Up in the Clouds – Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X review

1_1459375991Unlike my first time playing a Hatsune Miku game, I feel like I am actually prepared for whatever Project Diva X had to throw at me. A Challenging rhythm backed by catchy J-Pop tunes that I’d probably add to my Spotify list after playing the songs multiple times while unlocking more and more items for the Vocaloids, after all Sega has a winning formula with the series so why change it right?

If we’re going to be honest, the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” method of building a game works well for music games, but Sega went the extra mile with Project Diva X, making it the best rendition of the series to date.

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Like the previous iterations, the gameplay is simple, buttons will appear on-screen and you will have to hit them in time to get the best score. Now there are different style of presses to follow, the single button input which allows you to use the face or directional buttons activate, the double buttons presses for those bigger notes, long notes forces you to keep the button pressed until the note is over, and Star notes which are triggered by the analog sticks. The songs pick up difficulty thanks to the Technical Zones, which brings a series of difficult notes which need to be hit during the section for a large amount of points.

The biggest change to the gameplay is the Chance Zones, which brings a series of buttons followed by a Rainbow line which powers up your chance meter. In previous titles of the Project Diva series, this would bring a special scene for the music video and possibly extend the song, however this version the Chance Zones are used to unlock Modules (costumes) for the idol you are playing as; and does so automatically during the song. This feature makes earning the costumes even more fun, despite the costumes being seemingly random and only applied to the Vocaloid you are using during said song.

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The game consists of 30 songs, each separated by 5 different classes – Classic, Elegant, Cute, Quirky, and Cool. In order to explain the song separation of songs, the game uses a pseudo story mode where Miku and her fellow Vocaloids must sing to bring energy back to the clouds which host these songs, along the way they learn how to use these features in their song to spice up their performances. As the cloud fills with Voltage (the power that makes the clouds work) they unlock a melody round which plays like a small concert.

Modules and Accessories that are unlocked during the song help with this in multiple ways. First the Module itself has a special feature, ranging from higher chances of collecting rare modules, slow down on technical zones, or an increase of voltage or points after a specific combo has been completed. Assigning accessories will increase the voltage percent collected, but is dependant on the class the song is in along with any matching or if any associated accessories are also selected.

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Finally, voltage can also be increased by making friends with the Vocaloids. This is done by collecting gifts and presenting it to the virtual idols, if they like it, it will increase their affection towards you, giving you special “rate up” buttons to press. All of this gives the Vocaloids a sense of personality that was sorely missing from the previous titles.

Finishing the 30 tracks doesn’t mean the end of the game, as the game gives you more reasons to go back and play the game on higher difficulties, including challenges and more Modules to unlock. It also gives another big mode in Project Diva X, a Festival Mode, which allows you to put on your own Vocaloid¬†concert with songs you’ve unlocked.

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It’s hard to find any flaws with Project Diva X, the tunes are catchy, the Modules unlocking during the song puts more focus on successfully beating a song rather than doing the bare minimum to pass, and the story mode, while pointless, is a nice touch to add personality to the characters for people who are not familiar with Miku and her friends. I definitely recommend picking it up if you want a challenging yet fun game to introduce you to the world of the Vocaloids, and maybe even J-Pop in general.¬†

 

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