*Please ignore the flashing segment over Purple Heart in the video review. That is not part of the game. It is an error in my video editing software that appeared no matter how many times I tried to edit or put in different clips
Title: Megatagmension Blanc + Neptune vs Zombies
Developer: Compile Heart, Idea Factory, Tamsoft
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 1.5 GB
NA Availability: Digital Download | Retail
EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail
PSTV Support: Yes
Hyperdimension Neptunia has been all over the Vita for the past couple years. Counting today;s review and the upcoming Neptunia vs Sega Hardware Girls, we will have 3 main games (Re;Birth 1, 2, and 3) and 5 spin-off games (Producing Perfection, Noire, U: Action Unleashed, Sega Hardware Girls, and Zombies). The series is continually growing and with Neptune, Nepgear, Noire, Blanc, IF, and Vert (soon) having their own games, you wonder what they’re coming out with next.
Today’s review is on a Neptunia game that is, for all intents and purposes, sequential with Action Unleashed. This is in the fact that Action Unleashed started the Neptunia series’ introduction of an action game with RPG elements. Today’s game is made by Tamsoft, the makers of Action Unleashed and the Senran Kagura games, and is the introduction of a multiplayer game in the franchise.
Here is my official review of Megatagmension Blanc + Neptune vs Zombies!
The Gamindistri presented in this game is separate from the main series. In this game, the CPUs that govern and watch over each nation befriend humans and work together to learn more about human culture. To do so, the CPUs and CPU Candidates join a school on a small island, called Gamicademi. Although, while there, the school is on the verge of closing down.
To help bring interest and recognition to the school, Blanc is recruited by the Film Club to make a zombie movie. In the process of making this movie, however, real zombies appear all around the island, putting the students in both a bad and advantageous situation all in one. While talking care of the zombie threat, Blanc and the Film Club continue to make their movie, intending to save the academy from closing down and from being overrun by zombie hordes all at once.
The story in this game is completely silly with mostly being comedy, as opposed to overall serious plot. Granted, it’s a much more interesting story than Action Unleashed and does come together with a serious and sound closing, thanks to Uzume and some plot points too spoiler-ish to put into this review. It’s entertaining, but don’t expect an epic and serious plot.
This is an arena action game with RPG elements thrown into the mix. Like Action Unleashed, you will be exploring a 3D arena while fighting hordes of enemies and bosses in the process of completing a mission objective, be it defeating so many enemies or making a boss spawn to take down. There are also some multiplayer elements, as this game not only has single player, but multiplayer as well.
Since this is very similar to U, the biggest thing to know is how the roster has changed. All of the characters from Action Unleashed are here, so you have Neptune, Noire, Vert, Blanc, Nepgear, Uni, Rom, Ram, Dengekiko, and Famitsu. Joining this game is the newcomer Tamsoft, Plutia and Peashy from Re;Birth 3, and Uzume from Megadimension Neptunia VII.
When you boot the game, you already have all game modes unlocked. You have the choice of Story Mode, Multiplay, Gallery, and Config. Pretty easy to figure out, all in all. First of all, Gallery is where you can watch unlocked events, music tracks, etc and Config is used to change the game’s settings, like voice language, camera controls, and using Default Settings.
Story Mode is divided into its own menu. This lets you use Action, which lets you play through all of the story missions of the game. The next is Setup, letting you customize your characters with equipment, increasing stats, and checking Lily Rank status. Treasure allows you to use materials you’ve obtained from missions to unlock costumes. Shop allows you to buy new equipment, weapons, and items. Finally is Config, which is the same as the Config option from the Title Menu.
Story Mode missions are comprised of Chapters called Scenes. There are 12 chapters in the game, each with their own set of missions to go through. Unlocking the next chapter is a matter of playing through all missions of the previous chapter with a high enough rank that the next chapter will unlock for you.
Multiplayer is a little different. This allows you to do Ad Hoc or Online co-op matches with up to 3 other players. You can create rooms or join already-existing rooms to tackle the many multiplayer-only missions.
Combat in Story Mode is different from Multiplayer, so we need to discuss how they’re different. When you go into a mission, you will be placed in a 3D arena full of enemies to fight. You will fight them with combinations of light and heavy attacks as well as skills and using Share Energy gained from defeating enemies to transform into more powerful forms or use ultimate attacks for high damage output.
In Story Mode, you choose two characters for a mission. You control one character at a time and can switch between them any time of your choosing, so long as you are standing on ground. There is a balance done here between the characters because the character not being used is constantly regenerating health as long as they’re in the rear. If a character dies, however, the secondary character is used and it can take a good 2-3 minutes for that KO’d character to revive. It is generally easier to manage by switching out when your health gets low to avoid that revive cooldown.
In Multiplayer, there is no switching and no transforming. You are just one character (normal or transformed) just as any other player is. When a player is KO’d and another is not, there is a cooldown time to revive. However, if you tackle multiplayer missions on your own, the mission fails when you get KO’d.
Aside from this is customization to help you. Certain items can be equipped for temporary effects, but exclusive to Story Mode are support characters. Across your time in the story, you will unlock support characters that will recharge and be able to use special effects for you every so often. For example, IF will grant you a temporary attack boost while Dogoo Man can regenerate some health for you.
The actual combo system is very different from that of Neptunia U: Action Unleashed. You still can do combos with the light and heavy attacks, but at the start, you have very little you can do with these. You have to rely more on chaining combos into skills to keep you going until you level enough to be able to learn all of the character’s different combos. Skills have to recharge before you can use another, so there’s a bit of strategy involved.
Speaking of strategy, this game is also harder than Action Unleashed because of how bosses are portrayed and act. Some people felt Neptunia U was an easy button-masher. I won’t say I had an extraordinary amount of difficulty with this game, but each boss presented unique challenges to the point that it was always frustrating to see a certain boss show up. You’ll have to learn patterns and know how to dodge and counter properly with combos to be able to survive the mission.
Finally are the RPG elements. There is a leveling system that increases your stats after you get experience from missions. Leveling also gives you Action Points which are used to increase the character’s HP, Attack, Defense, and learning new combos to use in battle. Utilizing AP and buying weapons will be key to helping you being able to tackle missions easier, in Story and multiplayer.
As far as length is concerned, we need to look at missions. Each story mission took me an average of about 5-6 minutes to do. Some only took a couple minutes while some took 7-8 minutes a piece. With 55 missions to go through in Story, that clocks the game somewhere around 5 hours, give or take. Adding in the unlockable missions for Multiplayer should put it more around 8 hours total, depending on how much training you have to do for multiplayer or how many friends you have to regularly tackle them with you.
Controlling the game is pretty easy to do and explained well to you. The game is compatible with the PlayStation TV, which still makes PP and Re;Birth 1 the only Neptunia games that cannot be played on the micro-console. No special controls on the PSTV, though.
Moving around is done with the Left Analog Stick and you can move the camera with the Right Analog Stick. The D-Pad can be used to toggle the mission description, command list, and a cinematic camera pause (like when you pause in Super Smash Bros.). The L and R triggers are used with the face buttons for skills and character-switching/transformations. Then, face buttons. X is used for jumping and Circle for dashing. Square is used for light attacks and Triangle for heavy attacks.
The control scheme, itself, isn’t bad. The one thing I do have an issue with is the camera. There are a lot of times when the camera will be your worst enemy, especially when you’re trying to lock onto an enemy. Not only will the camera zoom in on your body when you get close to a wall, making it extremely hard to see anything, the lock-on doesn’t work unless the camera is in a specific place. That place being the enemy being in front of the camera rather than just being close to you.
Visually, the game looks just as crisp and nice as Action Unleashed did. All of the characters and environments look really well done and beautiful on both the Vita and the PlayStation TV. The music is there as well, providing a mix of tunes from previous games and some newer tunes. Also worth noting is the amount of detail they put into the zombie versions of previous Neptunia enemies and the new zombie enemies for this game.
The way the game places is very nice as well. I didn’t see any significant frame drops across the game, and the latency stays smooth even in 4-player matches over the internet. The developers really did a nice job of utilizing and optimizing the game, for the Vita and for the multiplayer situation.