GAME REVIEW | Vocaloids Unite In Visually-Stunning "Project DIVA X"
Like it or not, Hatsune Miku has become a global phenomenon. Playing to sold-out shows across the world, touring alongside Lady Gaga, and sponsoring the likes of Louis Vutton and Good Smile Racing, Miku's presence in the entertainment realm is almost everywhere. It's pretty impressive, considering the artist is just one of Crypton Future Media's many virtual singers. This summer Miku -- along with some of her other Vocaloid buddies -- has made her debut on next-gen consoles with Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X.
Project DIVA X places Miku, MEIKO, Luka, KAITO, Rin, and Len in a dire situation. Miku loses the ability to sing, as the Prisms that connect the musical world together go dark. The Vocaloid team soon discovers that the Prisms are in need of a power known as Voltage to bring the shine back into its being. When the Prisms get their glow back, the flow of music will return, and it's up to you to help Miku and her friends accomplish this task.
The main challenges featured in the game can be found in Cloud Request, where you must perform one of thirty songs with whichever Vocaloid you'd prefer (although the voice will still most likely belong to Miku). Those who have yet to play one of Hatsune Miku's past games may be in for a surprise once you jump into the rhythm-based levels. At first, the flow goes rather slowly, and depending on the BPM of your song choice, it keeps a steady beat.
As you play, you are treated to the gorgeous visuals that are provided via the characters, their movements, and the stage settings that they perform on. It's hard to not look away from the beauty that Project DIVA X showcases, with its realistic dance routines and spectacles being some of the brightest and warmth-inducing visuals you'll probably come across on a PS4. Of course, this is all part of the gameplay, as these performances act as a distraction to throw you off your rhythm.
This is what makes the game very challenging. You wanna see what's going on during the song, but you can't look away from which buttons and/or combos you need to press in order to get a better score. Succeed in completing the song, and you'll be gifted with accessories you can have your character wear during future performances, as well as some presents to deliver to your Vocaloid friends in the Home Menu. During the song, you can also earn new costumes known as Modules via the game's Chance Time. Hit the buttons right, and you could find yourself with one of hundreds of different versions of the Vocaloids to choose from.
Initially, Project DIVA X is a lot of fun, as you jump through the Classic, Cute, Cool, Quirky, and Elegant realms to fill up their respective Prisms. There's even a nice visual novel sort of element in the gameplay where you can chat with the Vocaloids, give them the proper gifts, and even choose what sort of advice to give them. Sadly, once you fill the Prisms, you are then forced to play through these same songs over and over again at different difficulties until you unlock the final Ending Medley.
This second half of the game winds up dragging on, as the game twists your arm to keep on performing until you reach that goal. By the time you reach the endgame, there's a good chance you'll be bored out of your mind from repeating the same melodies. More song choices would've fixed this problem, but that's not what occurred. (Fingers crossed, though, that Western release of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone is in the cards, what with its over 200-song playlist.)
Outside of the regular Cloud Requests, you can also partake in Event Requests, where you are tasked to either perform a song a certain way, or put on a festival featuring a medley of your favorite choices. The latter winds up being kinda cool, as it's very interesting to hear and see how your song picks wind up mixing together in the long run. It's even enjoyable to move around characters' roles and see how one looks while performing in a certain module. (Although, considering it's mostly Miku's songs, it's somewhat weird hearing that voice come out of the male Vocaloid character.)
For something more time-consuming and worthy of being a challenge, Project DIVA X features a Concert Editor, where you can customize your own Vocaloid's performance. By switching camera angles, changing the lighting, and activating certain effects, you can create a special show that can get the crowd pumping with energy. All it requires is a bit of patience, as the task of editing a show can take awhile to get down properly. There's also a Photo Shoot mode where you can pose two of the Vocaloids together and upload the pics to an external hard drive for future PC wallpaper.
While the rhythm game aspect is pretty good, I cannot help but feel like there's something lacking about this release. To compare, I went back to last year's incredibly fun 3DS spinoff Project Mirai DX, which had more songs, cool mini-games, the ability to hear certain tracks sung by different Vocaloids besides Miku, and other various goodies. I'm not calling Project DIVA X bare bones by any means, but considering this game's on a much more powerful console, the fact that it still can't compete with the content of its portable cousin is kinda disappointing.
- Beautiful characters, stages
- Challenging rhythm-based gameplay
- Great assortment of modules, accessories to earn
- Certain content is lacking
- Gameplay gets repetitive
- Second half of Cloud Request mode kinda drags
If you're looking for a beautiful rhythm game, then you can't go wrong with Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X. However, if you are in need of something with a bit more variety, then I highly recommend choosing Project Mirai DX over this console version. Despite it being a couple bells & whistles short, Project Diva X is still one Vocaloid title worthy of attempting to master.
With all that being said, next time, can we please get a Hatsune Miku game with a dance pad or something?
PS4 review code provided by John Hardin of SEGA of America