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MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (Vita) artwork

MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (Vita) review

"Neptune and pals finally conquer zombie tropes. "

The Neptunia franchise took a break from turn-based battles last year with Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed. It was a fun, if somewhat basic, action game that successfully married the gameplay of Senran Kagura with the world of Neptunia. Now the familiar heroes are at it again, along with the zombies that every long in the tooth franchise apparently needs.

MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune vs Zombies is an action game that takes players from the world of Gamindustri to the schoolyards of Gamacademi. Upon arriving, the CPUs are blindsided by the news that the school will close unless they can increase the number of incoming freshmen. To make those numbers swell, Blanc and Neptune join forces to film a zombie movie. It just so happens that a real zombie outbreak soon follows, thus providing the perfect opportunity for the auteurs to properly realize their vision.

MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (Vita) image

As you can imagine, Blanc + Neptune vs Zombies doesnít take its scenario seriously. The game constantly lampoons the tropes that run rampant in zombie media. In particular, it takes a lot of potshots at Resident Evil and its increasingly incoherent plot, to phenomenal results. Personally, I feel this is the funniest Neptunia title yet, thanks to the writing and excellent delivery.

While the writing is a constant source of delight, though, the game itself isnít as impressive. Like in Neptunia U, players choose their favorite CPU and beat up a bunch of enemies in an arena. The big difference now is that some enemies have a zombie twist. It doesnít change how the mechanics function at all, and those who got their fill with Neptunia U wonít find anything extra (beyond the scenario) to draw them to it.

For those not familiar with Neptunia U, Blanc + Neptune has players taking charge of two characters as they mash the Square button to achieve victory. Itís possible to switch up move sets and go for interesting and unique combos, but thereís not a lot of incentive to do so. Players can switch between the two characters they chose at any time to add further variety, but itís really only worth it when the first is about to die.

MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (Vita) image

The game is ostensibly an RPG, but you wouldnít know it thanks to a confusing character development menu. As a character levels up, they are given points to spend on four stats: HP, attack, defense and special. The prompt to reach this screen is hidden at the bottom of the character equip menu. Furthermore, there are minute load times when switching between charactersí leveling menus, which ends up being really jarring.

Another disappointment is that the game doesnít actively encourage players to switch the primary character they control, though there are multiple options available. I settled on Neptune relatively early on, and went through the game's remainder without making any changes. Each level increases its difficulty on a consistent basis, so it makes no sense to switch to some other character that won't have leveled up because you haven't been using her. Players can unlock extra scenes by using specific characters on specific levels, but the game doesnít let you know which ones ahead of time, so itís not even worth the effort.

Weirdly enough, those extra scenes also weren't dubbed. While the main scenario features another stellar performance by the English dub cast, the extra content sticks with the original Japanese voices. Itís most likely the result of budgetary constraints, but a little disappointing nonetheless. I really do enjoy the English voice cast more. Those who prefer the Japanese cast, however, will be happy to know that the entire game has retained its original dub and doesnít lock any of it behind DLC.

MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (Vita) image

While the gameplay isnít anything special, at least it isnít hampered by performance issues. The game runs at mostly 30FPS, like previous Neptunia games on the Vita. There might be a little slowdown when the screen is packed with enemies, but thatís a pretty rare occurrence. The fluidity is especially surprising here, as the player characters and enemies pack more detail than they did on the PS3. Blanc + Neptune is a good looking Vita game, but some detail may be lost if you choose to play it on a PlayStation TV.

In addition to the main game, there is a multiplayer mode where four players can take on large boss enemies that are unique to said mode. It can be played either locally or online, but I wasnít able to test out the latter option because the game isnít officially available yet as I write this review. From the looks of the tutorial, the mode features a number of unique rules that make it play similarly to Monster Hunter. Itís a little unfortunate that these extra levels canít be enjoyed solo, though. Fans can only hope that it has some kind of online scene, once it launches.

MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune vs Zombies feels like a really funny visual novel that has been paired with a passable action game. For fans of the franchise, itís certainly worth a look, but the main scenario will only require six hours or so to complete. Those looking for an anime action game arenít going to find anything compelling here. Itís fun, but thatís about all it is.


Phazonmasher's avatar
Freelance review by Zachary Walton (May 14, 2016)

Zach Walton likes JRPGs, visual novels, horror games and anything that gives him an excuse to drink.

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