MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies Review
MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies takes the already bizarre concept of anthropomorphized game consoles fighting in a world full of memes and throws it into a school setting.
The four CPU Goddesses are attending Gamicademi, a place that allows the rulers to become closer to their subjects. With enrollment at a dangerously low level, the school is threatened by closure (you would think the CPUs could snap their fingers and stop that from happening, but I digress).
To avoid this from happening, the Film Club gets together to create a student movie about zombies in order to draw in outside interest and improve their numbers. Blanc has been appointed both the writer and director - feeding her ulterior motive of becoming a legendary author - and the rest of the cast acts in the different roles of the script.
Soon, the students discover that their school is actually overrun by zombies. Seeing a good opportunity when it presents itself, they decide to use these creatures to provide a good dose of realism to their no-budget production.
This seems like the perfect opportunity for MegaTagmension to inject its trademark humor. While Blanc acts as the protagonist of this game, Neptune constantly tries to make her presence known.
The student film also becomes more contrived as the game goes on, to the point that I feel there must have been at least ten acts shoved into a simple premise. Just know that you will have to stick with the plot for a few hours before the comedy really hits its mark.
And while the jokes miss more than they hit, I had plenty of laugh-out-loud moments thanks to the constant jabs at another’s expense, such as Nepgear only being used as background fodder and Noire using her class vice president role to abuse her power.
From the game menu, you are given a chance to change your character's equipment, purchase items, assign ability points, and check out the different unlockables you can earn by gathering the right materials.
Before the battle begins, you can also decide on a partner to bring with you into the fight. From what I can tell, there's no benefit from choosing specific partners outside of raising their Lily Ranks.
Anyone who has played Neptunia U will be real comfortable with the combat. While the tutorial can be a little convoluted, you really only have to know that the Square button lets you do a weak attack and the Triangle button lets you do a strong attack. You can chain together combos using these buttons while also unlocking new ones in the character build menu.
Holding the shoulder buttons and pressing Cross lets you transform into a CPU’s HDD form; holding those shoulder buttons and hitting Circle lets you tag in your partner. It can be a little confusing to start with, but once you get the hang of it, the combat can be enjoyable.
While the story has its moments, the gameplay leaves quite a bit to be desired. I wish the game played into the story that the students are trying to tell. Instead, we see a lot of repeated use of levels with action taking place in a small area of the map and last a mere couple of minutes.
Production-wise, a lot of the assets in MegaTagmension have been pulled from Neptunia U, particularly the enemies and boss characters. There is the welcome addition of Tamsoft (this game’s developer and my favorite new character) and some of the monsters have been dressed up to fit in with the zombie theme the game portrays.
I would have loved to see maps that fit in with the insane plot the students were telling. To be fair, it never really bothered me since I have become numb to that having an effect on the appeal of this series. And hey, both the English and Japanese voice actors did a terrific job with the material presented.
On the other hand, the game can be real sluggish at times. A match may sometimes end prematurely despite several zombies still existing in the stage without any explanation. There are also framerate issues when too many objects enter the screen at once, though never to point of becoming unplayable.
Some enemies stay completely still when they spawn until you hit them. While other Neptunia games have sped up their loading times to an almost negligible delay, the interface here is sluggish in comparison. It can actually take longer to set up your character and get into battle than it takes to complete the level itself.
The online multiplayer mode essentially acts as a solid way to give the game staying power considering all you have left is to play the single player mode over and over with different characters.
Thankfully, this feature has its own exclusive set of quests, monsters, and bosses to keep the experience fresh. It also offers a good amount of customization, such as the ability to set a password, select a goal for the room, filter by player rank, and decide the quest level the group will challenge themselves to.
Up to four players can join a lobby with a host, and while there isn’t a manual text entry, there are a ton of preset chat options that do a very good job in getting your message across.
This not only acts as a great way to give the game staying power, but also a way to level up your character to take into the story mode. It’s a great feature and a fun time with friends, which is a shame that the best parts of the game are hidden here.
When you do beat the single player, you can unlock a Bonus Skill feature that lets you break the game with options such as becoming invincible and dealing one-hit kills. It's a good dose of dumb fun, though that can only be used in single player.
MegaTagmension presents an unspectacular experience that could have presented a lot more with the concept it had. When put side-by-side with Neptunia U, I had a far better time with the latter - at least when it came to the single player mode.
Thankfully, the multiplayer helps wash away a decent amount of the qualms I had with the game. Coupled with the entertaining combat and good voice work, this helps to raise the game to an above-average adventure.