Blue haired and bright eyed virtual pop singing sensation Hatsune Miku takes to the stage in the latest PlayStation Vita version of the famous rhythm game, ‘Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f ‘.
Pop diva Hatsune Miku makes the transition from PlayStation 3 to handheld console in what could possibly be the best rhythm game I’ve played for some time. Hatsune Miku and her vocaloid friends are digital avatars with a reputation of making you feel the rhythm in their games by having the player replicate everything they see on the screen by the movement of their fingers. In Project Diva f you’ve a great selection of songs to follow from really easy to very hard and intensive. If you’re new to the series, I would recommend following the easy path of the game first, because the rhythm and tempo really step up a gear as you progress through the various songs. There is a brief tutorial mode within the game and it’s fairly simple to follow the directions if you need some help at the start, so you don’t feel totally out of your depth.
Over the years I’ve played a selection of rhythm based video games from Space Channel 5 to Guitar Hero and they invariably follow the same simple format, with only a few slight differences between them.
Once the game has started, and you’ve been completely blown away by the graphics and videos from Project Diva f because they look absolutely stunning, you’ll start to focus your attention on your fingers and your sense of rhythm. The layout of the game is pretty simple and you’re prompted to tap the circle, square, cross and triangle button in time with the rhythm of the game. In the background you’ll have Hatsune and her friends starring on stage or in various environments while you feel the rhythm of the beat and become accustomed to the tune. The game does rely on you successfully being able to hit most of the notes, however it easy to miss a note or two which inevitably results in the game pointing out you’re a bit lousy. Hit a line of successful notes and you’ll be rewarded with a bonus score. At random intervals, a star symbol will appear on screen and you’ll have to swipe your finger across the touch screen interface, just like a DJ apparently would.
The game has a selection of modes to choose from depending on your taste and preference; each section offers a good collection of J-pop songs. Whilst the easy modes allow you to just tap and swipe the screen, the harder levels offer difficult challenges and use of the D-pad. If you’ve played these types of games before, then you’ll have a fair idea of what to expect, but otherwise stick with the easier modes for good practice.
If you manage to tap an accurate hit on the symbols, you’ll be rewarded with a good, or cool grade and this increases the game’s energy gauge, enabling you to perform a number of note combos for added bonuses. At the end of the song, you’ll be ranked and graded, which will result in either unlocking new songs within the game or some extra goodies for Hatsune’s virtual world.
The performance videos within the game are truly immersive, which is a good sign of a very well developed game, but also it can be an added distraction. I did find myself a number of times being completely mesmerized by the way Hatsune and her friends were performing on stage and somewhere along the line I remembered that I do need to be tapping or swiping the screen. The various songs are great too and very upbeat, even if you don’t know any of them.
Somehow Hatsune pulls you completely in and you’ll find yourself tapping your feet and becoming accustomed to the music as you practice and make progress through the game. Generally it’s just a matter of listening to the song a couple of times to be ranking a perfect score. The selection of music gives you a general taster of some fast and rapid rock songs, to slower and more relaxed ballads. So you’ve got a nice balance of tunes to get used too.
The game feels like it’s constantly rewarding you too, even if you don’t make a perfect rank. You’ll gain Diva Points throughout the game and with these you can purchase additional outfits or gifts for Hatsune. Unlocking new music, new items and objects for Hatsune’s virtual world is pleasing to the eye and makes you feel you’re making great progress. The game enables you to hang out in Hatsune’s virtual room, where a fair amount of customization is available. Inside this mode you can customize the way Hatsune looks and change everything about her from purchasing different items for her head or kitting her out in the latest accessory. You can also gift her various items from food such as popcorn or allow her to use various objects such as blowing bubbles or a stuffed cat. Hatsune also has access to a number of gadgets for her virtual room, from game consoles to televisions, and this is key to customization within the game. I love the fact you can decorate her virtual room and even dress up Hatsune in the latest outfits, although some of the attire can be very expensive to purchase. If you’re a creative person, this game offers you the ability to play around with the edit mode, muck around with character movements and lip syncing, and you can manage your own MP3 music and produce your own videos within the game. This allows you to be more creative, however these cannot be shared online, which is understandable, but a shame nonetheless.
‘Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f’ is possibly the best rhythm title I’ve played on the PS Vita and has been a fun experience on the handheld console. The game has a wide selection of music and beautifully immersive videos to enjoy, as well as additional downloadable content available, you’d be hard pressed to find another title of this genre that has as much content or is as polished. The game offers solid gameplay ,looks stunning, sounds great and is definitely a ‘must have’ title you should be adding to your PlayStation Vita collection.