Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd (PlayStation 3) Review

By Az Elias 01.12.2014

Review for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd on PlayStation 3

It was a big surprise when SEGA localised its first Hatsune Miku: Project Diva title in the West, especially when such high profile games like Yakuza 5 and Valkyria Chronicles 3 have been constantly and actively campaigned for. The rhythm series does indeed have its fans, though, and of course contains nowhere near the amount of text that the aforementioned titles need translated to be brought over. With the success of the predecessor further confirmed by the fact this sequel has received a boxed release in both the US and Europe this time, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd comes to PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, the former of which Cubed3 reviews here.

Project Diva is a rhythm series for the hardcore. Although they do indeed have an easy mode for every song, and items can be bought to help complete each track, it's entirely possible for newcomers to struggle even on the lowest difficulty. As symbols of the four shape buttons of the PlayStation controller fly in from every direction of the screen, this is a style unlike most other rhythm games that simply use a straight bar with buttons scrolling across from left to right, or right to left, like in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Donkey Konga or Senra Kagura: Bon Appétit.

Screenshot for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd on PlayStation 3

What makes each track harder is the video playing in the background, featuring the singer of the song, which is usually Miku or one of her other vocaloid friends. As the videos are so brightly coloured, and with many of the more hectic songs containing all sorts of fast-paced dancing and effects, it can be difficult to keep track of certain notes, and completely miss some that appear on the screen entirely. This is what makes Project Diva… well, Project Diva, though. Part of the challenge is not just trying to press each note accurately, but also having to deal with the background videos where clashing can occur, most often in the crazier tracks.

Another initially difficult adjustment comes in the form of star notes, which require a quick flick of either control stick, with double star notes needing a simultaneous twin-stick flick. First time around, this is tough to get used to, and feels out of place amongst all of the button tapping. There is an item that turns star notes into using the shoulder buttons instead, but at the cost of lower reward points upon finishing the song. Although the desire is there for a while to completely get rid of stick flicking for star notes, it does - like any game - eventually become second nature. It's still not as efficient as tapping a button, but it will be adapted to over time, with different players finding different preferences on which stick to hit and how to flick it.

Screenshot for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd on PlayStation 3

For veterans of the series, the points above are already fully known and have been dealt with in past games, so the challenge needs to come in the actual hard and extreme difficulties. Project Diva F 2nd doesn't disappoint in the slightest in that regard. Some of the toughest rhythm sequences exist in the fastest songs of extreme mode, and even with helper items, they are incredibly tough to complete. Crank up the level even more with special items and suddenly notes become smaller and only the very accurate note presses count towards the score, adding extra points at the end of a song.

With some of the most insanely addictive J-Pop-like hits and a lot of variety across the board, with slower paced music also accompanying the upbeat tracks, Project Diva F 2nd really strikes many of the right notes in its track selection, always forcing just one more go of favourite tunes, and putting up serious challenge for experienced rhythm game fans. There is the case, though, that the selection isn't quite as good as one or two previous titles, with a few of the newer songs not being as catchy or addictive as others, but plenty of great old tracks do return, and an extreme mode has been added to the can't-stop-playing-it Ievan Polkka tutorial song.

Screenshot for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd on PlayStation 3

Outside the core of the game, there are all sorts of features to explore, including a simulation of sorts where Miku and friends live in their own little apartments, which can be decorated by purchasing items from shops with the points accumulated from completing rhythm tracks. Coming back to see the characters and raising affinity levels by gifting them keeps them happy and rewards with mini scenes. Being able to get up close and personal with the likes of Miku is welcome, even if interaction is rather limited. There is certainly no harm in the extra mode outside of the rhythm action, and it helps give the performers a bit more 'life' (even if they are vocaloids…).

Like the previous entries, modules (basically costumes) can be bought for each vocaloid to wear during songs, user interface skins unlocked, and an extensive studio allows for the creation of unique tracks to upload online for others to play. The editor can be a bit fiddly and overwhelming, but the option to create songs in this in-depth mode is absolutely appreciated. An actual online versus mode would have been really lovely, so perhaps that is something to think about for the next game.

Screenshot for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Perhaps the only feature missing is a competitive online versus mode, because just about everything else Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd does extremely well, being a challenging game that is very difficult to master, pushing it right into the mix of the best rhythm game titles. The variety of songs is good, and is only let down by some of the new songs that are not quite up there with the returning favourites. As one of the greatest and most prominent series in the genre, Miku is the girl to go to for a guaranteed addictive rhythm fix.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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