Throughout the years we have seen the Hyperdimension Neptunia series stretch across numerous genres but only once have these games chosen to focus on a different heroine than Neptune herself. While Noire may have had some time to shine in her own strategy game, it is time for Blanc to step up to the plate with an action game similar in many ways to Hyperdimension Neptunia U. So now that MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies has been released in the West, is it worth your time?
In an effort to keep things feeling fresh, this time around MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies is set in Gamicademi. This happens to be a high school like setting that the goddesses and their younger sisters have chosen to attend in an effort to try and learn more about living as a human and understand their followers a bit better. The only problem is, despite the cute girls joining the school the nation (just like Japan) is suffering from population decline and school enrollment is at an all-time low.
Due to the low number of attendees, the school is set to be closed at the end of the year and just like a certain idol anime series, these girls refuse to sit around and let the school they’ve grown attached to be shut down. Initially Blanc only concerns herself with reading every book in the library before the school is shut down, but after hearing the cries of her young sisters, Ram and Rom, she stumbles across zombies.
After dispatching these strange enemies, Blanc learns that they were simply extras in Neptune’s plan to film a zombie flick in order to help make the school popular and raise the attendance rate. In an effort to not only help the school but also fulfill her desire to be a writer, Blanc steps into the heroine role by taking on every role, including main heroine, director, and screenwriter, in order to produce a film that goes completely off the rails thanks to the fact that almost immediately after making this decision, the school is actually invaded by hordes of undead.
As is standard with this series, the humor comes at a rapid fire pace as numerous parodies are made of not only the franchise but also other series that are related to the premise, the industry in general, and of course plenty of references to pop culture. The humor remains a top-notch aspect of the game though it does appear to be a bit less funny this time around, though mostly because of just how ridiculous the characters end up reacting to the way the story progresses. The characters continue to make jabs at one another while they fill in their own roles that are far removed from the standard fair that fans are used to.
There are even bonus bits of dialogue that players can unlock in an effort to encourage players to replay levels more than once. You see, when selecting a “cut” to play through players will select two girls to play as and occasionally there will be specific events that will play out when the right pairs are selected, such as choosing to fight as Ram and Rom or Nepgear and the new character Tamsoft. This new character serves as a fun little addition to the roster that features nearly all of the main characters in the series, including the return of Peashy, Megadimension’s Uzume, as well as Famitsu and Dengekiko, though fans of IF and Compa may be disappointed to hear that they are not playable this time around.
As mentioned before, for every battle players will select two characters to bring into the fight and while some characters are unavailable from the start, they will be available very quickly as MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies is not a very long title. One thing that does add some longevity to this game is how every character has their own unique fighting style and set of special attacks to learn.
Combat is handled in a predictable fashion with light and heavy attacks being mixed together with combos, a small SP gauge used for skill attacks, and an EXE gauge that fills up by dealing and receiving damage. The controls will likely be a bit of a mess at first as the game provides a few cluttered tutorial screens explaining how to perform various EXE attacks which range from transforming into the character’s HDD or advanced form, unleashing a devastating Lily Attack skill that deals more damage the higher the Lily rank is between partners, and more.
It doesn’t take too long to master this after a bit of trial and error but there really isn’t much room for trial here, nor room for error but not in the way you would usually expect. I say that because this is an incredibly easy game to make your way through, with some battles lasting a mere fifteen seconds. This means that the loading time can occasionally be longer than the actual fight you’ll be dropped into. Obviously bringing in under leveled fighters to grind or provide yourself more of a challenge is an option but for the most part players will be clearing levels with no problem. The only real challenge comes in the forms of boss battles with foes that are usually quite large and can actually dish out some dangerous levels of damage if you aren’t careful.
While the core game is unfortunately not very long due to the shorter nature of levels, players are encouraged to replay to uncover aforementioned bonus scenes as well as items that can unlock bonus costumes for their characters. The title is also extended by including a highly enjoyable multiplayer mode that pits up to four players against the undead in a set of brand new missions and enemies that won’t be found in the single player. As such taking on some of the more difficult foes with other players is an absolute blast, though it is possible to do these missions solo if you’ve leveled enough.
Visuals & Audio
Placing everyone’s favorite Neptunia characters and placing them in a school setting has given the developers an excuse to give every character in the game a breezy school girl outfit that provides plenty of fan service, though considering the cloth ripping is out players don’t have to worry about things appearing too fan-service heavy outside of a few bonus CGs. There are various costumes to unlock and the designs of the HDD forms remain the same as before and it is worth noting that while a number of enemies have been redesigned to look zombie themed, a number of them have simply been transitioned over with little reason.
As far as the voice work is concerned, fans will be happy to hear that the English voice cast for the characters continue to handle the characters extremely well and considering how long they’ve been voicing these girls, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. What does come off a bit surprising however are certain bonus scenes that can be unlocked that are presented in Japanese only. The soundtrack for the title is fairly standard fair and doesn’t appear to add much to the experience outside of a catchy opening theme.
MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies is Blanc’s time to take the spotlight and unfortunately for her it also comes with one of the shortest stories in the entire series. The game features a solid combat system with fluid combo systems and incredibly flashy moves but battles often end all too quickly. That being said, those who are fans of the girls will still find the same charming humor and character interaction taking place in a fresh setting with a title that ends up being a flawed but fun brawler.
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.