PS4
Highly Recommended
4.5 stars
Amazon
$48.85
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Overall Grade
4.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Game Itself
4.5 Stars
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
4 Stars
The Audio: Rating the Sound
4.5 Stars
Replay Factor
4.5 Stars
Bottom Line
Highly Recommended

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X

Street Date:
August 30th, 2016
Reviewed by:
Review Date:1
August 26th, 2016
Game Release Year:
2016
Platform:
PS4
Publisher:
SEGA
Developer:
SEGA

Editor's Notes

Digital PS4 version reviewed. The DLC for the game is cross-buy with the Vita version.

Introduction

You (probably) know her name. For nearly ten years, Hatsune Miku has brought her vocaloid talents to a mess of platforms. But now, it's time for her PS4 debut in Sega's 'Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X.' The rhythm action game features an all new module unlocking system, the voltage scoring system, and a brand new request mode.

Welcome to the world of 'Project Diva X.'

The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Over the years, Hatsune Miku and her music has gone from a weird obscurity to something resembling a global phenomenon with sold out tours in the US, appearances on Letterman, and her music appearing in ads starring Jason Statham. I'm glad for her popularity because after all these years, the idea of a digital singer is still pretty exciting, and seeing Miku become so well-known and bringing attention to unknown producers through music composed by fans is something that makes me pretty happy. As much as Miku herself is an icon, her music is something of a celebration of her fans, and there's a sincerity to it all that I can't help but love. Sega's 'Project DIVA' series has always done a terrific job of embodying everything that makes Miku so special, and while there are some minor stumbling blocks, the franchise has made the transition to PS4 with aplomb.

In terms of the basics for 'Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X,' there's not a ton that's been changed here over previous entries for the raw rhythm gameplay. It is still mostly just tapping buttons or flicking analog sticks to the beat of the music. New rush notes have been added, requiring a button to be mashed within a limited amount of time, but that's about it. That's OK though, I can't really lament a lack of tweaks to a system I feel is genuinely terrific. 'Project DIVA X' works because it knows both what works as well as how to make the aspects surrounding the gameplay more compelling.

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X Review

In previous games, new costumes and bonuses would be unlocked by purchasing them using currency earned for completing songs, but here, this system has seen a pretty big overhaul. In each song, there will be a Chance Time segment, perform well enough in these and hit a final note and whichever character is in use will transform into a different outfit (called a module in game), unlocking it for use at any time. These outfits serve a mechanical purpose, too, with each song slotting into one of five different styles (cute, classic, elegant, cool, and quirky), wearing an outfit that matches the song's style gives a bonus to the amount of voltage players start with, and earning enough voltage is key to clearing a song, as it increases how many points each note is worth. Additionally, each outfit will have different benefits, such as an increase in points if a certain combo number is hit, or making note timing less difficult for the first few seconds of each song. There are hundreds of outfits in the game, and seeing them tied into the game's mechanics in such a big way is really fun. The unlock system has its flaws, mostly due to the outfit earned during a transformation being semi-randomized. It is also possible to transform into something that's already been unlocked, but even so, I earned new outfits and accessories at a much faster pace than I ever did in previous games.

This all ties into the game's campaign, or Request Mode, which sees players travelling to different clouds and fulfilling different requests sent to them. Requests start out as basic "get x amount of points on y song" but later throw in some interesting challenges such as notes being smaller and harder to see. It's a small thing, but the requests make the basic campaign a lot more compelling, and trying to complete all of them is a ton of fun. That said, it's only as hard as players want it to be. The game's story mode can be finished without touching the harder difficulty levels, which I really appreciate, even if I do find it a lot more satisfying to clear a song on hard or above.

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X Review

Of course, for those who don't care for the new systems, there's a free play mode that ignores the outfit effects entirely allowing any outfit to be used with no detriment, as well as stripping away the requests, making it all about getting high scores. This really speaks to what makes 'Project DIVA X' so fun, it allows players to go about things in whatever way they please, and offers a whole host of customization.

It's not perfect, of course. Some stages are so visually busy that I have trouble seeing some of the notes, and with 30 songs, there's a decently-sized tracklist, though one that's a little smaller than what was seen in previous entries. The game does boast of an extremely wide variety of genres without repeating many songs at all from previous games, and I loved almost every track here. The randomized costume dropping system sometimes saw me repeating old songs over and over just to get outfits that'd fit the style suitable for a later track in the game. Still, even with these flaws, the overhauls made to a lot of the structure and the aspects surrounding the gameplay are so good that they ultimately feel like minor grievances more than anything else.

There is a fair amount of DLC for the game that'll be available around launch, but none of it feels terribly necessary, and the game isn't hurting for content without it. There are two songs, both of which I really loved, and a few extra costumes and characters (who can only be used in free play mode). It's nice, and it's fairly cheap, thankfully, but it didn't really add to my experience in any substantial way, outside of the new songs. I'd actively recommend avoiding the DLC packs that unlock all costumes and accessories. Unlocking them in game is a big part of why 'Project DIVA X' is so enjoyable, and I really feel like stripping that away is a bad idea.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Every single song here has its own unique stage and choreography, all of which has been designed and animated really lovingly. In fact, the only major complaint I have here is that some of the stages are a little too busy, and led to some notes blending in with the background for me, making them harder to see. Still, this is a really lively, pretty game where it counts.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

There are just over 30 tracks available, which isn't huge, but it's a surprisingly diverse setlist that ranges from traditional pop, to disco, to sentai theme music. I can count on one hand the amount of tracks I wasn't instantly enamored with, and even outside of my time with the game, the songs here have really stuck with me. The game shines a spotlight on some really talented famous and underground producers, which I absolutely love. Quality absolutely trumps quantity here, and despite a smaller setlist than in previous releases, this might just be my favorite of the bunch.

Replay Factor

There's an absolutely tremendous amount of replay value here. With over 300 costumes to collect, tons of accessories, and plenty of requests to fulfill, 'Project DIVA X' has enough to keep players busy well after they've played through all of its tracks for the first time. The raw gameplay here is so much fun that even outside of these unlocks, it'd be worthwhile just to hop back in and try to earn higher scores. I don't see myself putting this one down for quite some time.

Final Thoughts

Despite some minor issues, 'Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X' is a lovingly produced, beautiful, and extremely fun rhythm game that stands as possibly the best on both PS4 and Vita so far. For those who haven't experienced the series before, there's no better time to jump in, and for those who have, this is one of the most refined takes on the formula to date.

Motion Controls

  • No

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