We have already had the opportunity to talk about the exuberant success of Hatsune Miku in the review of Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX released last September on Nintendo 3DS. Despite the years, the interest in the virtual home idol Crypton Future Media seems not to subside, and here comes, signed again by Sega, a new chapter in the series that launched it on consoles, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X, available from August 30th in digital format only on PS Vita and for the first time on PlayStation 4.
Version tested: Playstation 4
After years of photocopy chapters, where the only novelty was represented by the always rich and varied playlist, with this new chapter of Project Diva, Sega has well thought of changing the formula slightly (winning) with which over the years it has managed to capture thousands of players. In Project Diva X we find a renewed Story mode, in which as a visual novel we will have to help Miku and the other Vocaloids to bring life back to their world, so that they can go back to singing and make everyone happy with their songs. To do this we will have to "play" the songs present, here divided by "Cloud", clouds that represent different styles and which together form the essence of Vocaloid. But don't expect who knows what plot developments. All in all we are faced with a story that develops very simply and in which we will happen to interact with Miku and his friends, who will propose suggestions and events to make their world shine again. On this basis, in addition to the main quest that will lead us to interpret the songs with the classic rhythm game scheme of the series, we will also find ourselves struggling with a simple minigame in which we will have to interact with the characters to increase our level of affinity, giving them items earned by playing. This will affect the percentage of Voltage obtainable at the end of the game, which will grow as the affinity with the character used increases.
But what is Voltage, and how will it affect our games? In practice, the Voltage represents the minimum value to be reached to overcome the song and, in turn, restore the cloud. To make this happen we will be able to make use of the Modules, the unlockable clothes for Miku and companions, each of which will react differently to the chosen song, affecting the percentage obtainable and offering us advantages during the song, such as obtaining bonus points every few notes performed, increasing the possibility of obtaining new modules or making the target timing of the notes on the screen easier. In addition to the modules we will also be able to choose a series of accessories of various kinds, which if combined with each other (following the theme of each cloud) will guarantee a higher percentage of initial voltage, making things easier for us. The importance of costumes in this chapter finds greater depth than in the past, and the need to vary or to obtain new ones for each character assumes a primary role in Project Diva X, a factor that will lead to replaying the same songs several times, perhaps increasing the level of challenge, just to complete all the available wardrobe. To unlock a new module, within the song we will have to perform and successfully close a phase of the song called Chance Time: during this short interlude the struck notes will fill a star-shaped bar located at the bottom of the HUD. To make the Chance Time successful, once the star is filled, we will have to close the combo by taking the Star Target. If all goes well, a sequence will be activated in which Miku (or one of the other characters used) will transform, showing off a new outfit.
On the road again
As mentioned, the gameplay of the previous titles of the Project Diva series returns almost unchanged, for the good peace of the fans who will be able to immediately test their rhythmic skills or for those who have recently discovered the world of Vocaloid and want to deepen this knowledge. On the TV screen (or PS Vita in the case of the portable version) while Miku and his friends animate the music videos, we will have to press with the right timing the notes that will pass in front of our eyes, here represented by the icons of the controller buttons (Triangle , X, Circle, Square). In addition to the simple notes we find the directional ones, which to be performed correctly will see us use one of the respective buttons together with the corresponding direction of the digital cross. The star notes instead will involve the use of the Touchpad of the Dualshockers 4 (or alternatively the much more comfortable analog sticks) and a touch of the touch panel will be enough to be played with precision. Last but not least the restrained bars, which will force you to keep the pressure on the key until the end of the sequence or the Rush, where we will be asked to press the highlighted key as quickly as possible. Inside the song, in addition to the Chance Time which as underlined will serve to unlock a new module, we will find the Tecnical Zone, a section of the song in which we will have to be able to hit all the required notes, to get a bonus on the final score. Starting from the lowest levels, which provide for the presence of a limited number of beats and key combinations, going up the level will increase the frequency of the notes and the difficulty of how they will appear on the screen, making the players' lives a real hell to be able to overcome proof.
Once you have a good amount of voltage, to completely restore the cloud we will have to perform a medley of songs, giving life to a real concert. Each mix will consist of 4/5 songs from the "past" of the previous games in their reduced version, and if passed it will allow you to complete the cloud to move on to the next. The introduction of the concerts is another of the novelties of Project Diva X and although it does not distort on a conceptual level the gameplay represents an interesting addition at the level of fanservice. Out of the main story, in Free mode it will be possible to create your own concert by going to fish from the library of the songs present, create your own playlist and choose who will perform the songs on stage, the costumes and the concert location. Here the player's involvement touches the right chords, with the audience singing the song singing choruses during the choruses, while waving the light sticks in the wind, a must of Miku's live performances.
Feel the Rhythm
Completed the clouds and brought everything back to normal, we will have to continue playing the songs to get to the end credits and thus unlock the final concert, in which they will lead some of the most difficult songs to perform in the entire playlist.
In addition to all this, we find the Event Requests, side missions that will unlock as we progress through the game, increase the affinity of the protagonists or use certain characters. Each request will have a common thread and will impose stakes on the player, ranging from using a certain character, limiting the use of modules or playing only a few selected songs. Again the addition of these missions does not change the overall experience of the game, but integrates new ways to entertain the player and make the constant repetition of the songs that we will find ourselves to play less weight in order to unlock as much content as possible.
Also available from the day of the launch a whole series of DLCs to expand the original experience of the game. Among the various additional contents we find, in addition to 2 new songs and packs dedicated to Snow Miku and other famous Vocaloid characters, there are 2 "unlockers" that will be used to unlock all the modules and accessories in the title to the most lazy. Beyond the cost to make sure all the contents of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X (respectively 9.99 € and 6.49 €) we recommend the purchase only if you have difficulty in obtaining all the unlockable, as the purchase of these DLC risks ruining the general experience by making all the elements accessible immediately available by playing normally. The purchase of the DLC supports the cross-buy option, great for those who choose to buy both versions of the game (the base game also offers the possibility of using the cross-save function to switch between PS4 and Vita in case of have both copies of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X).
For all those interested in the game is present on the PlayStation Store a demo (PS4 / PS Vita) with which you can test 3 of the songs in the Sega title by hand.
About the songs, although the selection is as always excellent and heterogeneous, ranging from various genres and offering easily catchy tracks from the first listening, where Project Diva X sins is on the number of songs present: 24 new songs, of which 2 already present in the previous titles, to which are added the 6 medleys. An offer, compared to the old chapters, decidedly subdued which will be felt more once the first round of songs is over and we will find ourselves playing the same for the following hours, mitigated only by the price at which it is offered (44.99 € for the PS4 version, 29,99 € for the PS Vita version) .
Virtual but not too much
Among the extras of this new edition, in addition to the already mentioned Free play e Gift (the minigame dedicated to affinity), it will be possible to spend some of our time with the Concert Editor and Photo Studio modes. The first represents a video editor, in which we will be able to discover ourselves as new directors and decide on shots, effects and fades of the various songs present and have fun transforming the original into personal interpretations. The Photo Studio will allow us instead of take the perfect photo with all our beloved characters, choosing the poses to use, the clothing and the backdrops, through a powerful editor that will also allow us to import images via USB or exploit, in case you have the PS Camera to take selfies in the company of our favorite stars.
On the technical front, on PlayStation 4, Project Diva X is a beautiful sight: both the characters and the game backdrops are recreated by accepting the details and the video rendering, all without sacrificing either the final resolution (1080p) or the frame rate, always constant on every occasion. To benefit most are the polygonal models of Vocaloid, primarily Miku, also rich in detail and animated in a realistic and fluid way, making them a pleasure to watch every time they move, or rather dance, on the screen.
The game comes to us fully translated into an easily understandable English (as regards the Story mode), while the few spoken tracks will be in the original Japanese language. Present again the option to select the text of the songs, alternating between English or Romaji, a must for those who want to take a break from the game and dedicate themselves to some healthy karaoke through the PV mode (which allows you to see the video without having to play actively).Verdict 8.5 / 10 Yes ok, but the VR game where to harass Hatsune Miku when it comes out? Comment Sega hits the mark again with this new chapter of the rhythm game dedicated to the most famous virtual idol of all time, Hatsune Miku. Just change a little to the original formula, inserting a basic Story Mode, but effective for the purpose and giving greater importance to the Modules, the unlockable clothes that in this episode take on greater thickness and usefulness. On the other hand, due to a limited tracklist in the number of tracks present, Project Diva X barely touches the full vote, although the presence of concerts and medleys manage to plug this big lack. Will Future Tone be awarded the best and most complete title in the Project Diva series? Only time will be able to answer this question, and in the meantime, in case you are passionate lovers of Hatsune Miku, we can not help but advise you with your eyes closed this new chapter that will have fun and entertain you thanks to the charm and charisma of its protagonist. Pros and cons ✓ Original game formula tweaked for the better
✓ Flawless technical compartment
✓ Despite the years the gameplay is always fresh and original
✓ Good tracklist ... x ... but limited in the number of tracks
x Vocaloid songs may not like it