- Manufacturer: Crypton Future Media
- Publisher: Konami
- Genre: Rhythm Game
- Release Date: 30/8/16
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
- Game Supplied by: Sega
The Japanese pop sensation Hatsune Miku is back again, with 5 of her chums for another bout of fantastically catchy musical scores to tap, swipe and smash those buttons to, with Hatsune Miku Project Diva X on the PS4 and PS Vita.
Admittedly in the west, the general populace are not really aware of just how big a deal Hatsune Miku is in the far east. As well as her own line of games and merchandise, she also happens to be a bonafide, genuine, legitimate, Japanese Pop star. I kid you not, Hatsune Miku now tours the world performing some magical live music shows.
See the link below and be amazed. The technical term for what you are about to see is called “vocaloid.”
The nearest the Hatsune bandwagon has got to Europe has been in New York, USA. Not touring anywhere near Europe has meant few people in the UK have heard or even know of her. So when one of her games releases, it is actually a big deal in the East.
On the surface of it, it’s hard to understand how a simple rhythm game can be so compelling to play. Surely it’s just like rock band or the like where you press buttons in time to the music. Well yes, and no. Hatsune Miku is, at it’s heart a simple game, but where it excels, more than anything that I have ever played apart from the over the top hack and slash game Bayonetta, is the bombastic, assaulting the senses, bright, colourful, superbly artistic, vibrant and just damn entertaining visuals along with the devastatingly happy catchy music! Put it this way, I myself am a 45 year old man who’s mainly into rock music, but even I enjoy the songs from this Japanese Pop sensation.
The pressure the developers / songwriters are under, means yet again they have to come up with 30 of the best tunes for the game, and they have done that brilliantly in my opinion. There are a few old favourite tunes here in Project X, with tunes such as Freely Tomorrow, making another appearance, ( GREAT song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=975oMBaK9gM ) but in the main, they are all new tracks for for Project Diva X. One of the new songs “Raspberry Monster” here being superbly played and perfected on a Vita system. The skill here is incredible.
Some of the gameplay time is just hitting the notes at the right time, and others are just holding the button down for the correct amount of time. There are also times where you have to swipe the touchpad or flick the left joystick to hit the star notes as they pass. New to Project Diva X, is another function now of smashing the button as quick as you can on a “Rush” note to gain extra points known as voltage.
Also different is the customization aspects. Before the customization was for purely aesthetic pleasure, but now it’s a gameplay factor! Outfits known as “modules” give different percentage boosts to get higher scores. There are also custom add on’s like dog ears, eye patches, and tails, which if matched together or matched to the style of music you’re playing to, again give a boost to your score. In short there is in fact some very light RPG elements !!! Even more shocking, is there is now a very basic storyline and conversation junctions to go through! ( Yes really )
The scene is, Hatsune Miku and her friends need to put on the best shows / songs possible to get as much voltage as possible to restore light to 5 clouded prisms. Each prism is a different style of music. They are Elegant, Cute, Cool, Quirky, and Classic. You can only unlock one prism after completing the one you started with. Each prism contains 5 songs to clear plus a special end of the prism medley to complete. The medleys contain parts of three songs, and are the hardest to complete, even on the easiest setting. To pass these medleys you either have to be damn well near perfect the whole way through or have mastered the outfits and accessories percentage boosters. The latter was actually quite easy and the best way to complete a medley.
During each song there are two technical zones and a chance time zone to complete. Completing the technical zone really boosts a player’s score, but a chance time zone rewards players with new, sometimes very rare modules! (outfits)
As well as the base game with it’s 30 songs and medleys to finish which took me 7 and a half hours to complete, there are festivals to take part in, more rpg elements with gifting other singers presents to boost your relationships and therefore your scores together, a video only mode where you can simply just watch and enjoy the awesome music videos you normally take part in, free play, photoshop and video editing modes.
Festivals were my favourite as you can make a music festival with whichever characters I wanted, with whatever outfits, with any tune I had unlocked, and either play or just sit back and enjoy.
Even when you complete all 5 prism’s, you’re not done there. You’re encouraged to go through them all over again to unlock a “hidden” special song a second time around, like you would need any excuse to play the game all over again anyway!
Although I won’t mark it down for this, the game is begging for some sort of online capability. In previous games it was possible, although very difficult, to create and download levels for other users to play. This wasn’t implemented very well before, but would have been nice to have seen an improvement of the system here, but sadly it’s not.
An online challenge mode or the ability to add your own music to the game and for it or you to design a rhythm set to it in game is something for the future maybe, and the tools are already in place to do so, but unfortunately it’s not for the here and now.
It’s very hard to put into words just how enthusiastic, energetic, and fun this game is to play. For me, Hatsune Miku games are the benchmark of how games should be able to entertain. The visuals aren’t the most graphically detailed, but the artwork and presentation of the game, and the way it’s put together, is like an Andy Warhol / Steven Spielberg collaboration. If you wanted to you could simply just watch the music videos and enjoy them, let alone play the game.
The light RPG elements and the way you have to think about them do actually work well and encourage experimentation rather than sticking to what you know. I wasn’t convinced about the story line and the sometime tedious conversations you had to endure, but they still at least kept them fairly short, gave you a break between songs, and also a meaning to play each prism.
As it is though, Hatsune Miku is the queen of this genre, and Project Diva X the best entry yet. Her games are simply going from strength to strength, and this is one amazing gaming experience worth moving your feet and tapping your fingers to. It’s brilliant all round family gaming entertainment at it’s finest!