The Hyperdimension Neptunia series has recently been trying more and more new things and while new lands and characters are (of course) expected, recently it has gone into new time periods and even into industries on the peripheral of gaming. This time it’s not only plot, but the very characters themselves changing. The results? Well, let’s see…
The MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune vs Zombies story kicks off with Blanc as the new lead character. This time we’re in high school, and all the girls are studying abroad among humans. As the name of the game promises, zombies come into play when the girls decide to make a zombie movie….and accidently cause a Dawn of the Dead. From here you and possibly several other players playing simultaneously (oh yeah, it’s multiplayer-capable) need to take out the zombies, learn about humans and somehow complete high school in this alternate dimension. Overall it’s not a bad story and keeps the series fresh. It’s much like how Archer can go from Spy series to Smuggler series to Detective series. It keeps it fresh, and in this case, it pulls it off quite well.
The Vita handles quite well too. The Vita is being used more and more in games, and as time goes by, you can see it get more and more refined. MegaTagmension Blanc’s controls work out just fine. A few of the combos can cause your thumbs to fly all over the place and sometimes you are reduced to button mashing random buttons during a more intense fight, but overall the controls get the job done. Gameplay is a little off though, as it gets generic with bunches of enemies splashing up every single time – it’s less exploration and you just being there to fight.
When it comes to graphics it starts to falter. The still art is, as always, quality stuff. But when gameplay is involved it goes into a mixed bag. The characters themselves, like Blanc and Neptune, look right out of a manga. Outside of that and it gets a little weird. The zombies are way cartoonish and contrast sharply with the main characters. It’s two different art styles smashed together and it looks off. While battling around it also turns generic. Entire rooms have only a few objects in them, while outdoors it’s generic and looks copy-paste. I know there are limits on the Vita, but it’s a weird combo and actually takes away from the experience.
The music and sound are also a little mixed. They all are on time, with sounds sounding immediately after you hit a button, and the character yelling crisply and clearly during gameplay, and speak perfectly during text screens. The music is very familiar for anyone who has played before, but after so many games, it’s starting to lean on being generic JRPG music. Down notes are on repetitive shouts (the characters grunts start to sound the same and it gets hard to differentiate some, although that may just be the voice acting). Monsters grunting only seem to have one sound they repeat over and over again. It can be rhythmic, but it also shows how few sounds there. Overall, not bad considering the limitations of the Vita, but it is definitely noticeable.
Here’s where the game gets a lower score – glitches and lag. It may partially be the Vita, but some combos take a while to compute. Load times are also a teensie bit long, but even with longer load times, when a bunch of enemies are on screen, the animation seems to go in a blocky-slow motion way for a split second. The sound even goes a little haywire at times – when several enemies are hit, it starts with one enemies hit sound, only for the next enemy to chime in, and so on. There aren’t too many glitches, just a few clip issues, but the lag is noticeable. Even though it’s less than a second, it is noticeable.
While not as good or as polished as previous installments, MegaTagmension Blanc offers a good entry in the series. Some graphics, sound and lag issues prevail, and some are noticeable, and it feels a little shorter, as if some parts were left out. Plus the whole zombie idea seems way too used and saturated nowadays. But it still has a lot working for it, with it’s more traditional art, style, new multiplayer options and radical new story being highlights of the game. If you enjoyed others in the series, you’ll enjoy this one for sure. Just don’t expect it to be your favorite entry. It's more style and story over gameplay.
Final Score: 8.6 out of 10