Hatsune Miku Project Diva f review
SG Gaming Info takes a look at the Japanese rhythm game, Hatsune Miku Project Diva f. A game that was released in Europe and North America thanks to its fan base.
Hatsune Miku Project Diva f is a rhythm game which allows you to play songs sung by Hatsune Miku and various other Vocaloid singers which include: Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len, Megurine Luka, Kaito and Meiko. The Vocaloid group which Hatsune Miku is seen as the star off is not an ordinary music group, because well Hatsune Miku, Luka etc. don’t exist. These people are characters/mascots for a singing voice synthesizer program called Vocaloid a program developed by the Yamaha Corporation and Crypton Future Media. People who use the Vocaloid program can create music by typing in their lyrics and melodies and when it is done what they typed will be sung by one of Vocaloids. Not everything is done via the program as people have to add their own instrumentals.
Vocaloid quickly became a popular tool in Japan and the songs produced became big hits in Japan. One of the biggest success stories is the song ‘Black Rock Shooter’. The song was created in 2008 after Ryo the lead songwriter of the J-pop group Supercell found a piece of Hatsune Miku fan art on art sharing site, Pixiv. After writing and releasing the song on the Japanese video sharing site, Nico Nico Douga the song became a huge success with 2.2 million views in only a year. The song was so popular that in 2010 a 50 minute stand alone animation was created called, Black Rock Shooter. Other media which bared the name Black Rock Shooter included a Black Rock Shooter game and an 8 episode long anime.
Vocaloid and Hatsune Miku’s popularity were pretty much secured when she and other Vocaloid performed their first live concert in Japan in 2009. Since the Vocaloid aren’t real, Crypton Future Media used a projection screen to bring the characters to life, an idea which proved by a huge success. To prove just how popular Vocaloid was internationally, a Vocaloid concert was held in Los Angeles on July 2, 2011 at the Nokia Theater. The concert was a success and helped Vocaloid take off outside of Japan with Hatsune Miku appearing in commercials in N. America and an English version of the Vocaloid program being released.
I think that is enough backstory, but as you can see Vocaloid and Hatsune Miku are rather popular. Personally I am a fan of Vocaloid music, so playing Hatsune Miku Project Diva f was a real treat for me.
Before talking about the game Hatsune Miku Project Diva f, I have to mention how this game was actually released in both Europe and North America and how much of a gamble the game’s publisher Sega took. It all started March of this year with Sega asking fans via their Facebook page if they wanted the game released for the PlayStation 3 in the west. Well after 25,000 likes and 15,000 shares in less than 3 days Sega took the hint and brought Hatsune Miku Project Diva f to the west. To bring the game over, Sega translated the game into English and kept the songs in Japanese.
The game Hatsune Miku Project Diva f offers a total of 38 songs, with the majority of the songs being sung by Hatsune Miku. Outside of songs, the game has 90 costumes and 100 accessories for you to unlock. These can be used when playing the rhythm portion of the game or when you are chilling out in the diva room.
Let’s talk about the rhythm portion. The game offers four difficulty modes: easy, normal, hard and extreme. For first time players I highly recommend playing on easy mode because when you decide to go to normal the difficulty jump is rather higher, so unless you complete all the songs as easy mode, don’t jump up a level.
Well how does the game work? Well the game is really easy to play all you need to do is press the right button at the right time. The game is really a test of your reflexes. The game does a good job trying to ease you into the experience with easy mode requiring you to press/hold one button and occasionally flick the analog stick when you enter the ‘technical zone’ of the song. When you go up a difficulty level you will be required to press multiple buttons during a song.
While easy mode sounds too easy with you only having to press one button, but you have to remember you are contending with the speed of music, the speed of the songs range from 80 to 232 beats per minute (BPM). This range means that some songs will have you press buttons at an incredibly fast pace, but others at a somewhat slow relaxed pace. This change in speed can easily catch you out with you pressing a button a second or two too early. Please bear in mind I am still talking about the game’s easy mode here. In higher difficulties when you have to press multiple buttons, this means you have to not only be aware of how fast a song is, but which buttons you have to press. At times this can be a tad confusing, but it does make getting a standard or higher rating feel all the more rewarding.
As you can probably tell the rhythm game is nice and challenging, but unfortunately the game does throw in a challenge that is not needed, and that is seeing at what time you need to press a button. The issue is that some of the videos have too many moving objects and flashing lights that can easy distract you. For example the song ‘Weekender Girl’ lights and objects flash across the screen making some button points nearly impossible to see. I am all for an extra challenge, but the game is challenging enough with the videos trying to distract you.
There is much more to the game than just the rhythm portion. The game offers an edit mode, diva room and studio mode.
Edit mode, is a surprise gem in the game, with the mode allowing you to create your own rhythm game routines and videos. In this mode you have a massive array of options with the mode allowing you change characters animation, facial expressions, how the camera works, the effects on the video etc. The sheer depth of the edit mode is amazing and is a great way for users to try and put their own touch on a song with just basic editing knowledge. With that said edit mode can be difficult so thankfully the game does offer some help for those just starting.
If editing songs isn’t your thing there is always the diva room. In this mode you can hang out with your favourite diva and interact with her. You can use communication mode to get up close and touch them. Touching the character will either lead to them getting upset with you or getting to like you more, and if you do it right you will be able to play rock, paper, scissors with the character. If getting up close and communicating with the characters isn’t your thing you can give them gifts for them or their room. These gifts are bought via the store with DP, a currency you gain for completing songs in rhythm mode. In this store you can buy more than just room items. You can buy gifts and new costumes for each character to wear in the rhythm game.
With regards to studio mode, there isn’t much to say. In this mode you can take photos of your favourite Vocaloid and also watch a music video while controlling the camera position.
On a final note, the loading screens shows off fan art. This is a nice touch because without fans Vocaloid wouldn’t exist because everything from the songs to the videos and costumes are all fan made.
Hatsune Miku Project Diva f is a fun challenging rhythm game. It contains content for both fans and non fans alike. With 38 songs and an extensive edit mode the game will keep you playing long into the night. Releasing this game was a big gamble for Sega and it looks like the gamble paid off.
Hatsune Miku Project Diva f Information
Developer: Sega and Crypton Future Meda
Genre: Rhythm game
Platform: PlayStation 3 (both physical and digital) and PlayStation Vita (Vita version is only available in Japan) *Game was reviewed on PS3*
Release date: out now
Before I finish off this review, I want to show off the video which got me into Vocaloid. The video is from a live Hatsune Miku concert and the song is ‘World is Mine’.