(PS Vita) MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies Review

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Title Screen

MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (god, such an awful title to both say and type) is the latest game in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series (11th game overall), with Megadimension Neptunia VII (PS4) being the previous game. It is also the first game in the series to implement a Multiplayer / Online function.

– Localised and published by Idea Factory. 
– Developed by Compile Heart and Tamsoft (Senran Kagura series)
– Release date: October 15 2015 (JP), May 10 2016 (NA), May 13 2016 (EU)

It is a hack and slash type of game and is considered to be a sequel to Action Unleashed due to its similar gameplay and concept. While it doesn’t exactly follow the same storyline, it does contain the same characters and introduces those who weren’t in the first game as well.

This game was the result of Blanc becoming no.1 in the series’ 2nd popularity poll Compile Heart made sometime ago, as it was promised that the top character will be the main protagonist in their own game. Does it work out for our short, flat-chest companion here?

Story
Neptune and her friends attend Gamacademi, a school within the world of Gamindustri. They attend this school to learn more about humans… (yeah I don’t really get it either) but it turns out that the school is closing down due to declining birth rates. How do they make sure it doesn’t close down? They decide to film a movie about zombies in the hopes that it will resurge the school’s popularity.
However there is a plot twist: Real zombies are summoned somehow and they interfere with the filming, but you know what? Let’s film them anyway and use them in our movie! That’s a totally safe and smart idea! Thanks Blanc and Neptune!

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A “Scene” in action. Blanc’s name is switched to Heroine in this case.  Likewise, Neptune = Hero.

Blanc and Neptune are portrayed as the protagonists in their movie which is why they basically share the game name this time around. Both of them share the majority of dialogue scenes while the others end up as support roles, portraying as multiple characters / extras during the film. 
The story shifts between them reacting to the zombie invasion and figuring out what’s happening, and filming the movie that involves said zombie invasion. It can get a bit confusing at times with the dialogue since it constantly switches back and forth.

Gameplay
Similar to Action Unleashed, the game pits a character against a horde of enemies. Many features from that game returns such as transformation, EXE drives (ultimate skills), and the tag team system.

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Battle screen. The Support Gauge (a new feature, depicted by the icons of Compa and a Dogoo) provides different buffs or healing in a pinch. These can be switched at the Setting Up menu.

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Example of a character’s Command List. The “Tec” means that the character requires that amount of Tec points before that specific combo can be used. The SP skills are also kept in the Command list.

The game’s main mode available is Story mode which is broken up into “Scenes” and requires you to defeat the zombies (some may involve defeating a boss as well). By choosing to tag different characters together, you may unlock additional dialogue scenes so I guess some of the the replayability comes from that?
Otherwise, the main focus is the Multiplay function where you can either solo or co-op with up to 4 players online to fight bosses and take on various quests. I haven’t tried it online yet so I cannot say any more than that unfortunately.

Other things to point out
Because the game shares similarities to Action Unleashed, I’ll end up listing the improvements and flaws of MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune and compare them to one another.

PROS
– The gameplay is much faster and more intricate. While each character starts off with a basic fighting style, you can level them up to improve their stats and combos. This ultimately ends up making most characters have different playstyles.
Yes this is a pro in my opinion. The story is still stupid yet entertaining in its own way (beware of more meta jokes and references!) and hey, it’s a nice excuse to see our characters in school uniform.
– More music selection. It’s not much but I enjoy the variety of both new and those from the previous games.
– More playable characters. Alongside the 10 characters that were in Action Unleashed, Plutia, Peashy, Uzume and Tamsoft (original character) are also introduced.
– The game contain accessories that can be equipped which alter a character’s appearance. Very useful for distinguishing each character for Multiplay purposes.

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Tamsoft, a new character representing the company of the same name. Her design bears a resemblance to the Senran Kagura series

CONS
– To me, it doesn’t feel as smooth as before. Despite being faster there are multiple problems that can ruin the gameplay such as a poor lock-on system and terrible camera control. 
– I also had a hard time navigating through the menus. Especially when customizing the characters, the game needs to do a short loading time every time you switch.
– Story mode is short, similar to Action Unleashed. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any any post-game  content at all.
– Playing by yourself in Multiplay mode can be harder than expected. Some game functions such as tag team are disabled in this mode.
– Not all dialogue is English dubbed. There are a few events that retain the Japanese dubbing, despite the game offering dual audio option.

While the game does seem to be an improvement to Action Unleashed, it also faces some flaws that keep it from being a great game. It is still enjoyable but as a solo player it has a rather short lifeline. Chances are you will be wanting to try out the Multiplay mode and try your luck there, otherwise you won’t be playing this game for long. It isn’t really worth the $40 US so only get it if you enjoyed Action Unleashed and/or are wanting more of the Neptunia series… otherwise wait and see if it goes on discount.

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