MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies is not only a mouthful to say, but it’s also a departure from the other games in the Hyperdimension series. MegaTagmension takes place within the grounds of Gamicademi, a high school that the CPU’s have begun attending in order to learn more about humans. Unfortunately Gamicademi is on the brink of being closed down due to a lack of new enrollment and it’s up to Blanc and friends to save the school by…making a zombie movie! That’s right, it’s one of the most ridiculous premises imaginable but it makes for one interesting story and fits the tone of the game. Appearing for the first time in a Neptunia game is online multiplayer. With an entire assortment of missions separate from the campaign that were made specifically for the online multiplayer mode, the online lobbies are surprisingly still populated and it’s easy to find a game.
Neptune VS Zombies sees a break away from the turn-based combat the series is known for and swaps it out for a third-person action combat system that is typically found in other musou games. While Zombies isn’t the first title to provide action combat, it is the first spin-off from the main series I’ve played. Providing the framework for the combat system is Tamsoft, who has also been personified into an in-game character like IF and Famitsu have in the past. Combat is relatively smooth and easy to get a hang of, but on your first mission the game bombards you with about 10 pages full of tutorials at once. Trying to absorb that much information makes it difficult to remember how to pull off special attacks without pulling up the tutorial menu. I can’t grasp why Compile Heart didn’t opt-in to offering a small tutorial stage that allows you to organically learn all the controls and combos, as it would have made things sail much smoother. Neptune VS Zombies plays as a typical action musou where you’re tackling dozens of enemies at once- in this case zombies, afterwards tackling a stage boss. It works really well with the combat system as the combos and attacks flow seamlessly and there’s a good sense of weight to each attack.
When you’re not fighting zombies, you’re greeted to the traditional visual novel style gameplay that progresses the entertaining but ridiculous story. Blanc and friends having decided to save the school from closing down come to the conclusion that the best course of action is to make a zombie movie using Gamicademi as the setting. Ironically while filming the movie, real zombies invade the school so the girls come to the logical conclusion of using the real zombies in place of actors. Each scene in the movie is represented as a stage where you get exposition then gameplay. It’s a relaxing mix of combat and story that really hits some high notes.
Between the combat and visual novel sections, you’ll be able to buy items and upgrade your character’s abilities. There are a multitude of different weapons to purchase, which makes experimenting with what works best for each character a fun timesink. Leveling up your character’s abilities can feel like a chore since there are so many characters to choose from and the menu system is a bit clunky since you have to commit to each upgrade path instead of being able to do multiple at once. On top of weapons and abilities you can also obtain and purchase cosmetic items to dress up your characters with, change their hair color and swap outfits.
While Zombies is a port of the Vita version, MegaTagmension runs and looks great at a high resolutions, but having no graphical settings otherwise is a disappointment. While I don’t think anyone plays this series for its graphics, it would have been nice to be able to tinker with some graphical options. On the plus side, MegaTagmension offers both English and Japanese voice options which is a big plus in my book as I tend to prefer the original Japanese voices over the English dub. You’re also given all of the DLC that was released on the Vita version for free with the base PC price.
Overall MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies is a great entry to the series and a welcome change of pace with the introduction of Gamicademy and zombies. With a ridiculous premise, hilarious dialogue and great combat, I can easily call MegaTagmension my favorite title in the series thus far. The introduction of a multiplayer mode assuming it will remain decently populated means MegaTagmension offers the highest amount of replay value the series has seen so far.
Release Date - October 3, 2017
Special thanks to Idea Factory International for providing a review code