From Arcades to the PS4
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future was based around and modeled after the hit arcade version of the same name in Japan. This adaptation of the rhythm game brought it to the PlayStation 4 and to other countries. It did not take long for me to get hooked into it. While browsing through the PSN store checking out the free demos, seeing which ones would be interesting to try out, I noticed this game listed as free. Granted, it was a limited version with only 2 songs included, but that didn’t mean I’d pass up on the free part of it. But it just took the 2 songs for me to be hooked in.
This game is not like other rhythm games I’ve experienced. There isn’t a nice clean track with corresponding buttons that will slide down till they need to be pressed with the beat of the music. They appear in almost random patterns across the screen. I use the term ‘almost‘ since the pattern for each song remains the same with each song having its own pattern to learn. Not to mention that this is on top of the music video playing in the background with the Vocaloid modules dancing and singing to the song. This is part of what make this game challenging, chaotic, and unique.
I said before that this is not the same type of rhythm game that I was familiar with. It gives a greater importance to the visual entertainment aspect than others. This can be spotted by looking through the over 100 costumes for the characters. Most songs will have unique costumes that can be set and marked as the recommended symbol when customizing for the song. Still, players can pick any costume or character they want to use. Another factor to the visual importance comes through in the music video feature. Just sit back and play the songs in the playlist, watch the video, and enjoy without having to worry about scores and points. It also allows pictures to be taken in this mode. These pictures will then appear during the loading screens.
This is a rhythm game, so the most important aspect is still the music. The free version includes only 2 tracks to play with. It is best to start there to learn whether it is worth getting the other song packs. There are two song packs: Colorful Tone and Future Sound. With these two packs there are over 200 songs to play through. If you want to, of course. With so many songs to play through, it is your choice of whether to play them all or simply find ones you like and focus on those.
In terms of difficulty, I consider this to be hard. The visual chaos of it can be jarring and another obstacle in terms of the difficulty, which is why I found sticking to Easy difficulty as the best for getting used to the game itself in terms of timing and overall feel. Not every song has an Easy level version, only 149. It is less complex at this level, with minimal inclusion of dual presses and holding that can be a bit more complex. Through Easy, I got used to the basics and then became more comfortable to go into the Normal and Hard settings.
As the difficulty increases, the number of button presses increase, as well as the complexity. There is an increase of percentage needed to clear the songs and get higher rank scores. Percentage is added with the amount of correct presses obtained. The different score ranks are: Cleared, Great, Excellent or Perfect. To get 100% requires getting ‘Cool‘ on all the needed presses in a song. Perfect can still be reached by maintaining a combo through the entire level of the song by getting only ‘Cool‘ and ‘Good‘.
Which brings me to another tip. When trying the harder difficulty or just a song you’re struggling with in general, turn on No Fail Mode rather than using the Practice Mode. No Fail Mode will keep health protected from depleting for missing, wrong, or bad hits with the timing. It will play the same as going through the song normally but with a safety net. The reason I recommend this mode over using the Practice Mode is that the Practice Mode will not have the video in the background. The visual chaos is gone, and there is a grid that the button markers will appear on. Then at the end it doesn’t show a score or layout of how well the song was completed. How do you know you’re improving without a clear record? It makes it worth to see if you can pass in that mode or use that as practice till you can.
Absolutely get the free version before any of the song packs. Take advantage of the free version before spending the money. With the number of songs that can be obtained, there should be a number for anyone to enjoy (at least if you enjoy J-Pop at all). The gameplay is fun and challenging. I personally find it to be a great way to unwind some after work or wake up my brain. I’m still playing and improving upon favorites and trying new ones.