Review: MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (PSV/PSTV)

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Platforms:

  • PlayStation Vita

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
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Title: MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies
Format: Game Card / PlayStation Network Download (1.6 GB)
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Developer: Tamsoft / Compile Heart
Original MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: T
MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies is exclusive to PlayStation Vita.
The PlayStation Vita download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

In addition to being a mouthful to say, MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies is a spinoff from the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. This game focuses on the character Blanc as she sets out to create a zombie movie.

Gameplay:
MegaTagmension is primarily a Brawler between action scenes within the single-player story mode. The plot revolves around Blanc as she directs a zombie film for the high school, utilizing the other characters from the Neptunia universe. As you play through the story mode, more and more characters will become available for you to take into the fighting stages.

As for the fighting gameplay, you are presented with a screen where you can choose two characters to take into the level. Each of the characters has her own attack style which range from blunt to slice attacks as well as four special attacks.

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Since you can take two characters into each battle, you’re able to freely swap between both of them. I’m assuming that’s the reason why the title of the game is Mega-TAG-mension – because you can tag out to swap to your other character. When you swap characters, the one in waiting will recharge their health.

The control system is fairly complex for a game like this, and it took me a bit to get used to all of the various button combinations. There are four special attacks per character. To execute them you have to hold down the trigger buttons and hit one of the face buttons.

In addition to the four special attacks, you also have button combinations for a Lily Special attack (two person attack) and to transform into your character’s powerful form.

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The battles that occur between each action scene take place in different locales such as a high school, forest, city street, etc. and are fairly large and empty. Usually you’ll appear in one section of the map and the enemies will warp into your location.

There’s a counter on the right side of the screen that says how many zombies are left, so once you’ve destroyed a cluster of enemies you’ll sometimes need to hunt for another cluster.

… replay the stages as many times as you wish …
Spread throughout the various battle stages, you’ll go up against large bosses that do loads of damage and can be very challenging. Sometimes you’ll need to grind up a bit and level up plus upgrade your character’s stats and weapons in order to progress.

After each stage, you’re rewarded with a score. I’m not quite sure what all of the possible scores are for the stage completions, but I seem to range from S to SSS (which is the maximum) for each stage. You can replay the stages as many times as you wish to earn money, experience, and treasure parts.

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Playing stages with the same partner will increase your affinity with that character, and I believe the affinity strengthens the Lily Special attack.

When you level up enough, you’ll gain AP points that you can spend to increase your character’s health, EXE (special attack meter), as well as defense, power, and to learn new techniques. Also as you level up each character, she’ll also gain more button combos.

… the areas seem to be oversized …
Each playable character has her own level and stats and they do not level up when they’re not used. In order to max out a character, you will need to bring her along into a stage in order to gain experience. Leveling new characters is a bit of a chore, but it’s easy enough to do.

When I got access to a new character, I’d take her into a level that is a bit more challenging, like a boss fight, and this seemed to speed up the process of leveling up considerably.

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The battle system overall is sort of mediocre, but it’s generally fun. The battle areas are fairly empty and seem to be sort of a waste of space. I suppose though that they could have been made larger to make way for other players in the multiplayer, but if you’re playing the story mode, the areas seem to be oversized.

I did have a few issues with the fighting mechanics. There is a way to lock-on to an enemy but it seems very sporadic, not always targeting who you’re locking-on to. For example, when you’re fighting a boss, sometimes they’re surrounded by a crowd of smaller enemies.

… the lock-on does not switch to the next available enemy …
The lock-on in this game forces you to single out the enemy, point towards it, then hold down a trigger button until a reticle pops up. There’s no way that I could find to switch between enemies in lock-on mode.

To add to the frustration, when you kill an enemy that you’re locked-on to, the lock-on does not switch to the next available enemy. To make matters worse, since the block is mapped to the opposite trigger button, I seemed to want to hit the wrong trigger to block, which ended up canceling my lock-on.

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I also thought the game didn’t really explain what a lot of the enemies you’re fighting are. Of course the game does have zombies which are pretty easy to understand, but a ton of other weird enemies are also introduced. Perhaps these are recurring enemies from the other games, but since I’ve never played a Neptunia game before, they had no significance to me.

As far as the game’s plot and story are concerned, it’s not very deep, which is to be expected. However, I found the story to not be very coherent either.

… I’ve gotten completely lost …
At first, Blanc is making a film with zombies, using the students as actors to play the zombies. Then, the story seems to imply that the characters are actually real zombies, but later in the next scene or two, that plot line disappears completely.

Perhaps I missed something, but the story seems to jump back and forth between what’s supposed to be the “movie” and the regular dialog between the characters, but there’s no obvious transition, so I’ve gotten completely lost.

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Visuals:
The visuals are as to be expected for a PS Vita game, though I have seen better graphics in other games such as Freedom Wars. However, I don’t think spectacular graphics are necessarily what this game is aiming for.

The hand-drawn artwork for the action scenes is very good. The characters are drawn very well and have very bright, bold colors.

… English and Japanese voice tracks …
Audio:
The audio is fairly good, but I don’t believe it utilizes surround sound. I primarily play my PS Vita games on the PS TV, and I’m pretty sure other games do have surround. This isn’t a huge deal, but it would be a nice thing to have for the battle sections, since it’s a third person perspective brawler.

As far as voice acting and the quality of the soundtrack, those are done very well. The game has both English and Japanese voice tracks and I believe that I heard some familiar voices from other titles. I played the game with the English voice track and it was pretty good with none of the voices being too annoying.

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Online/Multiplayer:
Probably the primary focus of the game is its four-player multiplayer. I was able to play quite a few rounds with one other person and it does seem that the multiplayer is the very best way to get the most out of your characters.

The person that I connected with had spent quite a bit of time playing and was pretty far along. I was able to tag along with him in some of the more difficult multiplayer stages and was granted massive amounts of money and experience for my characters.

… a fairly mediocre experience …
As far as performance is concerned, the game does dip pretty far down in framerate at times. The connection was generally stable, but I did get kicked out once or twice. Unfortunately, when one person gets kicked out, the stage is ended very abruptly and you automatically win it.

It seems like there should be some way to compensate for a dropped character, but it didn’t seem to break the game, at least with just two players. I could imagine that if it happens a lot with three or more characters, it could get very frustrating.

Overall though, I did have quite a bit of fun playing in the multiplayer sections, so if you have someone to play the game with, it’s definitely worth it to play online.

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Conclusion:
MegaTagmenion is a pretty fun game but is overall a fairly mediocre experience. The story tends to not make much sense at times, but I don’t believe the story is the main focus for a game like this.

If you’re looking for a generally good brawler for the PS Vita and you’re not looking for the greatest graphics and story, then this is a pretty fun game. I don’t have any knowledge of the Neptunia games, and while I was a bit lost, I still was able to enjoy it.

If you’re already a fan of the Neptunia series, and you’re looking for a brawler for your handheld, this game is for you.

Score:
6.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature.

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