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"[GAME] Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F (PSN)"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Hatsune Miku and Future Stars: Project Mirai'.
Wed 13/11/13 at 13:52
Regular
"Carpe Diem"
Posts: 154
Regularly seen in the wardrobe of cosplayers, the unique style of Hatsune Miku has come to define a subculture. In Japan, the blue haired diva has become iconic, with everything from shoes to sports cars proudly displaying the Vocaloid image. Video games, of course, have not escaped the influence of the virtual singers, and Miku saw her first PSP game released by Sega in 2008. But it would take another five years of success for Hatsune Miku to make it westward, with Europe seeing the latest game released in the form of a PSN download. The game might have been translated into English, but does it translate for the tastes of western gamers?

A high colour game of rhythm action, Project Diva F is made in the spirit of arcade classics such as Dance Dance Revolution. Your chosen character sings and dances, whilst the screen is filled with hypnotic lists of button prompts to press in time with the music. It's a classic and uncomplicated affair, unconcerned with the motion controls that have overtaken the genre in the west. Instead, everything is tied to the PS3 pad, with the famous face buttons flashing on screen to give your fingers a hearty workout. The core of the game is thus a simple premise, and it embodies the pick-up-and-play mentality which is often missing from modern game libraries. It may not be chasing the 'party' feeling in the way of games like the Just Dance series, but it's wrapped in such a delightful style that it's difficult not be taken in.

It's major aesthetic is of course the Vocaloid brand it is part of, and fans of the Japanese virtual idols will feel immediately at home. For those who are new to Hatsune Miku, the initial impression may be culture shock, with bright lights and bizarre fashions filling up every corner of the screen. But it won't take long to become drawn in, with each of the 30 plus songs in the game coming with a full blown music video. Unlike in some rhythm action games, where the focus is mainly on the button prompts, Project Diva treats it's players to visually stunning, full-motion videos as a backdrop to all the button mashing. Couple this with the vast array of unlockable costumes and accessories, and it quickly becomes almost impossible to avoid the often eccentric charms of the Vocaloid universe.

The lions share of your time in the game will be spent in the 'rhythm' mode, or main feature of the game. Here you can access any of the songs (after first playing through them all once), select your character and begin playing. It's charm lies in it's simple nature, it is easy to try it for 30 minutes and end having played for hours. This additive nature makes the game an odd mixture of intense and relaxing. Difficulty settings cater to your mood, so the 'normal' setting has slower button prompts, whilst the 'extreme' mode is just as excessive as it's namesake suggests. But either way the gameplay is the same: press the buttons in time with the music and be awarded a score (from 'standard' to 'perfect') at the end of the song. As well as the standard PlayStation buttons, star shaped symbols will appear on screen, where the idea is to move the analogue sticks in time with the rhythm of the songs. This task is much more difficult that is sounds, especially during the 'technical zones', where a single missed note will result in a penalty in your final score. The opposite to this are the heart racing 'chance times', which award a bonus at the end of the song if the right notes are hit during a certain time frame. It all adds up to an engaging experience, which will see many a quick-fingered player mumbling the phrase 'just one more go'.

Apart from the rhythm game, other modes include an 'Edit' feature, where your own MP3 files can be used to create a personal video and rhythm stage. This mode is a little fiddly and although the final result is pleasing, it is most certainly not for those who simply wish to sit down and play. But for those with the will to turn their own songs into Miku masterpieces, the options are varied with hundreds of actions and backdrops to choose from. Other than this, there is a 'live studio' mode where you can take photos of your virtual singer as they perform on stage, and a rather odd 'Diva Room' feature, where you can give gifts or eat with your singer to raise an abstract 'affinity level'. These features will certainly please a Vocaloid fan, but for everyone else they are mere distractions from the rhythm action at the core of the game. Indeed, changing costumes and chasing high scores will appeal much more than than the abstruse 'Diva Room' for the vast majority of players.

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F is an energetic and colourful game, filled to the brim with addictive and somewhat hypnotic rhythm action. The songs are catchy and memorable (although it must be said, they are all in Japanese), and the characters are likeable and infinitely stylish. Certain features may not appeal to all but the most diehard of fans, but the heart of the game is a polished experience, mixing classic arcadey gameplay with the neon glamour of Japanese style. It may not be first on your list of PSN downloads, but for anyone looking for that certain game to simply pick up, play and unwind, Project Diva should not be overlooked.

8/10
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Wed 13/11/13 at 13:52
Regular
"Carpe Diem"
Posts: 154
Regularly seen in the wardrobe of cosplayers, the unique style of Hatsune Miku has come to define a subculture. In Japan, the blue haired diva has become iconic, with everything from shoes to sports cars proudly displaying the Vocaloid image. Video games, of course, have not escaped the influence of the virtual singers, and Miku saw her first PSP game released by Sega in 2008. But it would take another five years of success for Hatsune Miku to make it westward, with Europe seeing the latest game released in the form of a PSN download. The game might have been translated into English, but does it translate for the tastes of western gamers?

A high colour game of rhythm action, Project Diva F is made in the spirit of arcade classics such as Dance Dance Revolution. Your chosen character sings and dances, whilst the screen is filled with hypnotic lists of button prompts to press in time with the music. It's a classic and uncomplicated affair, unconcerned with the motion controls that have overtaken the genre in the west. Instead, everything is tied to the PS3 pad, with the famous face buttons flashing on screen to give your fingers a hearty workout. The core of the game is thus a simple premise, and it embodies the pick-up-and-play mentality which is often missing from modern game libraries. It may not be chasing the 'party' feeling in the way of games like the Just Dance series, but it's wrapped in such a delightful style that it's difficult not be taken in.

It's major aesthetic is of course the Vocaloid brand it is part of, and fans of the Japanese virtual idols will feel immediately at home. For those who are new to Hatsune Miku, the initial impression may be culture shock, with bright lights and bizarre fashions filling up every corner of the screen. But it won't take long to become drawn in, with each of the 30 plus songs in the game coming with a full blown music video. Unlike in some rhythm action games, where the focus is mainly on the button prompts, Project Diva treats it's players to visually stunning, full-motion videos as a backdrop to all the button mashing. Couple this with the vast array of unlockable costumes and accessories, and it quickly becomes almost impossible to avoid the often eccentric charms of the Vocaloid universe.

The lions share of your time in the game will be spent in the 'rhythm' mode, or main feature of the game. Here you can access any of the songs (after first playing through them all once), select your character and begin playing. It's charm lies in it's simple nature, it is easy to try it for 30 minutes and end having played for hours. This additive nature makes the game an odd mixture of intense and relaxing. Difficulty settings cater to your mood, so the 'normal' setting has slower button prompts, whilst the 'extreme' mode is just as excessive as it's namesake suggests. But either way the gameplay is the same: press the buttons in time with the music and be awarded a score (from 'standard' to 'perfect') at the end of the song. As well as the standard PlayStation buttons, star shaped symbols will appear on screen, where the idea is to move the analogue sticks in time with the rhythm of the songs. This task is much more difficult that is sounds, especially during the 'technical zones', where a single missed note will result in a penalty in your final score. The opposite to this are the heart racing 'chance times', which award a bonus at the end of the song if the right notes are hit during a certain time frame. It all adds up to an engaging experience, which will see many a quick-fingered player mumbling the phrase 'just one more go'.

Apart from the rhythm game, other modes include an 'Edit' feature, where your own MP3 files can be used to create a personal video and rhythm stage. This mode is a little fiddly and although the final result is pleasing, it is most certainly not for those who simply wish to sit down and play. But for those with the will to turn their own songs into Miku masterpieces, the options are varied with hundreds of actions and backdrops to choose from. Other than this, there is a 'live studio' mode where you can take photos of your virtual singer as they perform on stage, and a rather odd 'Diva Room' feature, where you can give gifts or eat with your singer to raise an abstract 'affinity level'. These features will certainly please a Vocaloid fan, but for everyone else they are mere distractions from the rhythm action at the core of the game. Indeed, changing costumes and chasing high scores will appeal much more than than the abstruse 'Diva Room' for the vast majority of players.

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F is an energetic and colourful game, filled to the brim with addictive and somewhat hypnotic rhythm action. The songs are catchy and memorable (although it must be said, they are all in Japanese), and the characters are likeable and infinitely stylish. Certain features may not appeal to all but the most diehard of fans, but the heart of the game is a polished experience, mixing classic arcadey gameplay with the neon glamour of Japanese style. It may not be first on your list of PSN downloads, but for anyone looking for that certain game to simply pick up, play and unwind, Project Diva should not be overlooked.

8/10

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