Written by Twisted Ideas
Hatsune Miku and her gang have made a return overseas with a whole new set of music, dancing and costumes. This fast paced, colorful rhythm game brings back the charm rhythm games used to have before Dance Dance Revolution, Gutiar Hero and Rock Band standardized rhythm games in their heyday. Is -Project DIVA F- 2nd worth a second look?
Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd
Developers: Sega, Crypton Future Media
Platforms: Playstation 3, Playstation Vita
What is it?
Hatsune Miku is a music program that provides digital vocals called Vocaloids. Hastune Miku is apart of a line of Vocaloids and fans have been creating music and even music videos that have increased their popularity in Japanese culture. Project Diva F 2nd is the second rhythm game to be localized based on user created songs.
The core gameplay is unchanged. Target notes appear all across the screen as trigger notes fly from all directions. The the two notes overlap you have to press the corresponding button in the rhythm of the music. If you get a Good and Cool rating on enough notes and any bonus Rhythm Points in Chance and Technical Zones then you will successfully complete the song.
Aside from the new costumes and songs, there are only two new gameplay mechanics introduced. The Double Stars requires you to flick both analog sticks or swipe with two fingers simultaneously. This keeps you focused because it requires the use of both hands.
Link Stars are series of star notes are connected by a line. This line can send the star moving at different speeds towards the next note and can even move back across the same line. The more Cools you get increases the score for the next note. Linked Stars encourages you to know the song well enough to deal with any changes of speed because it’s unrealistic to react to.
There is a greater emphasis on unlocking modules (costumes) and customizable pieces. Each song has a list of unlockables, each with specific goals. These goals can range from beating a song x amount of times, get a overall score over several playthroughs to wearing a specific accessory during the stage.
What do I think?
Project Diva F 2nd hasn’t changed much but game is still incredibly fun. The notes are well synced with the music and the note tracks are more complicated, even making slower track more interesting. The unlocking system encourages players to go through the songs several times. While at times the requirements may make you play some songs more than 10 times minimum, the game is fun enough and the songs are good enough that it isn’t that frustrating.
I wasn’t as crazy about the soundtrack as I was with the first game. It took several playthroughs before the songs to grow on me. It’s not that the songs are bad, in fact most are great, it’s just that there are several songs that sound like standard anime themes at first or have slow tempos. They don’t stand out as immediately as I remembered the first game did but he music videos really help with keep you entertained.
Another thing about the soundtrack is that some Vocaloids are still under represented in the game. I know that the game’s title has Hastune Miku but there are little to next to no songs with some of the Vocaloids (Meiko). There are new duet combinations this time but it makes me wonder if there really aren’t that many solo Kaito or Meiko songs out there. Hopefully the upcoming DLC isn’t all Miku songs.
Besides the gameplay the music videos are what make the game. In the past couple of years during the dominance of DDR, Guitar Hero and Rock Band, rhythm games started to lose their personality. Games like Guitarooman and Space Channel 5 were becoming less common in the genre but it good to see that Project DIVA is putting so much effort in the presentation as well. There aren’t as many chibi vocaloids this time around, which is disappointing but a problem with some of the music videos is the colors. Sometimes the background blends in with the color of the notes. For a game where part of the game is hard tough it can be to follow the notes already camouflaging them doesn’t do you any favors.
The price of the DLC was bothersome. I originally thought that the price of the music “season pass” was $70 because that was less stupid than “season pass is actually for; It’s the price for the costumes and accessory “season pass”. I don’t know who will pay more than the price of the game for something cosmetic but those who do better love playing with these things. The actual price of the music DLC is $30 which is more reasonable. I was fine with what I originally thought the price was “season pass” was because there’s a a lot more work required in a Project DIVA song than there is on a Rock Band Song. I would have waited a year or so to get it but this seems like this could be a game that could live off DLC.
Should you get it?
If you’re a fan of Vocaloid, Japanese music or rhythm games then you will enjoy Hastune Miku -Project Diva- F 2nd (and it’s very long name). There’s a lot of variety in the soundtrack which will grow on you and the minor editions do make this game more fun. The gameplay is solid and addicting and its charm and cuteness is a cut above. If you’re looking for a great rhythm game then you will want to keep an eye out for this. Also Persona 4 will have a new rhythm game based on this engine sometime next year! Look forward to that.