Japan is a very different place than Canada or America and this is made very apparent once you learn of Hatsune Miku; Japan's number 1 digital idol. Hatsune Miku is a synthesized voice that is made to make songs, she has been given a physical form by the fans and now rules over their domain like a queen. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f is the first and only game in the series to make it to our shores and it's nice to see SEGA given us some whacky Japanese support and, what do you know, it's a rhythm game. Was the game worth the trip over seas? Or should Miku have stayed surrounded by her loving fans in the east?
Being a rhythm game, there is no story at all. It's just Miku and the other characters, all known as Vocaloids performing for music videos. This isn't a knock against the game though, since the music is what makes the girl.
The gameplay is rather simple but very engaging and enjoyable. The visual on screen plays a music video featuring different vocaloids and you are tasked with pressing buttons in time with the prompts that appear over the video. As mentioned, it's as simple as pressing the buttons at the right time mostly. There are five buttons that you need to worry about; the 4 face-buttons and the left or right analogue stick and the prompts come in four types; normal prompts, which just require a simple press, sustained prompts require you to hold the button and let go at the right time when it ends. The other two aren't as common and they are; a colored arrow which require you to hold the direction and press the button and the other is a gold star which require you to move any of the analogue sticks.
Aside from the normal prompts, there are sections that either boost your score or affect the ending of the video. These are distinguishable by a counter or meter in the corner of the display, a counter for the score boosting Technical Zones and the meter is for the Chance Time. To complete a song, you don't have to only survive, you need to fill a score bar on the bottom of the screen. If you complete a song without filling the meter, you are forced to replay the song. Aside from playing the rhythm game you can make your own tracks to play using a song from your PS3's hard drive but it's a little too complicated and a little unwieldy to use with a controller but it is there for you to use and share with people online.
You can also buy costumes for your vocaloids, known as modules, and other accessories to dress them in. You can also hang out in their rooms, Diva Rooms, and pat their heads or give them gifts. If they like you enough they will let you play a game with them and that game is Rock, Paper, Sissors. These side things are amusing, but the rhythm game is where it's at and it is some of the most fun I've had in a rhythm game, it's incredibly fun.
In a rhythm game, the music is all there is. There is no need for voice work here, just the music. The music is enjoyable if you like pop or J-Pop, while I don't usually like pop I have a thing for J-Pop in games or anime. There are 38 great songs and there is a great variety among them. The soundtrack is bubbly and upbeat for the most part and a lot of the enjoyment comes from listening to them.
The visuals are another great point to the game but they have one rather large drawback. The visuals are bright and the videos are fun to watch. The Vocaloids are modeled well as are their animations. Each video is flashy and each follows the theme of the song which is what you want here. The costumes look great and it can be amusing when you get a different Vocaloid to sing another's song. The only real issue with the visuals, aside from them not being too technically impressive, is that they can get in the way of the gameplay. They pop and flare so often that they can get really distracting and maybe even make you mess up. Once you are used to it, this issue doesn't really arise making the presentation fun.
- Amazingly fun rhythm gameplay
- Songs are catchy and enjoyable
- Character designs are good
- Songs can get challenging
- Visuals are fun to watch and creative
- Tons of costumes to buy
- Side events are amusing
- Visuals can get really distracting
- Music isn't for everyone
- A lot of grinding is needed to unlock every costume
Overall, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f is a really fun rhythm game and it's great that SEGA brought it to us. If you like rhythm games, give it a try. If you aren't afraid of Japanese otaku culture, give it a try. It's fun, challenging, enjoyable to watch and it's just an enjoyable experience all over. There are more Hatsune Miku: Project Diva games out there and I hope that SEGA has a heart and brings them to these shores.
Total = 9.5/10