The Neptunia series has always had a pretty out there premise, as the role-playing games are essentially a fictional version of the console wars that dominated the 90s, but MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies takes the cake. The latest spinoff entry takes place in an alternate dimension where the series’ heroines are going to school together. That’s all good and well, but things start to go awry once they begin production on a zombie film and actual zombies start to take over the school.
Since MegaTagmension Blanc is a spinoff, it forgoes the turn-based combat that has become standard fare for the series, and opts for a simple action game approach. The combat doesn’t have the depth of a character action title though, so those expecting this to rival DmC: Devil May Cry from a mechanical standpoint will be disappointed. Instead, it feels more like a musou title, and has a lot of similarities with 2014’s Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed.
The game’s story mode is comprised of 13 different chapters (called scenes to go with the movie motif). Each chapter is filled with several individual missions, but they all feature the same goal: kill a specific number of zombies (some of which are zombified versions of enemies from past games) within a time limit. These missions rarely last longer than 2 minutes, so the 20 or 60 minute limit isn’t really a factor here.
Before each mission, players are greeted with character dialogue that are longer than the short gameplay sequences they introduce. If you’re a fan of Neptunia‘s humor, which is filled with references that break the fourth wall and referential jokes, then you’ll love the story. The lampooning of B-movie tropes helps make this one of the funniest entries in the series, although still one that talks a bit too much.
Since this takes place in an alternate dimension from the other games, it has a solid cast of characters. As someone who has played all of the past entries, I enjoyed getting to see Uzume from Megadimension Neptunia VII interact with Plutia from Victory. It’s basically a celebration of old and new, and it’s a great reward for fans who have stuck with the series. Sadly, there are some strange omissions from the roster. For instance, you can’t play as series regulars such as Compa and IF.
Each character has to be levelled up individually, so you’ll most likely find yourself sticking with the same pair of heroines (you take 2 characters into each story mission). You can experiment with other characters if you want, but it’ll leave you under-levelled as the campaign progresses. This would be a bigger deal in a more complex game, but honestly, the combat is so simple that being underpowered isn’t a huge detriment.
That leads to MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies‘ biggest issue: it’s just too easy. I didn’t die a single time during the story, and this was after I missed instructions on how to equip health-refilling items at the beginning of the game. Combat is also overly simple, as players only need to string together weak and strong attacks. In fact, there’s little depth to anything in the game. The combat is merely okay, the mission objectives are boring and there’s not much challenge to be found.
Since the missions only last a few minutes at most, and there’s little reason to replay them, the game’s story is over after a short few hours. While I enjoyed the dialogue for the most part, I couldn’t help but feel unfulfilled when the credits rolled (which actually show a 2D version of the game that looks far more interesting). Thankfully, I then jumped into the multiplayer mode shortly after, which ended up being a far superior experience.
While I had assumed that the multiplayer would be little more than a short diversion compared to the single player content, it was actually the other way around. The story actually serves as essentially a long tutorial for the multiplayer mode, which features more varied enemies and more enjoyable missions. It allows up to 4 players (although you can play the multiplayer solo if you wish) to tackle giant boss fights (and regular missions) that are completely separate from the main campaign.
This leads to missions that completely dwarf those that were in the main game. Players get to face foes that are far more powerful than the story’s end boss (which was shockingly easy to defeat), and there’s actually reasons for you to team-up during these battles. While the multiplayer still suffers from a lot of the same issues that plague the rest of the game (simple combat, repetitive mission structure), it’s definitely a step in the right direction. It’s just too bad that there isn’t an interesting narrative to go with what is the best part of the game.
MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies has a disappointing campaign, but a surprisingly fun multiplayer mode. This essentially evens out to it being merely an okay spinoff, although one that has a lot of heart in its writing. Devout Nep-Nep worshippers will find a lot to like about the game’s fanservice, but action fans will be left wanting something with a little more depth.
This review is based on the Vita exclusive, which we were provided with.
Unfortunately, MegaTagmension Blanc hides away its best features in its multiplayer mode, and those looking for a strong single player experience will be largely disappointed.