Reviews

Hatsune Miku: Undertaking Diva X (for PlayStation four)


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Will Greenwald

Twenty years in the past, William Gibson wrote Idoru. Whereas it is not the most effective cyberpunk novel on the market (I choose Dick, myself), it confirmed the type of disturbingly prescient future imagery Gibson is thought for. It was a couple of computer-generated Japanese idol singer and a collection of unusual repercussions that come from having such a strong popular culture icon who’s fully digital. Right now, we have now Hatsune Miku.

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Hatsune Miku is a vocaloid, a digital persona of a voice synthesis profile developed by Yamaha. She’s additionally a pop star whose hologram has sung earlier than sold-out crowds and has even carried out on The Late Present with David Letterman. Miku is a phenomenon, even when she’s primarily a phenomenon in Japan. She and her 5 vocaloid siblings are the celebs of Sega’s Hatsune Miku: Undertaking Diva X for the PlayStation 4 ($49.99; $39.99 for the PlayStation Vita model). And now that you simply perceive the absurdly cyberpunk origins of the phenomenon, we will speak about how Sega put out a very robust rhythm sport based mostly on the character.

Vocaloid Crew
There is a skinny story conceit to Undertaking Diva X, but it surely’s simply an excuse to stroll you thru a lot of the sport’s tracks on the Straightforward or Regular problem ranges, and accumulate a handful of beauty choices earlier than the sport actually opens up. You are a online game participant (which, technically, makes Undertaking Diva X a actually efficient role-playing sport) who Miku asks for assist with restoring the voltage within the vocaloid clouds. The clouds are poorly defined, and point out that vocaloids perform totally on Care Bears logic. Additionally, she will be able to solely sing properly when you assist her, by urgent the right buttons, flicking the analog sticks, and rubbing the DualShock four touchpad in time with the music.

You’ll be able to play as extra than simply Miku. In addition to the titular character, you possibly can management one in all 5 different vocaloids: Kagamine Len, Kagamine Rin, Megurine Luka, KAITO, and MEIKO. There is no gameplay distinction between the vocaloids, and selecting completely different characters does not really change the music, however the completely different characters supply quite a lot of customization choices with their particular person modules, defined under.

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X

Hit the Notes
Undertaking Diva X is a controller-based rhythm sport, which implies you do not want plastic devices as you’d with Guitar Hero Live or Rock Band 4. You simply want to make use of the buttons, sticks, and touchpad on the DualShock four controller in time with the prompts. Inputs are displayed on the display screen as floating icons with quickly spinning clocks inside them, with extra, paired icons flying towards them from the perimeters of the display screen. When a clock reaches the 12-o’clock place and a flying icon overlaps a floating one, press the corresponding button. This double visible suggestions is sort of helpful, because it ensures that you realize what it’s essential to do irrespective of the place you take a look at the display screen. When you hold your eyes targeted on the floating icons, you possibly can rely completely on the clocks; in case your eyes extra simply comply with giant, colourful actions, you possibly can observe the flying buttons as a substitute.

Fundamental button presses correspond to each the DualShock four’s face buttons and path pad; a circle icon might be triggered by the circle or urgent proper on the pad, a sq. icon might be triggered by the sq. button or urgent left on the pad, and so forth. Sometimes, extra brightly coloured arrows seem as a substitute of face button icons, which implies it’s essential to press each the face button and corresponding path on the similar time. These may also be held, indicated when the flying icons are trailed by lengthy tracks that run into the floating icons. Lastly, star icons imply it’s essential to flick both analog stick or swipe on the touchpad. On high of all of that, any of those icons can flash the phrase Speedy over them, indicating that you need to mash the button/strum the stick quickly as a substitute of hitting it as soon as. This will likely sound difficult, however all the gameplay components get fairly properly.

As a substitute of merely exhibiting a string of inputs in the course of every music, Undertaking Diva X’s tracks are given particular problem sections known as Technical Zones and Likelihood Time. Technical Zones are collection of inputs, starting from 10 to a number of dozen, that you need to enter with out lacking a single one to get a degree bonus. Likelihood Time is a selected part of a music the place your inputs contribute to a separate meter that fills up. When you can fill the meter earlier than the tip of the part and flick the analog stick when the ultimate star icon seems, you get a big bonus within the type of a beauty module in your character. They’re each useful bits of punctuation that give songs a little bit of selection with out disrupting their move.

Factors and Collectibles
Every music has a required voltage (level) quantity it’s essential to meet to beat it. That is the one fail state within the sport; a music will not reduce out within the center since you’re doing poorly, you simply will not get the rating wanted to beat it. You’ll be able to add bonus multipliers to your voltage by equipping your vocaloid with a module (costume) and as much as 4 equipment that go together with the music’s theme. Most songs are one in all 5 classes: Traditional, Cool, Cute, Elegant, or Quirky. Once you put on a module and equipment that go together with the music sort, the quantity of factors you get within the music is considerably boosted. Every module additionally has a useful bonus connected, resembling giving extra factors after a streak of excellent notes or rising the prospect of getting a uncommon module within the subsequent music.

The modules and equipment are enjoyable for the customization choices they supply way over the purpose bonuses you will get from them (and the bonuses actually aren’t essential while you first play by means of the sport at Straightforward or Regular problem ranges). There are over 300 modules within the sport, every distinctive to one of many six vocaloids, plus lots of extra equipment that may work with any vocaloid and module. You’ll be able to costume your vocaloids as stylish club-goers, athletes, supervillains, Victorian nobles, and even expy Tremendous Sentai (Energy Rangers). Including issues like bunny ears, glowing identify tags, sun shades, and backpacks, and you may have a variety of enjoyable simply taking part in dress-up together with your vocaloids. And, in fact, these customized outfits seem within the background of every music as your vocaloid dances and sings with the music.

Along with customizing your vocaloids, you possibly can enhance your friendships with them by giving them completely different items you earn from performing songs properly. Leveling up your friendship provides extra bonuses for songs you play with them. These items additionally seem within the vocaloids’ digital quarters, which perform as the sport’s menu display screen (and may also be personalized with completely different themes).

The Ultimate Present
Undertaking Diva X’s greatest weak point is its observe record. The sport has simply over 30 songs, which appears paltry for any rhythm sport. The songs have loads of selection, however there merely aren’t sufficient of them. That is comprehensible contemplating Undertaking Diva X is a port of a PlayStation Vita sport, and that system does not have almost as a lot storage because the PlayStation four. However, Hatsune Miku: Undertaking Diva Future Tone got here out on the PlayStation four in Japan in July, and that sport has a whopping 234 songs. After all, there are not any plans but for Future Tone to be launched in North America, so it is not presently an choice.

Regardless of Hatsune Miku: Undertaking Diva X’a comparatively few tracks, it is an extremely enjoyable, polished rhythm sport with sufficient problem and selection to maintain you coming again to it. Will probably be made fully pointless if Future Tone is ever launched in North America, however till then Undertaking Diva X is among the most pleasing, non-big-plastic-instrument rhythm video games you possibly can play on the PlayStation four.

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