Short Version: It is the weakest Miku game of all the recent console releases, but it’s still pretty good if all you are looking for is some good songs to play through. Graphically, the game looks and sounds beautiful, but everything surrounding that is a variety of strange decisions and changes that left me scratching my head until the credits rolled. If you can look past those things, like the story and the module distribution, then you’ll have a good time.
Long Version: This game is weird. Even as I type this review, I’m still having trouble trying to verbalize how I feel about it. In it’s purest form, this game is the same Miku-centric game as ever, with the same rhythm-based gameplay as always, along with an impressive facelift. However, amidst my experience, there were a couple of things that left me with an enormous question mark sign floating on top of my head as I wondered how this makes the game better in any way. None of it was inherently bad, but it just felt…weird; and the game might’ve been better without those things.
Time For A Festival
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X is Sega’s latest Miku rhythm game that now comes with a story to follow, in which the nameless world of the game is running low on energy, due to some Prisms not having enough voltage. You are the one that has to meet up with Miku and her friends in order to sing songs, create voltage and bring them up to working capacity. Every single cloud that you visit for reenergizing represents a different category of music, such as cool, quirky, elegant, etc. You will find a handful of songs per cloud, with a really cool medley to top it all off.
Initially, I thought this was a tedious way of organizing the song list, but then I started to see myself in the shoes of someone that has absolutely no idea who Hatsune Miku is or what kind of music she would sing. If I was in that position, I guess it would be pretty helpful to categorize all the songs in ways where you at least have some general idea of what the songs are going to sound like, rather than going in blind and not knowing what you are going to get; similar to a certain someone’s box of chocolates while waiting for a bus.
In any case, getting back all the energy for these Cloud Prisms will be pretty much the majority of your time spent on the game, in addition to winning prizes and costumes after beating each song. Along the way, you will be met with many dialogue scenes featuring the six Vocaloid characters, speaking the blandest, most generic sentences about how excited they are and how much they love to sing and be with their friends. This left me scratching my head, wondering if this was a necessary thing to have in the game at all. It wasn’t like I was playing any of the previous games and said, “Man, if only there was a story for me to follow. Then it would REALLY be a great game,” especially when factoring in the origin of these virtual singers.
The way that I had always seen it is that these characters are simply voice synthesizers with appealing, marketable faces attached to them. They are not really meant to have a personality beyond what the artists needs them to have for their songs. This is why many Vocaloid artists can simply insert these characters into literally any scenario imaginable without any problems. This is also the reason for why there are so many music videos putting the characters in many different situations in the previous games, which worked to good effect. Even in the credits sequence for Project Diva X, there is a small note in the end clarifying that the personalities depicted in the game are different and far removed from what Crypton Media originally conceived; and even that isn’t the most complex thing in the world either.
[I originally posted this review on The Buttonsmashers. You can read the rest of the review by clicking here or just listening to the video version above.]