I have never played any of the Hatsune Miku games before. So coming into this game, I was a bit skeptical, mostly because the rhythm game that I played before this was Parappa the Rapper 2, which was recently re-released on PlayStation 4. In my opinion, it was probably the greatest music-related rhythm game ever created, because of the simplicity of the game. However, the Project Diva series of games take that formula and turns it all the way up to 11. While there are a lot of fans of the J-Pop movement, will Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X appeal to all fans?
Game Name: Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita (PlayStation TV compatible) *Reviewed on PlayStation 4*
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Price: $49.99(PS4); $39.99 (PSVita)
Rhythm games aren’t all the same, yet they’re not too different either. Every big rhythm game that released over the last 2 decades has had its major hook. Parappa the Rapper took advantage of the major hip-hop boom that was taking place courtesy of Jay-Z, Diddy, Eminem and Nas. Dance Dance Revolution got people to work out while doing something fun to some great songs. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva, however, takes advantage of the burgeoning popularity of J-Pop by using the Vocaloid as a mascot of sorts. The Project Diva/Project Mirai series of games are the newest games on the block. These games, since 2009, have garnered a following, and it’s not hard to see why. We’ll get into that later.
The object of Project Diva X is to restore energy to 5 different clouds by singing songs to revive their wattage. Similar to most other rhythm games, you have to press the corresponding buttons to the beat to successfully complete the songs. However, this is where the similarities end. While it is a standard fare music game, Project Diva X throws in the caveat of notes just flying from any which way on the screen. For fans of the series, this is par for the course, however, for newbies, it can be quite jarring, as it was for me.
The main story behind Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X is probably one of the most simplistic stories that you can see in any type of game. While this can be seen as a low light, the other aspects of the game, such as the dating sim-like mini-games, as well as the insane amount of unlockable modules, can divert attention for a while. Unfortunately for this game, it’s not enough to keep any real attention in the game if you’re not a hardcore fan of the series or the Vocaloid princess in general. Fans will, however, see a nearly unlimited amount of potential time killing with the main story, as well as event requests which unlock after completing the third cloud (the clouds can be completed in any order you wish.) In addition, you have the option of not only playing as Miku, but as Len, Rin, MEIKO, and KAITO as well, so there’s more than enough content to hold fans of the series.
I had two major gripes about this game that kept me from really enjoying this game after a while: the paltry soundtrack, and the sheer speed of everything flying across the screen. I could not get into the music as much as I would have liked to, something that games like DDR, Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Parappa the Rapper do extremely well. While I understand the insane popularity of Miku and J-Pop in general, I feel that this pigeonholes the game in such a way, that outsiders wouldn’t be able to appreciate the game for what it is. Our EIC, Keith Mitchell’s daughter had a bit of a hot take when it came to the soundtrack;
This soundtrack sucks. I wouldn’t play it.
That’s saying a lot from a person familiar with J-pop as a whole, and I tend to agree. I contemplated if more contemporary songs from current pop artists were included, such as Katy Perry, Taylor Swift or even Beyoncé, it could boost Miku’s popularity as a whole, and even I might play the game, as much of a hip-hop fan that I am. Granted, I understand the audience target, I just feel that it could be more.
In addition, speaking as someone with sub-standard reactions, having to keep up with upwards of 200bpm songs on a controller can be daunting for a beginner, even on easy mode. It’s not a good look if someone can get frustrated easily while playing on the simplest of settings. It takes a bit of practice, but it can get a little ridiculous when you get to the multi-song medleys, and I found myself resisting the urge to toss my controller.
*Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X was provided to us by SEGA of America for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X seems to miss the mark in too many ways, in my opinion, for new players to even get into the series. Long-standing fans will love this game, most assuredly, but that’s not saying much towards the negative takeaways from this game for new people.
- Moderately engaging plot line
- Lots to unlock
- High barrier of entry
- Not enough substance to bring new players into the fold