Hyperdimension Neptunia is the series that keeps on giving and with MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (I’ll be referring to it as MegaTagmension), the series finally steps into school… with zombies.
If you’ve played Action Unleashed then you’ll know what to expect it as it’s very similar – it’s a hack and slash title with dozens of enemies to mow down with a variety of attacks. MegaTagmension follows the CPU’s and CPU Candidates in school where they’re attending to better understand humans but with the school prepping for closure, they start a film club to try and save it from closing. Blanc acts as Director and scriptwriter with hopes that the film will propel her to stardom, but it isn’t long until their plans for a zombie movie become reality when students are suddenly turned into the living undead! Now it’s up to the CPU’s, their sisters and their friends (newcomer Tamsoft is a likeable and enjoyable new addition to the roster) to save their school and classmates whilst using the opportunity to create their movie. The story is fun and intriguing as is expected from the series and although it does nothing to push the main story, it’s a great detour that’s packed with laughs and references. The main problem here is that it’ll only last you a few hours, leaving online multi-player to be the big draw here and whilst the main mechanics are solid, there’s not a whole lot to do and it’s one of the more barebones games in the series.
Missions are quite short and see you stringing together a variety of attacks to create combos and to defeat the enemies as quickly and stylishly as possible to get the highest score. You’ve got your basic controls such as light and heavy attacks, guarding and special movies, but as is staple in the series, you can transform to boost your attack (usually at the sacrifice of defence) and gain access to even stronger and more bombastic skills. You can call in support (you begin with IF and Compa) and can switch between your 2 playable characters on the go and they both have their own separate gauges when it comes to special moves and transformations. There are a lot of customisation options including colour and costume changes, accessories and weapons and armour. You individually level up each characters stats, one stat at a time, so whilst the system itself is nice it’s also very cumbersome and slow when it easily could’ve not been.
Visually it’s very similar to the other games with character models being seemingly pulled from previous Vita games in the series which, to be fair, still look really good so I have little complaint there. There are new enemies including very comedic-looking zombies and zombiefied enemies from earlier titles which range from adorable to pretty ugly. Arenas provide enough room to comfortable battle but are quite plain and uncreative, and where it’s set within a school the arenas have very little variation and tend to become repetitive quickly. I adore the new 2D character portraits and the school outfits for each character, and the series finds a great fit in its new setting although it has very little to provide for fans past more character interactions, action and new multi-player action.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (I also may have said these exact same words in a previous review for the series) but the Hyperdimension Neptunia games feature some of the best English voiceovers around and this is no exception – it’s a delight to listen to and the OST is pretty jamming to boot. The OST may not have tracks that are quite as memorable as some from Megadimension Neptunia VII, but it’s in tune with what you would expect from the series. If you aren’t a fan of the English voiceover (although I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be!), you can also pick the Japanese voiceover instead – regardless, English subtitles will be present.
I like this game, I do, but MegaTagmension is very similar to Action Unleashed but provides very little new outside of Tamsoft, some other playable characters from newer titles, a new setting and outfits, and there’s not much to entice newcomers but, if anything, it does a good job in ramping up the fan-service and as a fan I still really enjoying seeing how the large cast interact, especially in a new environment. MegaTagmension, like Action Unleashed, is pretty short, suffers from repetition and does very little to shake things up and it’s starting to feel that because Idea Factory and Compile Heart have found a hit with the series, that they’re too eager to push out game after game to get the sales in. There’s a lot of fun to be had here and I still defend the plentiful spin-offs for the series, although it’s hard to not feel that they’re giving you less content now. I’ve enjoyed my time with it and 4-player co-op is a nice addition, but it doesn’t provide enough incentive if you’re getting fatigued with the series or didn’t like Action Unleashed. I love the series and, as a big fan, I’m worried that we’re simply seeing way too many games in the series release in a short period of time. If there are going to be more spin-offs which seems likely, I hope that the high quality is kept up and that Compile Heart are listening to feedback because this series deserves it.