When this game first came out for the Vita, I told myself I wasn’t going to play it if it was ported to Steam. The reason being is that I didn’t particularly care for Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed, and this was basically the sequel to that. Yet here we are; the game is out on Steam, and I’ve already played for multiple hours. That’s what happens when you let Nep get her hooks into you: she gets you once, and never lets go. So, in the name of my purple-haired slave-driver, let’s see if MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies improved the action Nep model at all.
On a remote island, somewhere in the nation of Gamindustri, lies the prestigious academy Gamicadmi. The CPUs and Candidates, wanting to foster a better relationship with their human citizens, decided to attend Gamicadmi as students. Unfortunately, due to declining birth rates (keeping it topical, Japan), the academy has had a low turnout of students, and will be closing at the end of the current school year. In an effort to save the school, Neptune, as the sole member of the school’s film club, decides to film a zombie horror/action movie to drum up some publicity. Unfortunately, Neptune has no idea what she’s doing, so she begs Blanc, the only CPU with half an idea of how writing works, if that, to help her out. Blanc agrees to join the club on the condition that she can write, and direct the movie. Meanwhile, a mysterious phenomenon begins to occur around the school, transforming the students into delinquent zombies. Since it’s their duty as CPUs to fight the zombies anyway, Neptune and Blanc decide to film their fights and edit in Blanc’s story scenes, since it’ll save money on costumes. And so begins the film club’s efforts to simultaneously make a zombie movie and deal with the zombie invasion.
It’s a silly plot, but silly plots are Neptunia’s bread and butter, and its chock full of meta-jokes and references to create a lighthearted presentation. Though the CPUs are a little out of their element due to the school setting, their quirky personalities still manage to shine through. There was at least one moment in every cutscene that managed to make me crack a smile. I’m especially glad to see the return of Plutia and Peashy from Victory, as well as Uzume Tennouboshi from VII, just for a little extra diversity.
Blanc+ Neptune VS Zombies is an action brawler in the same vein as Senran Kagura; Nep U even had the same clothes tearing mechanics, something that is thankfully absent from this game. You’re given a mission, usually a variation of “kill all the things” or “kill a big thing”, and let loose with two characters in an arena to kill all of said “things”. The lack of mission variety is disappointing, but compared to the incredibly obtuse irregular missions from Nep U, I think I actually prefer the basic “kill all the things” missions. You have light attacks, and heavy attacks that you can mix for combos, though unlike in Nep U, where you got one combo list for the whole story, you gain new combos when your character’s level up which helps to add a bit of an organic progression to things. The EXE meter fills more easily, allowing for more frequent team-up attacks, and desperation EXE Drives. All characters, even the non-CPU ones like Famitsu, Dengekiko, and newcomer Tamsoft, have a transformed state that changes tier equipment and powers them up. However, the EXE meter drains while transformed, so you’ll need to keep an eye on it and change back or tag out.
One of my major gripes about Nep U was its sound design. Primarily due to the fact that attacks from ranged characters like Uni, Rom, and Ram produced next to no sound, which made the combat feel extremely lifeless. This has been remedied in MegaTag, with guns making blast and bang sounds, magical ice shards crackling, as well as the various swords and hammers making a wider variety of wooshing, slashing, and crashing sounds. You’d be surprised how important a satisfying impact sound is to an action game. Wind should make wooshy sounds. It’s not wind otherwise.
Outside of combat, you can buy new weapons and accessories from the store, as well as use rare materials you’ve found in the field to unlock new outfits. You can place multiple cosmetic items on each character; they don’t actually do anything, but it’s kind of funny to put a Neptune plushie on Neptune’s head. Weapons can be outfitted with special upgrade patches that provide passive buffs, and temporary boosts. They are consumed after each mission, so you’ll need to reapply them, which can get a bit tedious if you do it for every character. You can also equip assist characters like IF and Compa, who you can call on during battle for a temporary bonus.
MegaTag isn’t perfect; the combat, despite its improvements, can still get a bit monotonous at times, and the arenas are occasionally too big for their own good. However, with the removal of the major issues like the cryptic irregular missions, the boring sound design, the improvement of combo potential, and the addition of a more cohesive plot (framed by Blanc’s amusingly cringe-worthy writing), I can, at the very least, proclaim it to be a decent, mildly enjoyable experience. I don’t think anyone who doesn’t already like Neptunia would enjoy this game, but if you’re already a Nep convert, the CPU shenanigans can tide you through some occasional repetitive combat.
*Disclaimer: Nerd Theory was provided a copy of MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies Review for review purposes.