Short Version: It is by far the best Hatsune Miku game currently available. It looks, feels, plays and sounds beautifully; more than any other Miku rhythm game I’ve played before. If you don’t mind making a Japanese account and spending a bit of money for the whole package, I highly recommend you get it. It’s pretty expensive, but it’s very worth it, since you’ll probably be playing this for a long while.
Long Version: When I was playing through Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X for my review, I would usually take breaks from that game by playing another Miku game that had completely taken over my free time. This game, at the time of this writing, is only available on the Japanese PlayStation Network Store, and you need a Japanese account and a good amount of yen to be able to get it. However, I can assure you that the effort will be worth it. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone is, at the time of this writing, the best Vocaloid rhythm game you can get.
The Sound of the Future
If any of you read my Project Diva X review, then this review will be very similar, minus most of the problems I had with it. Unlike X, Future Tone does away with the story and the odd way of unlocking costumes. Instead, it gives you more than 200 songs, along with an even bigger amount of costumes to put on your characters as you keep getting money to unlock them. Gameplay-wise, that’s pretty much it. There is no Diva Room, Photo Mode or video editors. This game is solely the rhythm game and purchasing costumes over time. Some people might consider this a negative, but I personally don’t, especially when acknowledging the fact that I barely ever used those features in previous games. Here, it’s only you, an awesome selection of Vocaloid songs and an entire weekend to spend with them.
The amount of songs in the game is pretty daunting, but it does come with a catch. When purchasing the game, you don’t actually pay for the whole thing; it is actually divided into two different parts, which both cost around $40. The first one is called “Future Sound,” which takes 120 songs that mostly come from Project Diva Arcade and the more recent F and F 2nd games. The second pack of songs is called “Colorful Tone,” which contains slightly more than 100 songs from the portable releases on the PSP and 3DS.
Splitting The Check
Sectioning off the song list in this way is another thing that may be viewed unfavorably, but I think quite the opposite. Considering the high asking price for the entire package, which is approximately $80, I think it was a really smart move to let people spend less money by being informed about the songs they will get for each package. In my personal experience, I had only purchased Future Sound due to the higher quantity of songs and the games it was based on. Afterwards, I researched about what songs would be available for Colorful Tone and was glad that that wasn’t the first one I bought. I had no idea what most of the songs were, and the ones I did recognize leaned onto the more experimental and niche sides of the Vocaloid scene, so I didn’t know how to feel about it.
Eventually, I did end up buying Colorful Tone and not regretting it at all. However, I think this is a great showing of freedom of choice in being able to not spend too much money on songs you are not interested in playing in the first place. You can see similar business models working to good effect in Killer Instinct and the free-to-play version of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, in which you can pay for a certain amount of characters for a smaller price than the full product. In any case, I highly recommend you save up some money and pay for the whole thing, for I think it is very much worth it. Thanks to the gigantic amount of variety in the music, it is guaranteed that you will find a significant amount of songs you will like and want to play over and over again, on top of unlocking all the costumes with the money you get from doing so.
Speaking of which, the amount of outfits and accessories available for all six characters is absolutely insane. Even minor, less popular Vocaloids like Meiko have a huge amount to choose from. This brings up a similar problem that also shows up in Project Diva X, in which there seems to be way more outfits than there are songs to use them on. Having presets that you can save for every song seems to be one way to fix the problem, since it allows you to experiment without losing the previous costume settings, which is greatly appreciated.
Unfortunately, with an enormous amount of clothing comes an issue regarding organization. Unlike the song list, which has various ways of sorting tracks such as alphabetical order, difficulty level, favorites and even characters featured on the songs, the costumes are a bit harder to track down. Because of the sheer quantity, you will find yourself holding down either the left or right directional arrows for a long time as you wait for your preferred outfit to zoom past you. There is a button that allows you to narrow down the costumes a bit more, but you will still end up doing the same thing as before. In these moments, I would highly recommend the addition of a search bar, in which I can type the name of an outfit and immediately find it. Unfortunately, this game is, for the most part, in Japanese, so I wouldn’t be able to use it, but I still think it is a necessary thing for people who do speak the language and wish to have a much more efficient time in the dressing room.
Speaking of language barriers, I am very happy to say that the Japanese text in the game is something you will barely ever need to worry about. The interface has large buttons and menus that are easy on the eyes and clear to see. By fiddling around with all the buttons for a couple minutes, you’ll be fairly acquainted with some useful shortcuts and features over time. Since the game is just the rhythm-based gameplay and nothing else, it will be very difficult for you to ever get lost. On top of that, you will find many moments of English language in some of the songs and menu screens; so don’t feel too intimidated if you are not well versed in the language. I’m definitely not an expert, and I have been able to play the game just fine with barely any struggles.
Why Haven’t You Bought This Game Yet?
Overall, this is a fantastic Miku game, with all of the familiar mechanics intact, an awesome art style, great sound, a considerate amount of organization and variety that makes Future Tone a must-own for any kind of Vocaloid fan out there. Sure, the organization of the outfits is a bit clunky and some of the songs tread the line between hard and impossible (especially when considering the brutal Survival Mode), but it is still an incredibly enjoyable time that I am still not finished playing through. This game is a definitely on the expensive side, but you still have the option to spend less if you are ever on the fence about it. Putting it into perspective, for 227 songs, more than 300 outfits, absolutely stunning graphics and fun gameplay that will challenge you every step of the way, I think it’s worth it.