Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X Review

The next addition to the Hatsune Miku:Project Diva franchise released on August 30th 2016.  Miku and her friends take the stage once again in Project Diva X.

Story
Wait, what? A Project Diva game with a story? Yes.  Rather than jumping right into the music game like it’s predecessors, you must help Miku and her friends light up the dim stages in their world so they sing once more. Project Diva X explains the premise of Vocaloids;  all they want to do is sing and bring light to the world, but they cannot sing on their own.  As the player, you must help them sing so their voices can be heard. They simply want to make the world a more vibrant place.  What’s not to love about these adorable digital singers?

Hatsune Miku_ Project DIVA X_20160826180851In order to give them more stages to sing on you must play through five different Clouds and fill each Cloud Prism with light.  You “travel” from Cloud to Cloud, and help Miku and her friends understand what it means to sing different types of songs. For example, how do you make a performance “cute”? As you “perform” songs on each Cloud, Miku and her friends get closer to the answer.

Game play
Game play is pretty standard compared to previous Project Diva games.  You hit notes in sync with the music or vocals, and the harder the song the faster and Hatsune Miku_ Project DIVA X_20160830160534more complex the notes appear on the screen.  If you have played F 2nd you will note that there are no more double star notes or star links (where the stars are linked with a line).  Instead, we are introduced to “Rush” notes, where you must push a single button as fast as you can until the note bursts.

You start the game off in “Normal” difficulty and must play five songs within each Cloud before continuing to the next.  There are five different Clouds to choose from: Classic, Cute, Cool, Quirky, and Elegant. You start off at the Classic Cloud and then you are free to choose the next one.  As you play each song within the Cloud you fill the Cloud Prism with “voltage”.  When you are near maximum Voltage a Medley Song appears featuring a mix of five different songs that fit the genre of the Cloud you are in.

What sets Diva X apart from all other games is the addition of unlockables.  Rather than earning Diva Points to buy Modules and Accessories for your Vocaloid, you must obtain all modules and unlockables by meeting a Hatsune Miku_ Project DIVA X_20160825201242certain criteria within the song.  In addition to having to unlock your modules and accessories, each Accessory or Module increases the Vocaloid’s Aura to enhance their performance so you can obtain more Voltage.

Despite the limited song list (only 30+ song) there are a lot of game play options available. You can free-play in the classic Project Diva style, complete event requests, create your own events, or take on the challenges each Cloud has. You are not limited to only one style of playing.

Visuals
Each game Miku looks better and better! The graphics are crisp, clear, and the motion is pretty fluid.  Not the greatest, but I can’t even see how she dances while I’m playing anyway, so to me, it doesn’t matter. I did notice that the colors are very dim. I felt like most songs and stages had this muggy gray tone to it.  I do love the nice touch of how when you hit notes a subtle picture of the Cloud you are in pops up.

Verdict
Pros: There’s a variety of ways to play this game.  You can venture from Cloud to Cloud, and even set up your own song list and play it. You’re also not limited to staying within the Clouds.  You can jump back into the classic game play style if you need to.  In addition, certain songs (within the Clouds) will have their own unique challenge. It’s similar to F 2nd where you get an unlockable based on the challenge of the song.

I enjoy how the modules actually do something for the song you are playing, versus it being just a mere gimmick. Having to unlock them through a variety of ways greatly increases the replay value of the game.

The Diva Room is also a little different.  I never really touched the Diva RHatsune Miku_ Project DIVA X_20160831132632oom in prior games (only for unlocking Trophies) and Diva X doesn’t force me to visit it.  Rather, between songs, the Vocaloid I most recently used will say something and then you  must interact with them. You’re not forced to creepily watch them as they dance in their room or read a book and wait for an event to happen.  No touching or petting either.

Cons: The play list is so short! When I jump on a Project Diva game I want a variety of songs to choose from and Diva X just feels so limited.  Of course, there will be DLC, but honestly, I don’t want to dish out another $60 for content the game should already have (Please note: I did spend $6 on the new songs already.  I know, I’m disgusting and I have an addiction!).  I wish that songs included in the Medley Mixes had full versions within the game.  I think with that extra touch, I would have been more satisfied with the play list. Speaking of song list, none of the other Volcaloids were really highlighted. Each Vocaloid only had one song each through the entire game.

Playing the game on Normal difficulty nearly drove me crazy! In order to proceed you have to clear each Cloud on either Easy or Normal.  You don’t get to try other difficulties until you have cleared each Cloud and completed the event.  It was painful (since I’m a more advanced player) and made it difficult for me to want to continue.  Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “But you have to start on Normal for other games, too.” While that is true, after clearing the Normal difficulty you can try the song again on Hard, and then Extreme. You don’t really get to go back until you’ve completely cleared the Cloud.

This might be me nit-picking, but I don’t like how the module always Hatsune Miku_ Project DIVA X_20160831141436changes in the middle of a song.  I chose my module, let me stick with it!  This problem is easily solved by simply playing in Free-Play mode in the sub menu.  The modules also don’t feel like anything special.  Most of the ones I have unlocked so far are from previous games; they’ve been recycled over and aren’t “new” to me.

One thing I absolutely did not like while playing through the story was that you couldn’t fail any songs.  In the free-play mode, if you royally mess up, you fail the song. In the story mode, if I made a mistake I didn’t feel like I had to pay for it. I still cleared the song and still somehow  managed to get all my Voltage items.  Taking away the challenge of the game made me enjoy it slightly less.  It also hindered my learning.  I can clearly see where I mess up, but unless I’m kicked out of the song, I felt like I couldn’t really improve my own playing skills.  Removing the challenge can work positively to help open the game to new comers, but I want to unlock my item from the Overclocking challenge because of my skill, not because my module had +30% aura bonus.

I don’t think the game was worth the $50 price tag it came with since the playlist was so limited.  Especially since more content is going to be added through DLC. Personally, I would wait for it to go on sale or pick it up used.  However, the game has high replay value so you’ll find yourself playing around with it for a while, if only to unlock all items and modules (which, if you have the money, you can just buy), and to see what else the game has to offer.  I noticed that Extreme difficulty songs do have some tricks up their sleeves so they are worth checking out.  There are also fun features to play around with like the  Photo Studio and Concert Editor.

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Have you picked up this title yet? What do you think of the game? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

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