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Review: Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F 2nd (PS3)

Review Overview

GOOD

GOOD

Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F 2nd is worth the play. As much of a game it is, it will sink its addictive claws into you if you give it the chance, especially so if you're a fan of J-pop. There is a lot of variety with the music here, great presentation and well-rounded game play.

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Now let me be honest here. As much as I am a racing game expert in some sorts, one genre I can always go back and play like crazy are music/rhythm games. I have no clue why, but I just love them. I’ve pretty much played them all, minus one – the Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F series.

As much as I’ve heard about them, and the insane popularity Miku has, I’ve always wanted to give one of the games a try. So I jumped at the chance to review Project DIVA F 2nd.  From a veteran of the genre,  how does this one hold up?

In short, very well.

Coming from a person who has never touched the series before, Project DIVA F 2nd is a very technical and awesome game. As much as I had doubts, I can say I had a lot of fun with this one. There was definitely a lot of work put into it, and it shows.

The Miku-chanics

To start, let’s take a look at how it plays. Basically, the Project DIVA games are like the joystick equivalent of Dance Dance Revolution in a way, utilizing all the buttons of the PlayStation 3’s DualShock 3 controller. You have your basic button presses/holds, using X, Triangle, Circle, and Square, and you have flicks, using either the left or right analog stick. There are also directional button presses, as well, combining the D-pad with the face buttons. It seems pretty innovative that the control scheme is based entirely on a controller for a home console instead of some special peripheral that you have to buy.

Project DIVA F 2nd is a classic example of a game that’s easy to play, yet difficult to master. While the game’s mechanics are fairly simple – press the buttons and analog sticks in time with the music, while watching Miku and her friends dance and sing in music video style sequences – the game can be quite unforgiving.

For example, just to clear a song you have to get a score of 80 or higher. Doing this unlocks more music and customization options. To successfully clear a song, you’ll need to master the Technical Zones and Chance Time to add bonus points to your score. Technical Zones are sections of the song where you must press certain buttons at a specific time, which can add a decent bonus to your score and rating. Chance Time is kind of the same thing but happens toward the end of the song. If you execute Chance Time correctly, and get a good rating, it can add special endings to the music videos, as well. I found this feature particularly enjoyable as it gives you a reason to replay the songs and master them to see the different endings.

If looks could kill

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I hope you’re a fan of J-pop because there’s a lot of it in here!

Presentation-wise, Project DIVA F 2nd looks great. The video quality is done well, and it features some beautifully designed 3D renders. In fact, the action looks so good, I sometimes found myself entranced by the video and completely ignoring what was going on in the game itself. I suppose Miku has that effect on some people, eh?

As beautiful as the game and its effects can be, there is a lot of crazy stuff going on, and keeping that out of the way while trying to keep up with the fast, frenetic button presses can be a chore. But, then again, what’s a music game without trying to keep the player off balance?

Like music to my ears

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Just in case you ever want to know what Miku and her friends are saying, there’s an option to turn on English subtitles.

Obviously, being that Project DIVA F 2nd is a music/rhythm game the quality of the songs you’ll be listening to the large majority of your time with the game is rather important. In total, there are about 40 songs to play through, with some returning from the last couple of Miku games as well as several new tunes. 

The music tends to fall along the J-pop genre but skips between different types of music and the majority of the songs are pretty catchy and fun to listen to. It certainly helps they all have a different style and theme set to them, while a majority of the songs are character specific.

While the music is definitely the star of the game, I’m looking forward to the DLC that will be coming to add more variety. I couldn’t help but getting addicted playing through the game and wanted more music to play through. I enjoyed the style of music, and to see all the different genres featured, it would be cool to see a wider selection of music.

Depeche Mode?

Bringing some sense of diversity to the game is multiple modes you can tinker with outside of the core game. For instance, the Edit Mode allows you to take a character, a song from the game or an mp3 file saved on your system and make a music video out of it. It’s a very detailed and somewhat time-consuming process, but there is a simple mode that’s meant to make things easier for us first-timers, but I guess I’m just not very good at editing because it was still a bit too technical for me. But once you do get through creating your own video, you can share it online and even download other people’s creations to play.

Outside of the Edit mode, you can customize your favorite character with different outfits, designs and even customize the game’s display.

If that doesn’t satiate your need for more Miku, the DIVA’s room has returned from the first game, which gives you the ability to customize her and her friend’s rooms. Within this mode, there is an affinity meter, which I still haven’t figured out quite what it does, but I’m not sure I actually want to know.

Summary

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The multiple different modes, like Edit mode that allows you to create your very own music video, really adds to the value of the game.

In closing, Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F 2nd is worth the play. As much of a game it is, it will sink its addictive claws into you if you give it the chance, especially so if you’re a fan of J-pop. There is a lot of variety with the music here, great presentation and well-rounded game play.

I just wish there was more music in the game and maybe some SEGA remixes that were featured in the arcade version. It would be awesome to play Like The Wind with my DualShock 3 controller. Give this game a try, it’s definitely worth it.

PROS

  • Presentation is done well, music and all
  • Lots of replayability
  • Tons of customization options
  • Sharing Edit mode music and making your own songs is pretty cool

CONS

  • In-game graphics can be a little too distracting at times
  • Clearing songs can require a lot of practice, especially in the later levels
  • There should have been more than 40 songs, even after clearing the game

 

4-SN-Good

 

 

Jayson Lamp

Resident SEGA racer expert of sorts,been playing them since OutRunners. Writer of the Forgotten Racers series,among other things. Favorite SEGA series is Hang-On,and my favorite console is the Saturn. "Welcome to our exciting circuit. Do your best,and good luck!!"-Power Drift,1988

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