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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/Crypton Future Media Publisher: Sega Platform: PS Vita Release Date: March 4, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen "Have you heard of Hatsune Miku?"- a wise man once said while advertising pizza. If you didn't get that reference, Hatsune Miku is a "Vocaloid" (a glorified synthesized voice program software) that is incredibly popular in Japan. So popular, in fact, that she has become personified as a green-haired Idol that sings a wide-array of original songs as well as covers, and has become an internet sensation because of it. In an attempt to continue to merchandise on her ever-strangely popular name, Sega brings us the newest iteration of "Project Diva" to Vita, a series which initially debuted on the PSP. With the unorthodox release schedule overseas actually following the enhanced PS3 version , does the original Vita version of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f have reason to shine in the spotlight? For the rhythm game genre, Project Diva f is rather standard fare in terms of the actual gameplay. Musical notes are displayed based on the Vita's corresponding face buttons until they overlap with their timed input marker, and generally vary based on pressed and held button-presses. Opposed to, let's say, Rock Band or Guitar Hero, notes are not visually presented in an obvious way, like on a track, and can appear from pretty much any angle from the sides of the screen depending on the song. Even if they are displayed in a rather confusing way at times, due to the busy presentation, the core gameplay is easy enough to learn in addition to having very responsive controls for the most part. Unfortunately, in a gimmicky fashion, the Vita release incorporates touch-based controls for the newly added star-shaped special notes. In the PS3 version these special note inputs were relegated to a simple "flick" of the analog stick, which was easy enough to do. Normally, I would not even mind the touch-based controls if it was a simple tap-based input using the Vita's touchscreen or rear-pad, like how DJ Max Technika Tune made it work quite well, but in Project Diva f these inputs are swipe based. To illustrate, the swiping gesture requires a much more deliberate motion, which is harder to do with consistency, especially in a rhythm game that is bombarding you with other notes very quickly on higher difficulties. It is not game-breaking, but it is a tough compromise to make in a genre that requires consistency and creates an unnecessary extra layer of difficulty when trying to master each song. A good majority of the soundtrack is actually conceived of original tracks made specifically for the vocaloid characters. So, if you don't recognize the music in the slightest, it's probably safe to assume you aren't an extreme devout to their music. That said, the soundtrack does spice it up some surprising remixes and variations of songs you aren't likely to expect. Would you expect an arrangement Amazing Grace, Leven Polkka, or even the original version of Nyan Cat (which apparently came before the Nyan cat video)? Well, they are all songs, among many others, that are in this game. Still, even if you aren't familiar with this hit-and-miss soundtrack, Project Diva f presents each track with such energy that it is very easy to not care and just go with the flow of the engaging gameplay. Now, I don't know if you picked up on this or not, but Project Diva games are relatively bizarre. Not just the musical selection of them either, but especially with how they are presented. Honestly, it's kind of shocking how high the budget is for this entry in particular considering its very polished and fluid visuals which are full of zany personality. It has no problem using an entirely new visual motif with each individual song and complementing them with many crazy dances and stages. In addition, there are plenty of one-off stages like a Phantasy Star Online 2-themed song that goes all the way in humoring it with its aesthetic to even a song that uses 2D animation almost entirely, just for the heck of it. Needless to say, the presentation is just plain weird in Project Diva f and it somehow really works in its favor. To add to a sense of progression, many cosmetic options are available in the game to unlock various costumes and accessories through the use of in-game currency. Multiple outfits, hats, glasses, masks, backpacks, bow ties, tails, animal ears, you name it, are there to obtain through the in-game shop. But that's not all, as there are even more items to unlock as bizarre gifts or room decorations in the "Diva Mode".... which I won't even pretend to understand how it works since I only care about the rhythm game portion of this title. For those who are also super meticulous, they can get much out of the fairly in-depth "Edit" mode which allows the player to incorporate their own MP3s and personalize both the music video and gameplay notes during it. So, if you were ever worried about the game holding you over beyond trying to master the many songs on higher difficulty, there is a lot to unlock for those who enjoy tailoring the vocaloid cast or creating their own music videos. Overall though, the Vita release is pretty comparable to the PS3 version, even down to the lengthy load times between each song. The load times are a bit faster, most likely due to it being a digital Vita release, and the visuals are less distractingly glossy than the PS3 title, but vary in minor ways for the most part. Aside from that, there is an AR mode which is exclusive to the Vita version which is not too worthy of note. At the end of the day, however, it really comes down to how much you enjoy the main rhythm game, which is quite well-made and captivating when it counts the most. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f manages to be a rather engaging rhythm game title, almost in spite of itself. Aspects like the busy presentation and awkward touch-based controls do unfortunately hinder the very well-made rhythm game underneath. This leads to the Vita release in particular not being the definite version, if only due to the awkwardly implemented touch-based controls, but for those who would prefer a portable experience, like myself, can find it to be a very worthy alternative. It's weird and crazy, yet Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f proves to more deviously engaging than it should be on the portable system. Pros: + Fluid, vibrant, and very polished presentation that oozes crazy personality + A lot of customization and cosmetic options in the game's various mode + Tight, responsive controls + Easy to learn gameplay Cons: - The busy presentation can be more than distracting at times - Lengthy load times between different songs - Special "star" notes requiring the touch-screen and/or rear-pad are awkwardly implemented Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great It doesn't make for the definite release, but Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f on Vita serves as a welcome portable alternative to this very well-made rhythm game. Disclosure: PS Vita downloadable code was provided by the publisher for this review
  3. Developer: Pentavision, Neowiz Mobile Publisher: Pentavision Global Platform: Playstation Vita Release Date: December 4th ESRB: T for Teen A download code was supplied by the publisher for this review Pentavision, the South Korean studio behind the DJMax series, pioneered the franchise with DJMax Online back in 2004. Since then, the series has branched out on different platforms, featuring various gameplay styles from arcade cabinets, mobiles, and, most prominently, on the PSP. However, the series has mostly been contained in Korea, China, and Japan. Based on the touch-screen arcade version of the series, DJMax Technika, Pentavision takes its first leap at translating the game onto Sony's Vita with DJMax Technika Tune. Does Technika Tune provide an entertaining rhythmic romp or is it just an annoying discordant, scratch on the Vita's touchscreen? With an initial plunge, it may take a little bit of time to adjust to the overall flow of the game. During gameplay, notes scroll from the top-left and top-right and then to the bottom-right and bottom-left, which can be adjusted or even reversed based on preference, as well as following/tapping the screen when the scrolling vertical line overlaps with or as it gets close to the on-screen note prompts. I'll admit, I personally was slightly intimidated upon starting the game and found myself repeating the tutorial several times. I was almost hasty to think the controls were imprecise, and for a genre so ingrained in perfection and mastery, any faults with the controls can easily be game-breaking. Despite that, as I got better at the game, I learned it was simple matter of acclimating and the controls were perfectly reasonable, albeit a bit confusing at first. While the entirety of the game is controlled by the touchscreen, the regular game sports two different control schemes to cater towards different playstyles. By default, the game utilizes front touch and rear-pad control layout, which has the player coordinating and tapping specific held- and pressed notes between both surfaces during gameplay. The touchscreen-only controls combine all notes and prompts onto the front screen, making it more akin to the original arcade game. Despite some early discomfort when learning (and holding) DJMax Technica Tune, I found the rear-pad to be surprisingly intuitive for tapping out the rhythm. Regardless, both control schematics seem perfectly viable based on preference, even if neither layout lends itself especially well to portability. Right from the get get-go, the presentation of DJMax Technika Tune really stands out. Featuring slick menus, a clean interface, and background music videos that vary from very stylish animation to live-action, the overall game looks great on the Vita's OLED screen. I expected the flashy background videos to actually be a distraction during gameplay but the well-designed overlay made that a short-lived concern, and I had no problem focusing on the main game. If there was anything to particularly nitpick it is probably the lack of direct online competitive options, since it only presents general leaderboards ranks, and a take-it-or-leave-it Facebook connectivity option, with no friend's list integration. Musical selection is eclectic with a staggering number of songs and features, including plenty of different respective genres (and subgenres I“ve never heard of). Even if a good chunk of the track list is K-pop, which will probably push away way more Westerners than it should, there is actually a solid amount of English songs in the game. There is Rock/Metal, Hip Hop, R&B, Trance, Techno, Waltz, Classical arrangements, and so forth; I even spotted one of Irish dance. A lot of the pieces do seem to be cherry-picked from previous entries of the DJMax series, but there is plenty of variety and plenty of catchy tunes that should catch to a bigger audience than one would expect. The game's song selection is likely to pleasantly surprise most who play it, even if you might find yourself embarrassed by the cutesy K-pop song or two you'll find yourself humming. Overall, the game is structured upon, of course, building up your skills. The game's main modes are Star, Pop, and Club, which are essentially the game's three difficulty modes in sequence, introducing different gameplay nuances gradually. If the player does the modes and song difficulties in order, they should encounter a pretty natural feel of progression. I just powered-through and did the bare-minimum for most songs, not caring for the score beyond passing. Before I knew it, I was revisiting older songs to level up for more unlocks and found songs that I used to think were barely manageable to be a total cakewalk, snagging much higher grades. With plenty of unlockables, such as pictures, videos, gameplay-related perks, and new songs, makes playing the already addictive game even more enticing. DJMax Technika Tune strikes an odd but welcome mix for the PlayStation Vita. It does an admirable job at integrating what was originally an arcade game for a much-smaller portable device. It“s a game I want to eagerly recommend to music-game fans, and even beyond, despite some slightly daunting initial learning. With a solid, slightly off-the-beaten-path musical selection, great presentation, and an overall satisfying and addictive flow, it should be on the radar of those with even a passing interest in the genre. If Sound Shapes represents a fresh take on creativity and innovation for music based videogames, then DJMax Technika Tune embodies a more seasoned refinement and expertise of the craft. Pros: + Nice and varied song selection with plenty of catchy tracks + Interface/presentation is very slick and stylish + Compelling overall flow and satisfying level of progression + Intuitive use of the vita's rear-pad Cons: - Can be slightly intimidating to learn early in - Gameplay does not entirely lend itself well to portability - Doesn't feature many competitive options Overall Score: 8.5 (Out of 10) Great A great and welcome musical notation the vita's library. Despite some slightly confusing initial learning, it makes for a very addictive experience and certainly should not be overlooked by fans of genre.
  4. barrel


    From the album: DJ Max Technika Tune

    © http://www.technikatune.com/

  5. barrel


    From the album: DJ Max Technika Tune

    © http://www.technikatune.com/

  6. barrel


    From the album: DJ Max Technika Tune

    © http://www.technikatune.com/