MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies
MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies is the latest in a long-running, and longer-titled line of HyperDimension games. The girls of GamiAcademi are doing all they can to save their school, and thus come up with an idea to make a movie. Since zombies are all the rage, and schoolgirls never go out of style, they decide to combine the two into a sure-fire success for a film competition and win enough money to keep the school open.
Neptune is the head of the film club, and has wisely decided to only keep the script in her head – so she doesn’t have to worry about forgetting it. Luckily, Blanc points out that for others to read it, all they have to do is split her head open – so Neptune grabs a physical copy for the benefit of others (and her own cranium). The plot is a wee bit on the bizarre side, but the comedy that the series is known for remains intact.
This holds even more true when the in-game movie plot of schoolgirls vs. zombies comes to life and actual zombies come to attack schoolgirls! Blanc of course turns this turn of events into an idea, as they can’t afford zombie costumes anyway – so now they just need to shoot their real lives and boom, new movie! As usual, the plot is more silly than it is serious and it’s better that way.
The core game keeps the action-heavy style that the franchise is known for, while the structure is a bit more user-friendly. Some of the games have thrown you into battles or dungeons fairly quickly with few checkpoints or save points to rely on. Here, you can save after every battle and after any dialogue exchanges too. It’s a great system to have in place, and perfect for a game on the Vita – but it also works fine for smaller play sessions on a PlayStation TV as well.
The action is fast and never really slows down, but the camera can pose some problems time to time. It’s a common issue for the series since it keeps the camera so close to your characters, but sticks out a bit more here since the game has a more Dynasty Warriors feel to it thanks to you facing dozens of enemies in each battle. This may seem unfair, but the new tag mechanic helps you out.
If you’re in dire straits, you can call in a pair of face-button assists from two of your allies that aren’t in the battle. Also, much like a King of Fighters game, you’ve got a couple of life bars to drain here. You have your primary character that you start with and then if you die, you can keep going with a partner. Each playable ally and your single-attack striker allies can be revived just by waiting around for their respective bars to refill.
Each one operates at a different speed, so you do have to use each sparingly and can’t just spam them or else you’ll wind up in rough shape for a while. Against regular enemies, this won’t kill you much – but it will destroy you against bosses. Here, playing a cat and mouse game is best since they are so much bigger than you and are HP sponges. Running and hiding may not be the most dignified approach, but it is effective – and something you should make use of whenever you can.
Longer battles can still have you battling 20 enemies and then having to beat a boss – so conservation is key. Ideally, you want to only use your regular attacks on the goons and then save everything for bosses. Being careful is key, so rushing in is a sure-fire way to die because respawning your character takes a long time. You can’t go into battle just figuring that death is a slap on the wrist, and the striker attacks don’t do so much damage that one of them alone will turn the tide in your favor. It’s a solid system though, and one that rewards careful play. It also controls well on both the Vita and using either a PS3 or PS4 pad.
The colors pop a bit more on the original Vita’s OLED screen, while the PlayStation TV playback is exceptional. I always keep my PSTV set to 720p to prevent things from looking bad, and it works nicely here since nothing looks blown up or pixellated. Everything looks about as good on a large TV as it would on the Vita – but the color saturation will depend more on your TV than anything else. As per the norm for the series, the in-battle animation is solid – but not amazing. Still, the character models looks very good and the fact that they hold up well in higher resolutions is a clear indication that care was put into making them look as good as possible.
The franchise has always been heavy on voice acting, and it’s the most important part of the game’s audio by far. The cast can usually be relied on to deliver the game’s comedic lines in a way that makes them better, and that holds true here. The writing will have you laughing, and the cast’s chemistry with one another makes things even better. Musically, MegaTagmension is full of energetic J-pop and gets your blood pumping as well – there isn’t anything blow-away, but everything in it is fun to listen to in the game and then bob your head to after a play session.
MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies has a bizarre title and an odd cast of characters, but it’s yet another excellent entry in this diverse franchise. It’s been a turn-based tactical game, action-heavy, and now it’s got some Dynasty Warriors added to the mix. It’s amazing that no matter what kind of gameplay framework a game has, an entry in this series can always be counted on to be really fun – and that holds true here. It’s not the best entry storyline-wise, but it’s one of the best in terms of offering up high-quality gameplay. It’s a fine starter entry for the series too since the plot is essentially a blank slate, so if you haven’t tried it out yet, give MegaTagmension a shot.
Reviewed By: Jeremy Peeples
Publisher: Idea Factory International
This review is based on a digital copy of MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies for the PlayStation Vita provided by Idea Factory International.