much of a drawback.".
Five influence is the right number, because IMHO we don't want a situation where you can play the same deck no matter what ID you choose. I prefer a world where it feels different to play against an Anarch deck than it feels to play against a Criminal deck, and powerful 5 influence cards like these (and, for example, Diversion of Funds) helps the factions feel different from each other. Thumbs up on that influence call. Hippo is a really well designed card all around.