I’ve previously played two Hatsune Miku rhythm games, one on the PS3, and one on the Nintendo 3DS. I generally enjoyed them, though I found the gameplay controls a little rough. In particular, in the 3DS version, bouncing between the two screens was difficult at higher difficulties, and on the PS3 version, the size of the screen ended up working against the game. For my next outing against a Miku game on a Sony platform, with the latest title – Hatsune Miku Project Diva X – I decided to take on the Vita version of the game.
Project Diva X controls and plays almost identically like Project Diva F on on the PS3, with some minor tweaks. Rather than unlocking the songs in order by escalating difficulty, the songs are instead structured by theme – Classic, Cute, Quirky, Cool, and Elegant. Each category has 5 songs, and upon completing the point or “Voltage” goal for each song in a theme, you unlock a Medley of 5 more songs. Completing that beats the “cloud”, allowing the player to move on to the next cloud. After completing the Classic Theme, the other four clouds can be taken on in any order, though once a cloud has been selected, it has to be cleared before you can move on to the next cloud.
Right out of the gate, the smaller screen of the Vita is a much better fit with this game. I was able to play much better on the Vita than I was on a television, as I was able to have the entire screen in the entirety of my field of view, letting me track incoming notes better. I found myself able to clear songs on higher difficulties that would have left me struggling on the TV, and able to handle the D-Pad + Button combinations without any problems.
The performance sequences for each song have been tweaked somewhat from the earlier games. In the previous games, each song had a Music Video that played underneath the notes moving across the screen. In Project Diva X, these are instead staged performances, and you can customize the performer’s outfits and accessories. Selecting accessories that fit with the theme of the song, and in the right combinations will give you a boost to your point multiplier. Costumes also provide special abilities, ranging from increasing the chance of unlocking new outfits and accessories, to giving score and multiplier boosts.
The dating sim portion of the game has also been adjusted to feedback into the musical performances. By building up your friendship meter with each of the 6 vocaloids in the game (Hatsune Miku, Len & Rin Kagamine, Megurine Luka, and KAITO & MEIKO), you also get a boost to your score modifier with those songs that are performed with that character. As part of this, you can play any song with any character. However, the vocal tracks for those songs don’t vary, and there aren’t any tips on who the actual lead vocalists on those songs are, meaning that you can have, unintentionally, KAITO’s vocal track coming out of Hatsune Miku’s mouth.
Unfortunately, the song selection is much smaller than the earlier games, with the track list making up a total of 6 tracks per cloud plus a final medley. That final medley has to be unlocked by basically beating the game twice. The first time through the game’s clouds, you are only able to play on Easy and Normal difficulty. After your initial clear, the “voltage” (points) from each cloud crystallizes, and you are informed that there is an ultimate medley that you can unlock after getting an additional crystal from each cloud. That crystal can be obtained by hitting a point threshold for each cloud, and at this point two harder difficulty levels are unlocked for all the existing songs. In order to meet those thresholds without grinding, you’re going to have to beat the songs at these harder difficulties. While I enjoyed the songs in the game, I didn’t find myself enjoying the game quite enough that I wanted to play through the game twice in a row to get one more song.
By comparison, the Project Diva F games each added an encore set. This set would have more difficult tracks and some Greatest Hits tracks as a reward for beating the main sequence of the game. Instead, the “greatest hits” tracks from earlier games, like “Senbonzakura” and “Piano x Forte x Scandal”, are absent here, at least as complete tracks. A few classics like “The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku” appear in some of the medley tracks, but not in their entirety in their own right.
According to Wikipedia, there are some DLC tracks, but they appear to be exclusive to the home console versions of the game. Additionally, while the game has english subtitles for the lyrics of all of the songs, the “Concert Mode” that would let you just sit back and watch the songs be performed is only available through DLC on the Vita. Presumably the concert mode is on-disk on the PS4 version.
On the one hand, the reduced song selection, lack of DLC tracks, and the fact that the Concert Mode is not present on the cart makes the game harder to recommend. On the other hand, it is fun, and several of the tracks on here (particularly “Raspberry*Monster” and “Even a Kunoichi Needs Love”) are pretty catchy. I’d say that the Vita version makes for a better gameplay experience, while the PS4 version will probably make for a better way to experience the songs, once you’ve unlocked them.
Hatsune Miku Project Diva X is available from Amazon.com.