Hatsune Miku is a Japanese Vocaloid Pop Idol. That is to say, she’s a famous pop singer that happens to be a computer program, and this is her newest video game. the Hatsune Miku games are a rhythm/music series where you time button presses to the music. New additions to this series include a story mode, event requests, and a new module system.
Not something I ever thought I would be talking about with a Hatsune Miku game, the actual story is nothing to write home about. Miku and her friends are worried, the clouds, which you could equate to venue’s almost, have lost their energy. With the help of Rin, Len, Luka, Meiko, and Keito, you must play to bring energy back to the clouds. Each cloud has it’s own style such as Classic, Cute, Cool, Elegant, and Quarky, and has 5 songs as well as a medley inside of them. Each cloud has its own little story that you play out and solve, and the solution is that you fill the cloud…..for each cloud. It’s the same thing. In the end I don’t believe the story mode itself has any effect on the game or its attempt to be better than the last.
Free play is still in the game where you can play at any difficulty to try and get the highest score. In terms of the rhythm game play, there is almost nothing at all new. The only addition is the new “Rush Notes”. Rush notes appear on screen with the word Rush below them, and it is your job to click that button repeatedly until the not dissapears. I have noticed, in the over 10 hours I spent with the game, I have yet to come upon any double star notes.
Now the story may not be anything special, but that is where all the new gameplay elements come into play. Songs played in story mode don’t follow the normal score based play seen in free play and in the past games of the series. Instead, as you play, your Voltage score rises, and in order to pass a song you must pass that voltage score. Each song has 3 voltage tiers, the first which passes the song and unlocks an item, and the after that which each unlock an item when passed. There is a Voltage multiplier on the left of the screen that starts at 100% and slowly rises as you correctly play or hit “Voltage Up” notes that appear. Another way to increase the voltage multiplier is through the use of modules and items. Each module and item has a style, and the styles correlate to the the ones used in the 5 clouds. Using a module that has the same style as the cloud you are playing in or representing will automatically start the song with a 20% increase. There are 4 item slots: Head, Face, Chest, and back, and by putting items with the correct style in these slots, the multiplier will increase by 5% with each item. Items can also be put together for a combo. For example, the “Drops abover head” item, “Swirly glasses” item, and “Black Backpack” item will increase the multiplier by 15%, but they also create the “Smart Classman” combo, which adds another 11%. Throw those items on with a module that also has that style and you can start a song with a multiplier of over 150%.
Once you play through the story once, it gives you incentive to go back by unlocking the harder difficulties to play, along with challenges, and giving you the objective to unlock more crystals.
Speaking of modules, there are multiple ways to get them. The most common way is to successfully play the bonus section of a song. Other ways are by increasing friendship with each vocaloid by giving them goods like food, toys, and decorations, and playing through event requests. Each module has a special ability that it uses during a song. These abilities range from getting a bonus 1000 voltage for every 80-note combo, to raising voltage faster, to giving you a better chance at getting rare modules.
Event requests are little shows that certain characters will ask you to put on to help them with certain things such as undertanding what makes you quarky, or trying to help them be cool. Each request will have a certain challenge voltage for you to accomplish.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
The graphics haven’t seen much of an improvement over Project Diva F 2nd, but that isn’t really necessary to begin with. The game isn’t meant to look realistic, it’s meant to be a quirky animated game.
In the sound department, the game has 30 new songs for you to play, along with Medley’s that each have parts of 3 or 4 songs inside them, including a few songs that appeared in earlier Project Diva titles. You can change the sound made when hitting a note again, but I continue to use the standard noise effect. It just sounds good to me, and I like tambourines.
Hatsune Miku Project Diva X is a fun game, but it isn’t a big step forward in the franchise. Even with the new story mode, it’s almost just more of the same. Almost. There is nothing here to win over people who disliked the previous games, but there is enough for series fans to feel like the aren’t playing the exact same game.
Hatsune Miku Project Diva X releases on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on August 30th, 2016