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Sunday, 19 July 2009

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Review

It’s been about 2 weeks since school started and just as long since I started playing the game. I borrowed it from Khai on the first day of the new term and since then I have cleared all the songs in the game. Here are my thoughts on the game.


The gameplay is basically just like guitar hero except that you have to use the four buttons on the right to play. You usually press X or O to hit the notes at the right moment. The other two buttons rarely come into play during EASY or NORMAL mode but all four are used throughout the entire ‘Packaged’ song on HARD difficulty setting. While you try and hit the notes however, Miku is there to dance to the song in flashy videos that are VERY distracting for many reasons. Even the slideshow songs are distracting to watch.

Based on how well you time it you can get a COOL, FINE, SAFE, SAD or WORST rating for that note. Only the first two will count towards a combo though despite the third being SAFE. Every ten combo adds 50 additional points for each successive hit up till 50 combos where every successive combo will get 250 points after that. That’s half of what you get for scoring a COOL and 50 less than a FINE. The combo stops whenever you slip up. You still get points though, half if you hit the wrong button.

There’s also a portion of the song called CHANCE TIME where you have to hit notes in a streak of successful hits that adds 100 more points for a hit, 200 for the second hit and so on until you reach the maximum 5000 points per hit. Getting a perfect CHANCE TIME session is the difference between a STANDARD and a GREAT and sometimes even a STANDARD and a CHEAP. Based on how well you do you can get a MISSXTAKE, CHEAP, STANDARD, GREAT or PERFECT. You fail if you get the first two but they’re a lot easier to get than you think they are. You get a MISSXTAKE if you fall below a certain rhythm level in a gauge at the bottom left corner of the screen that does nothing but tell you if you’re about to fail.

Basically each level, even on EASY has at least 100 notes to hit and unless you have a “god mode” ability for games like Katsuragi Keima has then you won’t be scoring a GREAT. You’ll be lucky just to get a STANDARD on your first time. After that you start getting used to the game, you’ll easily be able to score STANDARD on the EASY levels, GREAT if you’re good. Also don’t be fooled by those EASY and NORMAL ranks, they should be renamed NORMAL, HARD and INSANE instead. That’s not just because the notes are going to fast or too confusingly, it’s also because SEGA and Miku herself are true sadists! Never mind what they say about Luka, Miku is an absolute sadist for whining that you should work harder, cutely I might add, because 140,000 points isn’t enough to clear the level. I had to score 296,000 points just to get a GREAT rank on Packaged on NORMAL!! Which reminds me, you need to score a GREAT on NORMAL just to be able to play HARD for a song.

Getting a GREAT on any level will let you watch the video without having to play it no matter what difficulty you get it on. Like I said, Project Diva proves to be tricky for even the best of gamers. I even had to use my “blank mode” just to get GREATs on NORMAL and I’ve never actually used it while gaming but that's probably because I preferred RPG's, strategies and action.

After getting used to it though, the difficulties start matching their their titles. I can even score standard easily on all the songs now and GREAT on some. HARD isn't all that much different from NORMAL, it just has a different note sequence and pacing. Since most of them are fast on HARD mode, it's actually easier for me to do.

This game is perfect for killing some time since there's a lot of stuff to unlock. It's also pretty addictive and the level of challenge will have you think "Dammit! One more time! I'll try one more time and if I don't get a great I will..." several times before you actually stop.

Miku sings more than fifty songs made by different composers that were chosen out of the thousands out there so it's impossible for it not be good. If you've been wanting to get good Miku songs then all you have to do is look for every song in this game. I do recommend the game's versions as well for some of them since they were modified to fit gameplay better. I really like the game's version of Hato and Melt myself. The BGM provided for the menu is also nice too.

For a PSP game, the graphics are actually pretty good. They managed to fit in roughly 50 unique dance sequences using 50+ character models for playing and still had enough space left to fit in a mode where you can them yourself. Like I said before, having Miku dance is very distracting while playing. They put in a lot of love to make sure of that. They even hired a 13 year old Loli idol to choreograph the moves using motion capturing techniques.

There's a lot to unlock in this game. You have songs, videos, costumes, characters, pictures and room items to unlock here. There are nearly 50 costumes for Miku to wear, lots of them being very appealing, and also the rest of the vocaloids and their swimwear to be used as the character models. Don't expect an easy time unlocking them all, most of the requirements for the best stuff are ridiculously hard to do. To get swimwear for any of the vocaloids, you have to play all the songs using them on hard mode with a STANDARD score five times each.

The dance creation mode isn't something I've tried before but I have seen some made by other fans that were just as good the ones in the game. Other than the song, you also get to choose what moves, facial expressions, camera angles and background to use for every second of the level. You also get to choose the timing of the notes to be hit and what sound they make when you hit them. Once you're done, you can upload those songs to the internet to share among other users. You still need the song you're making the dance for in your music folder when you play the level though.

There's a lot pictures to unlock. You get them by clearing levels on different difficulties and scores. I've got 93% unlocked so far and quite a lot of them are nice to see on the PSP. In addition to that, you can add more pictures to your pictures folders by taking screenshots during the video playback of the levels by pressing the R button. Unfortunately for reasons unknown, I can't seem to get that to work even though the "Screenshot Taken" message appears when I click the button. If it worked though, I would have gotten a lot of pictures to spread out here.

Finally there's Miku's room mode. In this mode, Miku does random stuff wearing whatever costume you want her to with whatever items you unlocked from the game. You can even choose what color scheme the room is. Just set up the items, pick miku's costume and the song to play and you can just watch Miku like a gold fish. You can also use the analog stick to change the camera angle to see various aspects of Miku. In this mode, you can even have it double as an mp3 player since the song just keeps on looping after it's done.

Also I need to mention the credits. After clearing all the levels, you get the end credits where you can control Hachune Miku until the end of the roughly 5 minute long credit sequence. You can even interfere with the names flying by triple jumping into the air and bump into the name.

This is a game that's absolutely worth buying regardless of the whether or not you are a fan of Miku's. If you aren't a fan of Miku's then you'll probably become one by playing this game. You can probably expect an english patch too since the only things that really need changing are the menus for the dance creation mode. With the gameplay being addictive and all those things to unlock, you can pretty much play this for hours and hours even after you finish unlocking everything. I am hoping that they're working on a sequel since my own library of good vocaloid songs easily exceed the game's count. My source is the Nico Nico charts from Sankaku Complex as you get an average of 5 new Miku songs on those charts everyday, and those are the good ones.

First time I have a glossary for a post, usually I just link to other sites:

Blank Mode – My personal version of Gundam Seed’s “Seed Mode” where my mind goes blank and I do things on instinct and without hesitation. Basically all my stats go up by at least 50% and my multitasking ability goes through the roof that I don’t even have to look at something to know where it is. Most people get boosts by focusing on one thing, I do it by unfocusing. Usually triggered by me being incredibly bored or annoyed. It ends when I realize what I just did. If I don’t realize it in time while exercising or playing sports then I’ll have done so much damage to my body that it’ll be overheating and in a lot of pain the next day. It's happened twice before. I can force a very short Blank Mode intentionally but that quickly goes away. Not long enough to get a perfect CHANCE TIME session on long ones -_-.

That's it for my review, I'll leave you a with a few images related to the game as compensation for not being able to take screenshots.


Miku's Galaxy Costume


Chibi Miku Strips by Minami


Heart Hunter Costume

Nyanko Costume

Joker Costume

Gothic Costume



Several screenshots of Miku in her room from some site


PV screenshots

1 comment:

  1. Heh, I also have a "blank mode" for games. Although it usually ends with me failing due to not switching characters at the right time or things like that. :p


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