The Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise has built itself out of its Japanese RPG genre roots since its humble beginnings back on the PS3, with a number of different titles encompassing a variety of different genres. We've had tactical RPGs, an idol simulator, and a Musou-like game that hearkens to the gameplay found in the Senran Kagura games.
And while this latest entry, MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (we'll be calling it MegaTagmension from now on for short) isn't a whole new genre like a kart racer and is instead similar to the prior Neptunia U but with some new features (and of course, from the title, zombies), how does it stack up? That depends on what you're looking to get out of the title.
This game's story takes place at the Gamicademi High School. Since the school is in trouble of being shut down due to low enrollment, the Neptunia's series hero Neptune sets into motion a plan to save the school by filing a zombie movie and entering it into a competition. And it just so happens that a real zombie epidemic breaks out and Neptune and friends are the ones that have to stop it.
Usually the narrative in any zombie movie is pretty bare-bones and simplistic, which isn't deviated much in MegaTagmension by any degree. Idea Factory International did a good job localizing the trademark Neptunia humor and gags, jokes, movie references, etc., but when the characters in the game are outright mocking how dumb the film's plot is as they're making it, it feels like it's making a joke more on the game's plot than the in-game plot.
That said, an action game like this lives or dies by its combat, which for the most part works reasonably well. If you've played any of the Senran Kagura games on the PlayStation Vita or the prior Neptunia U, you'll have a good idea of how MegaTagmension controls as developer Tamsoft returns again for this title. You have one button delegated for weak attacks and another for strong attacks, as well as a jump, dash and support character call-out button. You also have the signature HDD transformations you'd expect from a Neptunia game.
Neptunia U's costume breaking feature is nixed in MegaTagmension, but you do still have the tag-team up functionality with a partner character. This works by you picking two characters prior to entering a battle, so you can join up with them as necessary to unleash dual-attacks. And if you're in bind and lose all your health, you can switch to your backup character and regain health.
One somewhat minor issue that should be noted is the game's lock-on camera system, which will likely give players issues as it often times will lock onto the wrong target or disengage for no good reason. I honestly had more luck trying to manually adjust it myself than relying on the auto-camera.
There's 14 playable characters in all, with character Tamsoft being a new addition to the franchise. Their weapons are somewhat similar, but they do play differently enough from each other that it's worth trying them out to see who you prefer best. General most of the story missions will go by pretty quickly, as it's your standard Tamsoft fair of beating up useless enemies until you beat enough to move on.
MegaTagmension is the first in the Neptunia action spin-off series to allow for multiplayer, which allows for up to three people play cooperatively online. What's nice is that there's special enemies and bosses unique to this mode that aren't available in the normal story mode. While it's optimal to play with others, you can play alone if nobody's around. Outside of some minor differences, such as no tag/support mechanics and no HDD transformations, it's pretty similar to the story mechanics and feels good when you're playing with other people, even on WiFi and other weaker connections.
So back to my original comment "” how does MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies stack up? If you're a fan of the Neptunia series you'll enjoy this title, especially if you also enjoyed Neptunia U. If you're a Senran Kagura fan who wants more of the same, this might also be up your avenue.
I enjoyed the game as a beat-em-up, but its flaws such as the weak narrative and camera issues bring down the experience for those who aren't fans of the Neptunia franchise. So if you find the game on sale and want a decent, but flawed beat-em-up? Sure, pick it up. But otherwise it's probably not worth the original $40 asking price for most general buyers.
|The core beat-em-up mechanics work and feel good in practice.|
|The characters feel different enough in usage to not feel like clones of each other.|
|Nice to see new enemies and bosses featured in the multiplayer mode.|
|You'll often be fighting against the auto-camera system.|
|The narrative is forgettable, to the point where the character are mocking it in-game.|
|If you're not a Neptunia fan, there isn't a lot to hold your interest here.|