Hatsune Miku Project Diva!

5 07 2009

Heya everyone,

I apologize for the lack of posts recently but it’s been due to three reasons: Wimbledon, PDeng, and Project Diva.  Being the vocaloid fan that I am, I’ve been totally enamored with this game.

Today’s post is about Project Diva, the newly released game for the PSP from Sega.  In a nutshell, it’s essentially a fairly robust rhythm game rebranded with Hatsune Miku.  Read on for my take on the game :).

It looks to have been selling like hot cakes in Japan, makes me wonder if they’ll do a sequel.  If you pre-order the game, it comes with a special Puchi nendroid.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one as detailed as this one.

UMD + Nendroid Puchi

UMD + Nendroid Puchi

I’m guess I’m last on the review train, so I’ll try my best to make mine a little different.

Game

No one I know of has done a really good job of explaining the gameplay.  I’ve even heard people calling this similar to DDR, which it has nothing in common with whatsoever.  So I’ll give it a shot.

Unwrapping the package.  No idolmaster doesn't come with Project Diva, I included it in the picture by accident.

Unwrapping the package. No idolmaster doesn't come with Project Diva, I included it in the picture by accident.

If anyone has played Ouendan or Elite Beat Agents, they’ll sort of know what this game is about.  During gameplay, patterns of shapes will appear on your screen as seen in the picture below.  Colored shapes corresponding to the face buttons of your psp will then flow from the edges of your screen towards these patterns.  Your job is to hit the corresponding face button when the colored shape reaches the pattern on screen.

project-diva-screens-20090413063239866_640w

The timing of the buttons is matched to the beat (usually the vocals) of the song that is playing in the background.  For every button press, how close you match yourself to the beat of the music.  The game is actually fairly strict about timing and getting a full combo on a song is actually quite the challenge.  Most people I know have been struggling with passing or getting the “GREAT!” rating on songs to unlock higher difficulties.  Though, I have had a fairly easy time with it.

The game itself features 36 or so tracks that are mostly centered around certain popular composers.  For the most part, their music choices are in line with the favorites on Nico Nico Douga, though they made a number of odd inclusions and omissions.  E.g. for the composer Ryo they dropped Black Rock Shooter while picking up Hinekuremono.  Totally incomprehensible!  Though nothing edit mode can’t fix (see below)!

Hatsune Miku

So, it’s all fairly ordinary stuff for a rhythm game, except they splattered Miku and the vocaloids all over it :).  The game features a number of challenges, when completed unlocks a new Hatsune Miku costume or one of the other vocaloids.  I think there’s around 35 costumes total and most of them are pretty awesome, including this fab fab white dress :).  On a side note, I’m completely puzzled as to how the Japanese 2ch and wiki crew managed to figure out every single unlock and have it confirmed waaay before release.

img_result_c08_3d_lThen there’s a fairly random feature called Miku’s Room.  Every time you clear a song, you get a chance of receiving an accessory.  The better your rating at the end of the song the bigger your chance of getting rare accessories.  Then you can choose up to four of these to put them into Miku’s Room, which is essentially a glorified Tamagochi.  She’ll wander around her room and interact with stuff, so the obsessed otaku can stare at her.  The developers were even so kind as to include a photo option, ha.

The only reason why I spent time in Miku's Room was for the purpose of this post..........

The only reason why I spent time in Miku's Room was for the purpose of this post..........

I wonder never have done it otherwise.......  I think.....

I would never have done it otherwise....... Serious! Believe me.....

One short note about the graphics.  Being a psp game, the graphics aren’t the greatest, but I will safely say that this is Miku at her most moe.  For each song, Sega painstakingly went ahead and got someone to choreograph a dance and motion captured a dancer doing.  What the game lacks in visual fidelity, it more than makes up for in animation.

Edit Mode

Some very bright person at Sega properly realized that the vocaloids were an ever growing internet phenomenon with an ever expanding repretoire of songs.  There’s no way Sega could ever have enough songs to keep everyone satisfied, and they realized the game would only last until people got bored of the 36 tracks in the game.  So they built the game with an extremely robust edit mode to keep it alive.  With a few limitations, essentially any song can be imported and one of these button patterns can be made for it.  They even went so far as to make it so you can link pre-motion captured Miku motions to create your own dance…

Not quite Miku Miku Dance, but good enough.

Not quite Miku Miku Dance, but good enough.

And the Japanese people have already been hard at work making edits.  You can find them a ton of them on the wiki at http://www19.atwiki.jp/mikudiva/pages/27.html, and it looks like it’ll only keep growing from here :).

Conclusion

Sega went totally out of their way to build a package that would be immensely enjoyable to Vocaloid fans.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that this game cannot be missing from any fan’s library.  Sega could have just made a shallow rhythm game, splattered Miku all over it and would still have sold a boat load of copies.  Instead, they put in a ton of effort into getting Miku’s dances in, a robust rhythm game, and a deep edit mode to keep the game interesting over time.

If you are a Vocaloid fan, you owe it to yourself to buy this.  If you are not a vocaloid fan, this is still an extremely engaging rhythm game worth checking out.

O, and apparently puchi nendroid heads are swappable.  Here is Miku in her Nagato Yuki “Cosplay”.

DSC_2095

COSPLAY?

COSPLAY?

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19 responses

5 07 2009
Marshmallow

I’d love to get this game… but I don’t have a PSP. 😦

5 07 2009
robostrike

Where to begin…where to begin….let’s not do what you do shall I?
This game is truly a great game for all Hatsune Miku fan. I liked the game play though it can get hectic at times when images flicker and you have to press buttons during each image change. Leven Polka is in there ^_^. I liked the option where you can just listen to the unlocked songs without the need to play the song.

6 07 2009
aaroninjapan09

😛 You need to lend your PSP over to poor bluemage over there. He’s the real miku fanboy~!

7 07 2009
robostrike

I will, when we meet again ^_^ (Bluemage and I)

5 07 2009
Nyarth

This makes me want a PSP now >:

5 07 2009
Yuki Phnx

I don’t have a PSP ;_;

I HAD NO IDEA PUCHIS WERE SWAPPABLE!! *goes out to buy them now*

5 07 2009
Motiko

Great review =D

About how they could know every costume, song and such, they (as I) looked at the official site ^^

http://miku.sega.jp/

I’ve been following the updates =3

ah, I kinda regret not oredrening the asian version, but the japanese =\

Well, at least I have a good excuse ^^
The game wasn’t very easy to pre-order somewhere they had shipping to sweden =\
At least I found one and I even got free shipping! ~yay!
(since I’m exactly rich for the moment that’s a very big ++ for me haha =p)

haha, anyway, thanks for this review ^^
You’re acctually the first one I think describing the gameplay so detailed =)

6 07 2009
aaroninjapan09

Haha thanks, I was actually referring to how the Japanese gamers figured out how to unlock the costumes before release. I wasn’t talking about them knowing which costumes were in the game.

5 07 2009
bluemage

It appears that nothing can escape the all-seeing eyes, and mind apparently after your post, of 2ch.

Are you SURE you didn’t spend all that time in Miku’s Room for other reasons? ^_^

All joking aside, and after seeing some of the gameplay for myself when robostrike was playing it, it’s no wonder that this game is such a huge hit. I’m sure over the next few months, there will be thousands upon thousands of custom song maps made for this game. Sure hope that it gets translated into English sometime in the future.

In a way, I’m glad that I don’t own a PSP because this game would consume my life if I were to play it.

And yeah, Miku looks totally hot in that white dress.

6 07 2009
aaroninjapan09

Miku is hot in the white dress :). I’m glad I have that one unlocked. I also managed to unlock the rumored bikini too haha.

I sincerely doubt this game will ever see an English release. But then again, this game is extremely intuitive, you really don’t need to know Japanese to play.

7 07 2009
FlawlessExa

Do you know any other good games for the PSP? I want to get a PSP for Miku but with the PSP GO coming out and low budget, I want to be able to use the PSP to its full extend.

7 07 2009
robostrike

@FlawlessExa: Just get a PSP slim…Hatsune Miku~Project Diva is on a UMD and PSP Go does not have a slot for UMD’s. As well, PSP Go’s hype will soon end once we find it’s too small to handle.

7 07 2009
aaroninjapan09

@robostrike. Your comment about the PSP Go’s hype ending because it’s too small to handle doesn’t make any sense.

1. The psp Go is 5 cm less wide, 0.5cm less tall, and 0.5 cm less thick, while having the same screen size. This makes the cross section almost exactly the same as the DSi, and the psp Go. Unless you mean the DS lite and DSi are also too small to handle, your argument makes 0 sense.

2. The size of the device is no surprise. There were tons of them on the show floor of E3, most of the major media outlets have already gotten a feel of it. The dimensions are also official. If the size of the device really were a problem, the hype would have died a long time ago.

3. All the editors from Gamespot, Gamespy, IGN, and 1up all agree that the new PSP Go feels and handles much better than the PSP -3000 let alone the 2000. Clearly the size is not an issue.

7 07 2009
robostrike

May be you have small hands, but I get a cramp on my hands when I play games on the DS Lite after a long time…especially Tetris (but that’s fine since I take small breaks in between matches). It’s not an attack on PSP Go, but out of all the things to make PSP Go favourable for purchase, the least I found was the size. It’s a personal preference and a bit of human factors that my group did with DS Lite and PSP-2000 on comfort level. We found the factor in distance between left and right hand was the deciding credential for choosing to play on the PSP-2000 over the DS lite. I don’t hate small controllers, just my big hands can’t use them without getting a cramp at the end of two hours of play at times.

7 07 2009
aaroninjapan09

@robostrike: that’s exactly why they moved the buttons inwards slightly to make for a more comfortable fit for the hands while still being able to reach the shoulder buttons.

Most of the press, who have already played with the unit, have stated that the new unit feels far better than the old PSP-3000 or 2000. And I haven’t yet read an editorial complaining that the new unit feels uncomfortable compared to the old unit despite being smaller.

Your worries are for naught.

8 07 2009
robostrike

Then that’s good to hear then.

12 07 2009
meronpan

i looked everywhere for the game but it was sold out ;_; well… everywhere in akiba… now that i think about it i shoulda tried other districts orz

gah! guess i’ll have to order it online now. was wondering what the gameplay was like, and now i know, doumo ^^

17 03 2010
初音ミク Project Diva « WAWAWA 忘れ物

[…] you haven’t seen ‘em already, cleartranquil, aaron, and kyourankyodai all posted reviews many  moons ago.  They actually have shots from the game […]

16 08 2010
Project Diva 2nd! Review | FoOlRulez

[…] what is Project Diva?  Well that’s just Hatsune Miku’s dedicated rhythm game!  See here for my take on the first game.  Before I get into project diva 2nd, did you guys know there was a […]

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