Review: Hatsune Miku Project Diva X debuts on PS4
The kawaii, teal vocaloid goddess makes her grand entrance on current gen
Platforms: PS4 (Reviewed), PS Vita
MSRP: $49.99 (PS4), $39.99 (Vita)
For some, Hatsune Miku needs no introduction. The teal vocaloid and her band of supporting cast members have been singing their digital hearts out for years now, though it wasn't until fairly recently that the US finally got to be a part of this phenomenon. With two games out on the PS3, one exclusive for the 3DS, we now come to Project Diva X, the vocaloid's first debut on the PS4, and what a fantastic one it is.
Feel the rhythm
The core of the game is unchanged. You still pick a song, pick a vocaloid, dress them up in whacky costumes and press buttons in time to the beat to make them sing, all while they perform elaborate choreography on fantastical stages.
Even the rhythm game part is the same, with face button prompts flying on screen from various directions. For those coming into this series for the first time, this can certainly be a bit off-putting. I say this because rhythm games in general usually have a static space for button prompts to fly into. In this case, you really have to keep an eye out on the entirety of the screen, or you might miss a rogue X button prompt flying in from the top right.
There's a story mode?
Yes. Kind of. It's the thing that sort of bogs the game down, because you're forced to go through it to unlock the game's 30+ songs.
The story can be skipped, unless you really enjoy watching Miku interact with the rest of the vocaloids about restoring powers to prisms... for some reason. It's silly stuff, and if I wasn't playing this game for review purposes, I would have skipped all of it, and I can safely say you can skip all of it and be just fine.
While I generally like progression in music games, that allows for unlocking more songs, or in Miku's games, more accessories to adorn her in, putting it behind a narrative seems like a step back in this case.
Speaking of accessories!
Aside from restoring power to a bunch of prisms through song and dance, you'll also be outfitting Miku in various dresses, costumes, and accessories. While that doesn't really sound all that different from past games, here all of those things actually contribute to your overall score.
Each prism and by that token, song, has some sort of adjective tied down to it, whether it's Quirky, Elegant, etc. If you put costumes and dresses on that match that description, you'll get a bonus modifier to your score. On top of that, you can also match items that go together, for example dog ears and a dog tail, for an added bonus as well.
As silly as this sounds, it pushed me to try and unlock more costumes and accessories to get the max amount of points in a song possible. If that was its intent, then mission accomplished SEGA.
Of course, a rhythm game lives and dies off of its soundtrack, and I'm pleased to say that Project Diva X has easily the best soundtrack to date. However, it comes with a caveat. It's also the latest entry with the least songs playable. In comparison, Project Diva F and F 2nd had over 40 songs, and even the handheld 3DS entry had nearly 50 songs to play. Project Diva X has just 30, but damn if they aren't all amazing.
Some personal favorites of mine include Satisfaction with its thumping beat, and Ai Dee with its stylistic rap sections that I wasn't sure Vocaloids can pull off. Not to mention, it's the one song where they actually sound like human beings.
There are "technically" more songs if you include each individual song as part of the medleys, but I'm not sure that makes sense, since you only play a part of each of those songs. The medleys are awesome though and serve as the final stage for each prism, complete with glow-stick wielding crowds cheering you on.
Listen, Miku fans are already glued to their screen, and didn't need a review to tell them the game's fantastic. However, rhythm game fans who wanted a truly amazing game in the genre on their PS4 can certainly do no better at the time of this review, than Project Diva X.
It's fun, it's flashy, and the song selection is impeccable, if just a bit too small.