Remember when Hatsune Miku was in a car commercial back in 2011? Me either, but it totally happened! Miku, as you probably know at this point, is a Vocaloid – a character representing one of the voice-synthesizer programs of the same name – and those generally aren’t that well known in the West. Still, credit to Toyota for trying something new! Perhaps you’ll take your Corolla down to your game shop of choice to pick up Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X, Miku’s latest rhythm game excursion.
As usual for this series, Project DIVA X is a rhythm game where you’ll match button prompts as one of several popular Vocaloid characters performs on stage. Careful timing and accurate input will lead to high scores and lots of Voltage, the sort of song-energy that apparently powers the Vocaloids’ world; dropping the ball leads to disappointed looks from the iconic digital songstress. Successful play will allow you to load up on all manner of unlockables, particularly when it comes to costumes to dress up your singers. You can chose your lead and backup singers on most songs and, naturally, customize their clothing to your liking.
Merely playing well isn’t enough, though; at the highest levels of Project DIVA X you’ll find yourself coordinating your stars’ outfits and pushing for the best possible performance in order to maximize each song’s Voltage count. In true Project DIVA fashion, this game can rapidly become punishingly difficult and will reward players who take the time and effort to master each song. We wouldn’t really expect anything less from Miku, would we?
The PS4 doesn’t have any issues with the anime aesthetic, as we’ve seen many times with games from Idea Factory and Gust, so naturally Project DIVA X looks great. It sounds great too, with over 30 songs from a variety of genres that are sorted into different categories for your perusal. The animations during each song are fantastic – if sometimes distracting – and in a cute touch, each song also displays lyrics as you’re playing in your choice of English or phonetic Japanese. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get a chance to read them with how crazy the action can get, but I’m not going to dock a game for attention to detail.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X probably isn’t the best DIVA game for newcomers – that would be Project Mirai DX on the 3DS, which is much more forgiving in terms of difficulty – but Vocaloid and rhythm game fans alike can’t go wrong with this latest Project. There certainly aren’t a lot of other music game options available for current-gen consoles, though I’ll take the chance to mention once again that Guitar Hero Live is excellent and worth your time. In any case, the ludicrous amount of unlockable options and the solid track list in Project DIVA X help make this a song you’ll want to listen to time and again.