Thanks to Idea Factory International for the review code
Title: MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies
System: Playstation Vita/TV
Release date: 05/10/2016
The main game/story
Before we get into the story, its important to clarify that this is the very first game related to the Neptunia franchise that I have placed. Therefore, any inaccuracies or errors regarding the universe that I may make in the review is entirely my fault, but rest assured I did play though this game for quite a while, so I feel I’ll be able to get the gist of things nevertheless. So, action!
The main premise of the game is that the High School Blanc and her friends are attending is at risk of shutting down due to low interest from the outside. In a last-ditch effort to save the school and get people talking about it, Blanc puts her screenwriting abilities to the test, forming a film club to recruit members to make movies to help both her and the school achieve stardom. Starting off with a Zombie movie, things are going according to plan, until actual zombies start popping up during production…
During story scenes, you have your standard visual novel display, with images of the characters talking in front of certain backgrounds to set the scene. With each character using their official artwork and reacting appropriately, these cutscenes do look rather nice, even if a couple of them can drag on for a while. The game isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself, and some of the characters will give expressions that show off just that.
The pre-battle menus are bright and simple to navigate, making purchasing items at the shop or uncovering treasure quick and easy. During the actual fight scenes the visuals are just as good, with 3D characters models running around in a variety of backgrounds fighting a wide assortment of enemies, most of which look comically cute or just plain silly. Speaking of the backgrounds, there are only a handful that appear during the main story, which means that while you may spawn at different locations during the game, you better get used to seeing the same background for multiple levels.
Music and Sound
With a nice variety of electrical instruments, Blanc Vs Zombies has a very nice OST, with quite a few great themes to listen to as you defeat hordes of Zombies. Unfortunately, due to a minor issue with the stage length that I’ll mention in the Gameplay Section, it’s very likely you won’t hear these themes for too long, which is a shame as some of them are very good. Luckily you can listen to them in full in the game’s Gallery mode, so there’s still a good way to listen to these nice melodies.
Outside of music, we also have Voice acting, yet another major part of the game. With both English and Japanese options, fans can feel free to choose which one they prefer, as both options fit the characters quite well, with me personally having more of an attachment to the English VAs due to their stellar performance. The voice actors clearly had a lot of fun when recording their lines, and it manages to make an already silly game feel more playful and light-hearted without becoming overly cheesy.
Since the main story is fully voiced, you’ll also be able to listen to the voice actors grow along with their respective characters, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, in a few minor cutscenes the dialogue is only read in Japanese for some unknown reason, making some scenes feel a bit odd if you are like me and prefer the english VAs. Still, it’s only a minor complaint due to this affecting only a few of the many voiced cutscenes in the game, and if you use the Japanese voices you won’t notice anything out of the ordinary.
At its core, Blanc Vs Zombies feels an awful lot like a Warriors game, but without all the fancy, complex tasks of capturing bases. In single player, you take control of up to two characters and send them into a wide variety of missions, usually with a simple objective of defeating a certain amount of enemies. Depending on the stage, it could either be all normal enemies, a certain type of enemy or just simply defeating a boss enemy. These stages are usually rather short, with most of them taking anywhere between 30 seconds to three minutes to complete, and you get ranked depending on your performance in each stage, with SSS (Super Strike Student) being the best.
Unfortunately, the game starts off incredibly easy, allowing you to defeat all the enemies with a weak character in no time at all. Thankfully the game does get tougher with the more scenes you unlock, so it’s no walk in the park either. While I feel that having to wait until Scene 7 (After the halfway point) for the game to get challenging is a bit too much, it does offer plenty of time to get used to the control of each character unlocked at that point, with a few more getting unlocked the further you go in the story. Since the characters get stronger via a level up system, which distributes points that you can assign to certain stats, there’s plenty of ways to level up other party members, and that’s just in the single player mode, which accelerates rather quickly for a game of this type.
That being said, a moderately short single player mode would make the game feel a bit boring after a while, wouldn’t it? Luckily Blanc Vs Zombies has a backup plan in the form of the multiplayer mode, where the game truly shines. With up to three other teammates you can work together to defeat tough bosses or waves of enemies in unique missions exclusive to this mode, where teamwork is crucial. In the single player mode, if one character is knocked out you automatically get control of the other one you chose, but in Multiplayer, the other teammates are the ones who you’ll need to rely on, and if all team members lose their health points its game over. There’s even special quests that take place on certain days of the week, offering more of a reason to check back every day to give it another go.
While I had to wait until after the game officially launched to test this mode out, I had a lot more fun with this mode than I did the single player, simply because of how satisfying it was to save a team member from the brink of death or work together to defeat enemies and get a higher rank. What makes this even better is that all characters are unlocked from the start in this mode, and everything gained goes towards the single player as well, making it a perfect mode for completing the treasure sets or getting stronger weapons for each character. And yes, this mode supports both local and online multiplayer as well, making it easy to pair up with fellow gamers to defeat those goofy zombies!
In conclusion, Blanc Vs Zombies was a game I didn’t have much expectations for at all when I first started it. I figured it would bore me in the same way that Trillion did, but surprisingly, it did the opposite, hooking me in and giving me motivation to progress through the story and level up my characters. While the story mode isn’t too long, there is quite a bit to do online, and the fact that there are a nice assortment of trophies to collect make this game an easy recommendations for those wanting to kill a few hours defeating Zombies. On the Vita you could play online at home, gain new equipment and items to use as you go about your daily business in the single player mode, but if you’re like me and only have a PSTV, I would still recommend playing this game for how fun the game is overall and the quality of the online multiplayer. Just be sure to have a few friends to help you out!
I give MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune Vs Zombies an 8 out of 10, and strongly recommend it to all Vita owners looking for a satisfying yet engaging hack-and-slash experience. Be sure to bring a buddy or three along!