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  1. Developer: Sega Publisher: Sega Platform: PS4 Release Date: January 10, 2017 ESRB: T 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 “Innocence” or the whimsical “Clover Club” take place on elaborate stages and focus on the Vocaloids as they sing and dance. Others, like the hopeful “God-Tier Tune” and the tragic “Rolling Girl” 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. Pros 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. Cons 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) Fantastic 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.
  2. Developer: Sega Publisher: Sega Platform: Vita/PS4 Release Date: August 30, 2016 ESRB: T for Teen It is hard to believe that Japan's sensational virtual popstar, Hatsune Miku, has reached nine years in age. Literally. She is supposed to perpetually be of age sixteen, but that's another discussion altogether. The point is, the popular, green-haired, synthesized popstar has been around for a while. I only really became aware of her through her series of surprisingly solid rhythm game releases under the Project Diva name that seemingly release every other year. Though I have enjoyed my time with basically each release (even former import only PSP titles), they have more or less played it a little too safe over time. If anything, 2014's Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd likely alienated newcomers altogether with its absurdly high standard difficulty. This is why the newest release, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X, serves as a curious contrast to prior games, as if it has hit a more impressionable age with the apparent changes to its personality. The most bizarre addition that is introduced right at the very start of Project Diva X is an actual story mode. Yes, Hatsune Miku talks to you. More accurately, Miku talks to the player character and asks them to help guide her and her friends in revitalizing her digital world through music. Admittedly, the storytelling is not very deep, or particularly engaging with a shallow script and characters, but at the very least it is inoffensive and creates an interesting setup for its various gameplay structure changes. That said, it does lock players into either normal or easy songs until nearly completing it after a couple hours, which can potentially turn off more hardcore players. Beyond the strangely included story mode, Miku changes the rules to her newest game. The inherent rhythm gameplay is mostly the same with note inputs moving from the outer screen to their corresponding face button note. Honestly, the only truly new thing to the pure rhythm gameplay is basically the added button spamming "Rush" note. Still, I suppose there is little reason to change an already addictive and fun formula and I was reminded that even when I should probably be fatigued of the series at this point. The progression, however, has changed quite a lot and is easily the most accessible entry because of it. This is generally a good thing, as I'm still recovering from my trauma of failing songs like "2D Dream Fever" too many times in Project Diva F 2nd. Through loose narrative context, Project Diva X much more directly weaves elements like changing costumes/accessories or participating in its sim-esque friendship feature (formally called "My Room") to have functional gameplay benefits in the main rhythm game. Actually, they're sort of indistinguishable in Project Diva X because of how closely linked they are. For example, wearing a costume or accessories that fits with a song's theme will give you more "voltage", which are required to pass a song in the Cloud Mode (aka story mode.). This new scoring system also makes sure the entire song will play from start to finish and you are not kicked out of a song if you miss too many notes consecutively like prior games. The same rules apply towards raising a friendship rating through gifting the vocaloid cast items they like or changing up their room's aesthetic, which also grants you extra voltage. In prior games I actively avoided cosmetic aspects associated with the "My Room" feature, because I have always thought it had a creepy edge to it and caused me to never touch it (....like a pointless petting game, for example). In Project Diva X, however, it feels much more tastefully handled. You are rewarded for unlocking and applying as much goofy or cute stuff you want to your character for either practical reasons or fun. And yes, you are literally bribing vocaloids or somewhat randomly changing their clothing to make passing songs easier for you. Who knew that giving Miku a fake mustache would have given her extra bit of confidence to pass that "cool" song. I may be able to appreciate the changes that Project Diva X makes, but it does feel like it is at the sacrifice of other former components. The most primary step down is that the song selection is noticeably smaller, and I personally think much weaker in song quality as well. Project Diva F 2nd had forty tracks in the game by default (not including) and Project Diva X only has thirty total. And, for what song compositions I did find myself liking, they either felt very few and far between or were just outright medley compositions of familiar songs from the prior games that, while neat, only serve to remind me of games I preferred more overall. . The other is that the production values also feel noticeably lower than the previous games for the actual music videos. Though the videos certainly have a lot more character than most other rhythm game releases, comparatively there is far less visual and choreography variety than the previous two games that makes unlocking the next song less satisfying. This is all the more apparent when the player has to use the "concert" mode for either the main story mode or "requests", which has multiple songs play back to back and can easily cause many of them blur together with their interchangeable stages and visual themes. Miku's newest rhythm game feels like the foundation for appreciated change in direction, but at an unnecessary expense of certain other aspects at times. Without a doubt, Project Diva X's most appreciated alteration to the familiar gameplay formula is that it is far more approachable than previous games from the standard rhythm game difficulty to even justifying cosmetic features in both a fun and practical manner. In the same breath is also likely disappointing for returning fans with its weaker, and smaller, song selection Project Diva X and the less zealous approach to the presentation. At the end of the day Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X is easily the most accessible entry, but it is not likely well-rounded enough to satisfy many returning fans that were hoping for improvement in addition to the seemingly random changes it presents. Pros + Simple, yet addictive, core rhythm gameplay remains fun even now + More approachable progression that smartly encourages dabbling with both the main rhythm game as well as the various cosmetic features simultaneously + Medley compositions are a neat take on older songs Cons -Significantly less total songs than prior games, and the ones that are there feel less noteworthy overall - Though mostly inoffensive, the newly included "storytelling" is not particularly good - Cuts corners on the music videos Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good Project Diva X makes a concentrated effort in making the series more approachable, from actual difficulty to even a newly story mode, but with it being a far less consistent overall rhythm game package will likely make existing fans be forced to overlook some rather apparent shortcomings. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Vita code provided by the publisher.
  3. Jason Clement

    Hatsune Miku on David Letterman

    If anyone missed it (or otherwise didn't know), here's Hatsune Miku performing on The Late Show with David Letterman last night. http://youtu.be/qA5pIpdQEr0 Still kind of weird to see something very Japanese-y as a holographic Japanese singing idol on something like Letterman, but maybe this will help expose more Americans to Japanese pop culture and such. What did you guys think?
  4. It seems that SEGA's gamble with bringing games starring the Japanese virtual singing idol Hatsune Miku to the West is paying off. Already we've seen a Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f release on PS3 as well as Vita, and now SEGA has announced that another new title, Hatsune Miku: Project MIRAI Remix, will be coming to the West on 3DS for the first time. Project MIRAI Remix will be an enhanced version of the Japanese-only release, Hatsune Miku: Proejct MIRAI 2, and features characters rendered in stereoscopic 3D, two different rhythm modes (button and touch), and three difficulties per song. Players will also be offered a number of customization options for button icons and sounds, costumes, gear for character rooms and more. StreetPass functionality will also be utilized where players can share personalized player cards as well as customized dance routines to songs. The game also makes use of AR cards to bring the different characters to life in 3D. Hatsune Miku: Project MIRAI Remix is slated for release on 3DS in 2015. Source: Press Release Are you interested in this newest entry in the Hatsune Miku series?
  5. Jason Clement

    Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F Heading To Vita

    Today SEGA announced that it would be bringing Hatsune Miku: Project f, to the PS Vita due to the PS3 version being "well-received" in the West. The Vita version is slated to offer all of the same songs and features from the original version with the portability that a handheld offers. SEGA plans to release the game for Vita through PSN in early 2014. If you haven't already, you can check out our official review of Hatsune Miku: Project f for more information about the game.
  6. Developer: Sega Crypton Future Media Publisher: Sega Platform: PS3 Release Date: August 27, 2013 ESRB: T for Teen A download code was provided by the publisher for this review What the heck is a Vocaloid? Basically, they“re singing synthesizer applications with humanoid personas. You“ve probably heard of the most popular Vocaloid, Hatsune Miku, even if you didn“t know what one was before. Miku even has her own video games and concerts – the former of which has finally made an official appearance on western shores. Like the previous entries in the series, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F is a rhythm game where you press buttons in time to an array of Vocaloid songs. It may sound like another ordinary rhythm game, but Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F is different enough that it stands out among the rest. Each song is accompanied by a music video that plays in the background. While most songs will be sung by Miku and have her appear in the video, there are also other Vocaloids that are present in the game. Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len, Megurine Luka, Kaito, and Meiko are among the “modules†you can have appear in songs you choose to play along with Miku. You can also dress up each character in their own various costumes and other accessories. These are purchased with Diva Points that you earn each time you finish playing through a song. Multitudes of things to purchase makes for a new experience each time you decide to replay a song, on top of playing dress-up! While the graphics and presentation of each video are absolutely gorgeous, it presents a major problem when it comes to actually playing the game. There“s so much going on in the background, and oftentimes it“s incredibly flashy and crazy, making it difficult to concentrate on the sequence of buttons you must press and more (as well as causing eye strain). Sure, you may become accustomed to it over time. But for newcomers to the Hatsune Miku games, it can definitely be off-putting. Despite that, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F is full of challenge that some rhythm game fanatics may be looking for. Even if you“re not a master, you can still build up your expertise from Easy to Normal mode, and from Hard to Extreme mode. When you need a break from all the fast-paced rhythm action, there are other modes that Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F offers to help you wind down. First, there“s the Edit Mode. As the name implies, you“re able to create your own music video in this mode from any song you own and generate your own chart. The possibilities are endless! Another mode, that“s actually rather cute and has some depth to it, is Miku Room. In this mode, you can customize a room for each character in the game with furniture and more. You can also buy them gifts, interact with them, and play with them. In short, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F is a great and solid rhythm game for the PS3. Even if there“s some getting used to in regards to how “crazy†the main game can get, I still highly recommend it to those that are interested in the genre. I“m quite glad Sega decided to finally take the chance to bring a Hatsune Miku game to North America! Pros: + Over 30 songs to play through, each with their own music videos + Edit Mode and Miku Room offer a fun break from the game“s main mode + Over 90 costumes and 100 accessories to dress up each character in Cons: - Videos playing in background tend to be overly flashy and crazy, making it difficult to concentrate - Loading times can be long Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great Fans of the rhythm genre should welcome Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F with open arms. Let“s hope games in the series continue to come here!
  7. Vocaloid fans probably already have the upcoming Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F game pre-ordered at their favorite retailers but may need to change their plans if they want to snag some exclusive DLC. Those who pre-order Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F from GameStop get a couple of digital goods. First, there is a custom PS3 theme which comes with 10 Hatsune Miku backgrounds. You also get two snow Miku 2013 outfits in game. Sure, these digital goods might not be a big deal to you, but there are definitely Miku fans out there dying to deck their system out with official themes. When should you order by? Well, just get a pre-order squared away some time before launch. Project Diva F will land on PS3 on October 27th. The game is also to be sold at a slight discount of $50 as opposed to the more standard $60 new game pricing.
  8. Well, this sure is proof that good things do happen if you let your voice be heard! Thanks to the overwhelming support to the possible Hatsune Miku: Project Dive F localization on Sega's Facebook page, the PS3 game will be making its way to North America and Europe. Sega says that "in less than 3 days, the post received over 25,000 likes and 15,000 shares." Aaron Webber, Associate Brand Manager for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F, exclaims, "Your voices helped make this happen.†Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F will release in North America on PlayStation 3 and via digital download on PSN, and in Europe via digital download on PSN. Both regions will be getting it sometime this August. For those eager to get their Hatsune Miku on right now, a demo will be available on June 11th for the U.S. and June 12th for Europe.
  9. Sometimes there are games considered too Japanese to be released in other regions. Occasionally companies are right in expecting only a super small niche to buy them, while others would end up being much more successful. Sega currently seems to be testing the waters to see if one of their franchises should make the move West. The game in question is of course Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F for PS3. Hatsune Miku herself is a character who originated with the Vocaloid voice software program. As for Project Diva, it's a series which has spanned multiple versions over arcade, 3DS, PSP, Vita, and PS3. This is definitely one series which Japan adores and many Western fans have been pining over. So what makes it likely that Sega is about to bring the latest game to our region? Siliconera spotted that Sega's official Facebook page had been updated with a photo promoting said game. It commands users to like and share the photo if they support Project Diva F for American and European release. Since they've taken the time to promote it like this, then they're probably not far from giving an official announcement. Would you buy Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F if it really is coming out here?