Release Date: January 10, 2017
For the past several years, the virtual idol Hatsune Miku has made huge strides in popularity outside of Japan. She and her fellow Vocaloids -- Megurine Luka, Kagamine Rin and Len, KAITO, and MEIKO -- have appeared in live concerts across North America and Asia, and Sega began localizing rhythm games featuring the characters with Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F. And now Sega has taken Miku and company once step further with a newly localized release of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone.
Future Tone is a home console adaptation of the Japan-only Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Arcade Future Tone. The game is sold digitally in two primary content packs, Future Sound and Colorful Tone, and together, the entire collection of songs dials in at a whopping 224 individual tracks. The full song library is available for play without having to unlock any tracks via gameplay progression, though a subset of songs are only playable on the game“s higher difficulty levels.
The basic rhythm gameplay in Future Tone should be familiar to anyone that played previous home console or handheld Project Diva titles. As a song plays, icons denoting buttons on the controller will fly across the screen, and button presses need to be timed with when the icons line up with their markers to the rhythm and beat of the music. Twists that Future Tone adds to this formula include hold markers, where one or more buttons must be pressed and then held for a score bonus, and sliders, which are triggered either with the shoulder buttons or analogue sticks.
Veterans of the series should have no trouble jumping into the gameplay, but for newcomers, there“s also a handy practice mode. Songs can be practiced from start to finish, or from a specific time of the player“s choosing, without the distractions of the animated song videos that play in the background. And as in other Project Diva titles, song videos can optionally be viewed on their own without gameplay.
Comparatively, when using games like Project Diva F or Project Diva X as a reference, Future Tone is a noticeably more challenging game. This isn“t a bad thing, as the game encourages and offers the aforementioned tools to practice freely, but it should be noted that the game can pose a challenge, even on Normal. Of course, difficulty will also vary from song to song, as well, with some offering a significantly steeper challenge to earn a high accuracy percentage, much less simply clear.
The rhythm game itself is solid, but the star of the show is the aforementioned track list; a massive catalogue of songs performed by Hatsune Miku and the other Crypton Future Media Vocaloids that covers a broad range of styles, genres, themes, and imagery. Any fan of Miku and company is bound to find a long list of songs they enjoy, even if some personal favorites didn“t make the cut. The game even includes some wonderful lyrical remixes of theme songs from the classic Sega arcade titles After Burner, Out Run, and Power Drift.
The videos that accompany each track are of a high quality as well, with visuals that match the songs“ themes and tones. Some, like the angelic â€œInnocenceâ€ or the whimsical â€œClover Clubâ€ take place on elaborate stages and focus on the Vocaloids as they sing and dance. Others, like the hopeful â€œGod-Tier Tuneâ€ and the tragic â€œRolling Girlâ€ eschew the stage for using the song to tell a short story. The Vocaloids can be customized with modules, or costumes, that change their appearance, and each song has a recommended module that that was either designed for it or serves as an ideal fit, though any module can be used for any song no matter how out of place.
If there are true flaws in Future Tone, they“re minor, at best. None of the songs in the game feature English subtitles, with romaji (romanized Japanese) being the only lyric display option. And song videos shared online via the PS4“s Share functionality have the music muted to avoid legal issues. Both of these points, while disappointing, are understandable, however.
To its core, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone is a game made for fans of Hatsune Miku. From the track list to the inside jokes present in everything from the videos, to the accessories, and even the trophy requirements, the game knows its audience. And while audiences unfamiliar with Miku may not understand what the songs are all about, who the Vocaloids are, or why Miku loves waving leeks around, the rhythm gameplay is addicting and could hook newcomers with an ear for J-Pop.
A massive song list of 224 tracks split between Future Sound and Colorful Tone.
High-quality rhythm gameplay adapted from the arcade version.
Fully customizable controls.
The localization does not include English lyric subtitles, even for songs that had them in previous releases.
The PS4 Share function mutes the music in videos shared online.
Overall Score: 9 (out of 10)
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone is a game made for fans of Hatsune Miku but could hook newcomers with an ear for J-Pop.