Developer: Crypton Future Media/ Sega
Review Context: If there is a hidden genre I love, it’s music rhythm games. Something about the genre that despite my body size, I don’t mind making a fool of myself at Dance Dance Revolution games at the arcades (RIP). I’ve played the first Project Diva game (Hatsune Miku Project Diva F) and loved the challenge that game brings to the genre.
Date of Playthrough: November 18, 2014 (Release Date)
Computer software company Crypton Future Media created a vocal synthesizer software to give people the ability to create songs with voice samples done by Saki Fujita. By 2008, the software got popular to where the company needed a mascot for the company and created Hatsune Miku. People would see Hatsune Miku’s image for the first time when BMW used Hatsune Miku’s image on a race car. Hatsune Miku’s design is based on “sound of the future,” which is what her name symbolizes. Hatsune Miku is one of the most popular singers in Japan (with a US audience growing to the fact she performed on David Letterman) with her shows selling out. What I like is how her showings are selling out even though its a holographic model performing.
I discovered the popularity of Hatsune Miku when my friend sent me a video of her performance. I was amazed that people were cheering at a hologram, but it was something different. When the game was released in Japan, I saw gameplay footage and wanted to play it for myself. Thankfully, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F was released in the US and I loved the challenge the game brought me. Will the sequel, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd bring new features to Miku and her friends, or will you be hitting yourself with a celery stick for getting excited over nothing?
From the CG opening to the gameplay; the visual while colorful and crisp, hasn’t improved from the first game which isn’t a bad thing. While playing a song you are treated to different scenery for each song making it hard for you to concentrate on the button inputs because you want to watch the music video in the background. The character models show lots of personality in the music videos and in the DIVA room for customization. Once you pass the song you have the option to go back and watch the video without the input to truly appreciate how well done the animation is. If you want to handle the bright visuals to the max, then play the game in 3D. While the level of depth makes it easier to see the button inputs, if you play on a higher difficulty, the fast movements will make you remember why 3D gaming support died.
The goal of the game is to match the button icon at the right moment is showed on screen. You think that’s it? Nope. There are other icons you have to look out for on higher difficulty that will have you press the button and the direction on the D-pad, while a star icon will have you flick the left, right, or both analog sticks. Games like this will help you remember button placement on the controller whether you like it or not. To make sure your button inputs are spot on, there is an option to calibrate your TV to make up for the HD lag.
What makes this game stand out from other music games is with other music games you have a character in the background dancing to the beat. In this game you have a story being played out to the music with a background and multiple scenes(reminds me of when MTV used to play music videos). Yes, they are dancing, but you understand why they are dancing.
The amount of content in this game makes sure you have a hard time taking a break. The main mode has you unlocking over forty songs on each difficulty. Normal difficulty has the icons display fast and from multiple directions to where you have to be fully focused on the game, but if you play on the easy setting the game makes fun of you by moving the icons real slow.
When you pass a song you unlock items to customize your diva in the diva room. There you can interact with Miku, Rin and others. You can buy new clothes, customize their room, and give them gifts to increase their self-confidence. Sega knows that the long delay of bringing the game stateside cause some people to import the game. As a gift for the importers, if you have save data from the Japanese version it will be imported into this game. Seeing that option available is a nice touch for the niche fanbase.
If you have what it takes to make a great music video then Edit mode will keep you busy for a long time. Once you’ve made your video, you can upload your performance on PSN. From there you can rank and download other people’s videos. If making videos isn’t your thing, you can watch performances based on Magical Miku’s Tour 2013 in the Live Studio. You can sit back and watch, or you can interact by moving camera angles and having the crowd shake their glow sticks.
Photo Studio has you making custom photos with the divas that you can save as a high quality jpeg file and make it a theme photo for your PS3 system.
If you happen to own both the PS3 and Vita version of the game you can transfer save data between platforms for crossplay.
The biggest factor in music rhythm games is to have good music to keep you playing the game to unlock more songs and this doesn’t disappoint. Songs range from happy and upbeat to bittersweet. Some fan favorites from the first game return and as a series first you can turn on English subtitles. The singing is done in Japanese, so if you are not alone while playing this game, you will have people wondering what you are playing/ watching. If this is why Japanese pop music is popular, I’m glad to discover this blue haired, singing diva.
Similar Games Liked:
Dance Central 2 (Xbox 360)
DJ Hero (PS3)
Rock Band Blitz (PS3)
Similar Games Disliked:
Tap Tap Revenge 2 (iOS)