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.
I’m guess I’m last on the review train, so I’ll try my best to make mine a little different.
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.
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.
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)!
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.
Then 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.
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.
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…
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 :).
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”.