Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Review: Hatsune Miku Project Diva f 2nd (PSVita)

Sega!! The internet’s favourite Vocaloid idol is back and physically! Project Diva f 2nd is available in both North America and Europe in both physical and digital formats, on the PS3 and PS Vita. Sega has really knocked it out of the park with this release by treating their North American and European fan bases with equality and is something that more publishers should definitely pick up on. Keep in mind that this review focuses on the Vita version of the game and that does not address any issues that may or not be present in the PS3 version of the game.

Project Diva f 2nd really differentiates from its predecessor in terms of gameplay and difficulty. I felt that Crypton really put in the effort to build upon the first Project Diva f’s strengths and weaknesses. One of the biggest improvements are the loading times, I was so happy when I noticed that the loading times were reduced. When I played the first song on the normal difficulty, I felt overwhelmed by the different button combinations but it wasn't a bad thing. If I could nitpick an issue that I had with the first Project Diva f game, it would be that once you played the song once or twice, you could master song, but even that isn't that much of an issue considering the first game wasn't easy especially to new comers. In f 2nd, you have to play a song a couple of times and memorize the button combinations if you really want to pass the song.

The physical button combinations stayed the same, the standard triangle, square, circle and x along with Up Triangle, Down X, Left Square and Right Circle button presses. There is a new touch screen combo that can be really tricky to master is what may surprise some and which definitely surprised me. In the previous game, whenever the player would encounter a golden star, the player would swipe their finger to hit the note. In this game some of the golden stars would appear on screen and would be connected by a line to form abstract shapes or crosses. To land these notes the correct way I would have to swipe my finger as soon as the first star would appear and keep my finger on the touch screen then I would swipe again while keeping my finger glued to the screen. If you lift your finger off the screen you would will fail the Star note combo, it can be tricky as there are different combination patterns.

What made Project Diva f 2nd much more difficult in my opinion was the note consistency that would appear on screen. In the first Project Diva game, on normal of course, notes would appear on screen and would be appear with in a semi-singular pattern. At most you would have 3 different note types with the inclusion of star notes, and the transitions were much simpler. An example of that would be, eight square notes, followed by six circle notes and then would be followed by four star notes. 
In Project Diva f 2nd the patterns are much more complex and have different combinations that kept me very alert during a song. An example of said complexity would be, three Up/Triangles, five Circles, three X’s and then a star line combo. This level of difficulty, I felt was very welcome, it really spiced up the gameplay and each song felt like a fresh new experience.
Project Diva f 2nd features, twenty new songs, eighteen returning songs and three returning songs with recreated music videos, which comes down to forty-one songs in total. Not including the DLC songs that are available for purchase on the PSN store. Keep in mind some songs are not playable at all and are only viewable in AR mode. My favourite song definitely had to be Miracle Paint, it had a very jazzy sound to it and as a fan of jazz music I was very pleased. There is a good song variety for everyone, I also felt like every song clicked with me and I didn't feel forced to finish a song.

As with the previous game you can still customize your modules with different costumes that can be purchased with Diva Points, which are earned by completing a song. Diva points can also be used towards in game items that can the player can gift to their favourite module via the Diva Room mode. The edit and AR modes make their return in f 2nd. In f 2nd you are also now able to purchase UI skins with Diva points to customize your UI, a nice little addition.

Project Diva f 2nd is also a big step up in the graphics department as well. The first Project Diva f game, animations felt a bit blurry and f 2nd addressed that issue. Each song now looks and feels crisp and I often times I found myself focusing more on the music video rather than on the notes appearing on screen. There’s also a lot of bright colors that appear on screen which makes for a very pretty game, especially if you are playing on an OLED Vita.

Featuring great new songs, much more difficult and satisfying gameplay, I can confidently say that Project Diva f 2nd didn't feel like a copy paste cash in. The standard is now set at a new high for the series and I am curious to see if Crypton and Sega can top their latest entry in the mainline Hatsune Miku series. Hatsune Miku Project Diva f 2nd really built upon the previous Project Diva f game and perfecting the formula, I am excited to see what is left in store for the series. Any questions about my review can be asked at my Twitter @gloriousbagel


Who should play this?

  • Hatsune Miku and rhythm game fans
  • People that felt that the first Project Diva f game was lacking in any shape or form
  • Rhythm game fans looking for a challenge

Who should avoid this?
  • People that aren’t into Vocaloid music

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