Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X Review

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Game Title: Hatsune Miku Project Diva X
Developer: Crypton, Sega
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 2.5 GB
NA Availability: Retail | Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes

Vocaloid has been around for a long time now, so it’s starting to get to the point of being widely known in the West along with Japan. If you go into any Hot Topic store in the United States, you’re going to see lots of Hatsune Miku merchandise: bracelets, tote bags, vinyl figures, T-shirts, and more. The virtual diva has become well-known outside of the gaming scene, where she first began on PC with the first Vocaloid synthesizer software.

I began my journey with Hatsune Miku back before any of the console video games were made, and I’ve been along for the ride with all of the Project Diva games, starting from the original games on the PSP that never graced western shores. Now the series is well into its 7th year, and much polishing and evolution has been done.

I mention polish and evolution because of the game I’m about to review for you. The newest adventure for Miku and Vocaloid fans alike, here is my review of the Vita version of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X!

Story

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The story of Project Diva X takes place in a virtual world, where digital singers perform to produce voltage that keeps their world going. However, everyone has lost the ability to sing and the world is in a state of ruin. The young singer Hatsune Miku hopes to solve this by calling out to the real world. She pulls you, The Player, into their world to assist in restoring their world by helping them sing.

The plot is one of the biggest aspects of the game because Miku games have never had a story before, let alone one that is constantly developing. Nearly every couple songs you perform in Story Mode will spawn new story scenes to showcase the singers talking with you as well as growing to learn new kinds of performances. It’s a very cute story that fits Vocaloid well and is a nice change of pace compared to previous games.

Gameplay

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At its core, Project Diva X is a music game just as its predecessors were. While you progress through the story and do other tasks, you’ll be performing songs in a music game format with matching button prompts that pop up on the screen.

When you boot the game up, you’ll have two Main Menus to choose through, Main and Sub. Main is for the plot and major portion of the game, while Sub is more for Free Play, Options, and editing concerts. The Sub menu is very similar to how most of previous games had all of their game modes, with Free Play for playing songs, seeing records, and changing game options.

The Main Menu has a lot more to go into. Cloud Requests is how you unlock new songs and play through the story. Event Requests are also for the story, but more for special requests like festivals. Then you have customization options, from Gifts and Friendships made for getting to know the singers to Remodel and Customize that allows you to change character outfits/accessories and change the theme of the room displayed on the Main Menu. Finally, Albums is used for looking at unlocked videos and artwork.

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You’re going to be spending most of your time with Cloud Requests and Events. Cloud Requests are the story mode with songs organized into 5 different “Clouds” you can enter, with a certain theme about it like Elegance or Quirky. What you will do is play all of the songs within that Cloud until a “Main Event” song unlocks which lets you clear it and move onto the next one.

Main Event songs are also a new feature for the series. These are hybrid songs that will take portions of different songs and play them in succession. You may start a Main Event with a fast-paced rock song, but suddenly turn to a slower dance piece right in the middle of it. They’re meant to stand out, as if the entire cloud were a performance with the beginning songs just being a warm-up towards the “Main Event”.

Festivals/Events are like this as well, but a little different. When you get Festival Requests, you make a selection of songs and stage and perform each song in succession without a break. These are much more customizable than Main Events since you can choose what songs and stages you wish to use, rather than the game having those pre-determined.

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The way you play parts of the music game have also been changed. Project Diva X focuses on a Voltage system and puts more emphasis on Chance Time that happens in a certain part of a song for a bigger point reward. Every song has a “Request”, kind of like an objective or goal. Not only do you have to do well in the song and not fail out to succeed, but you also have to meet or exceed the Voltage Request. If you do well, but are shy of the request, you still fail.

Making this process easier is where modules and accessories come in. Modules are other costumes and in PDX, modules have an effect on the gameplay. Some modules will increase voltage every 10-12 seconds, while others will increase that rate if you manage to hit 50 or 100 notes in succession without missing anything. Accessories do this as well as good combinations of accessories that add further effects.

Obtaining Modules and Accessories is a little different, too. Modules can only be obtained by successfully completing Chance Time in a song. If you manage to do that, the singer you’re playing as will get a new module. What module you get can depend on the song but also drop rate. There are common modules and rare modules, so if you go into the same song twice, you could get the same module twice, depending on what drops for you and what accessories and modules you use that can enhance rare module drops.

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All of this comes together well in a mixing-things-up sort of way. Past games were just play song, unlock new song, play new song, unlock new song, repeat. This switches a lot of things up and story scenes coming in often really helps it be more engaging.

The difficulty of the game has remained around the same as the last game. It’s a music game both for newbies to the genre and veterans. Easy offers a pretty casual experience, savor a couple songs, while Normal, Hard, and Extreme can and will test your patience and hand-eye coordination. Even on Normal, the game isn’t very easy to go through successfully.

Play Time has also increased compared to previous games. The main party of the story has you going through 30 songs, 5 of which are the multi-track Main Event tracks. Going through all of those plus the first wave of festivals will take you around 6-8 hours to finish. After that, you unlock crystals in each cloud and go through songs and festivals again in order to unlock the True Ending song. Doing all of that can easily raise that 6-8 hours to 10-15 hours. You’ll have plenty to do.

Controls

The controls aren’t too different from previous games. Like f 2nd, Project Diva X is compatible with the PlayStation TV. The nice touch is that you no longer have to go to options to turn on the twin-stick feature for scratch/star notes. It is automatically turned on for both touch scratches and analog clicking for whatever method is more comfortable for you.

Aside from that, it’s the same as you’ve known before. Each face button has an input in songs that look just like the button symbol: X, Square, Triangle, and Circle. And you have the Arrows which are a combo of the D-Pad and that button, like a down arrow being down on the D-Pad plus the X button. It’s the same scheme that series fans have known from previous games.

Presentation

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It’s hard to judge these games, visually. Everything looks really nice in cutscenes and in the menus. All of the character models look practically flawless, even on the PSTV. But the actual song animations look a little blurry and jaggy in a lot of places. This is more noticeable because the menu and scene renders don’t look like that at all. If they’d used the same renders from menus in the actual songs, I wouldn’t even be mentioning this.

As far as audio is concerned, they did a great job with the game’s song selection of Miku songs. I’ve liked the tracks in PDX much more than previous games. The only nitpick I have is the fact that most of the other Vocaloids are snubbed in favor of Miku. You can use Miku, Luka, Meiko, Kaito, and all of the others, but almost every song in the game is a Hatsune Miku song, meaning that the voice will sound wrong when you use someone else. I was personally hoping for more balance with the others.

Now with presentation, you’ve got nothing to worry about. The load times are nice and short, and frame drops don’t happening anywhere in the game. Everything in that aspect runs really nice.

 

Summary

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X is the most evolved Project Diva game to date. While it’s unfortunate that the graphics in songs and menus don’t match up very well, all of the new features, especially the storyline, make this a worthy purchase for any Vocaloid fan.

9/10

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