Project DIVA X – A new beginning?

Project DIVA is one of the franchises most durable and profitable rhythm games from SEGA, Hatsune Miku has become one of the official mascot of Sega, more than Sonic himself. Sorry Sanic ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In 2015, the SEGA feat. Hatsune Miku Project, team responsible for all franchise games, makes a teaser on Twitter, with a website displaying a countdown beginning with 3939 numbers, that for those who do not know, 3 9 are read in Japanese as mi(ミ) and ku(ク), or san(三) and kyuu(九). Mi-ku or San-kyuu (Thank You).

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Something is coming …

A white background with 6 lines representing the colors of each Vocaloid and the counter has left a mystery in the air, that Sega was doing?

The mystery had its end in Hatsune Miku 8th birthday on August 31, 2015, with the revelation of the development of a new game franchise.

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It is now common knowledge that a new game was coming. Along with this announcement, a video showing a retrospective is posted on the official YouTube channel:

The video awakened many curiosities of fandom as usual, a lot of speculation and a lot of expectation also (too much).

Many images and information were being published in Famitsu and official Project DIVA blog.

Sega of America also entered the hype train confirming the location of the game in America:

For those who didn’t understand, each item in the freezer representing one of the Vocaloids, below:

  • Leek: Miku
  • Ice cream: KAITO
  • Sake: MEIKO
  • Banana: Len
  • Orange: Rin
  • Tuna: Luka

Launched on March 24, 2016 for PS Vita and August 17 as 初 音 ミ ク ー Project DIVA X HD for PS4 in Japan; And August 30 to PS4 and PS Vita in the West, the new Project DIVA X leads the Roman numeral 10, in honor of the tenth game of the series.

Final art ver. PS4 by KEI

http://miku.sega.jp/x/

Finally. Now we know that Sega has been doing all this time after the release of its predecessor. The played PS4 version, and I’ll gently call PDX.

The history

Now we have a story involving our Vocaloids. A surprise for a simple rhythm game that until then it was to the point.

The opening of the game with the music composed by the prodigal son Ryo from Supercell, already gives a clue of what happened. Stay with “罪 の 名 前” [The Name of the Sin]

Didn’t understand? Calm I’ll try to explain.

In one moment, all lose their ability to sing, everything is boring and colorless. Your mission is to help bring back the spirit of the music for the for Miku and her friends back to sing.

The Vocaloids Universe is divided 5 areas with their names above. All of them will be empty and erased, waiting for you to bring them back.

These areas are called Cloud Areas, here I call them cloud.

The Princess Hatsune Miku counts with your help to the world back to how it was! You are not alone, Len, Rin, Luka, Kaito and Meiko will be at your side. Your progress depends on you, the player.

DIVA ROOM HOME

The DIVA ROOM now is your main interface of the game and access the main menus, you can now poke Miku unlimited with the TouchPad, change the room theme, music, and Modules, as was already the Diva Room dedicated in previous games. Already Sub (menu) has the other options is included then the Free Play.

Interaction with Vocaloids received some changes. Depending on the Module that it is using, your personality will change. May range from cuter to the most cocky XD. His affection level is also more challenging, there are now more limits.

Graphics Engine

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The style follows the same way of the previous games to PS3, with the difference of having more polygons, more effects of post-processing and textures with double resolution.

The look is very pretty and beautifully running at 60 frames. So beautiful I heard the cooling fan making a lot of noise on some musics, something that not happen in the Future Tone, besides having a very modest Anti-Aliasing, but functional.

Gameplay

“Career Mode”

This is the main part where it turns our whole history, the Cloud Request. Here, you select the clouds, each has a number of songs to be played.

Each cloud consists of a number of songs and one Medley song. After playing all selected cloud music a Medley will appear.

The Medleys are another innovation in this game are 1 for each cloud, and your presentation will always be on a stage. By having a longer time with BPM changes, they are more challenging depending on your level.

And thanks to Medleys, the game is a bit more democratic and not only leave Miku take alone spotlight all the time, we have more Vocaloids performing at once.

This game we have another novelty, the Voltage Rate Bonus, which acts as a multiplier points.

Voltage = Score

Every customization / change of clothes, you earn bonus Voltage Rate. Each Module and items as identified with their respective “cloud” by combining them, you get a bonus in% based on your choices.

Each item in your inventory has its peculiarities described there in the top corners of the screen, which can help you or not in several different ways in gameplay. That is, the rule as best applies only provided that certain items are selected.

Sega found a way to encourage players to make use of the various items available from the first game, and not be limited only to Module changing. It may seem confusing and unintuitive until you get the hang of this system and understand how it works. And forget the Diva Points, here you have to go unblocking the items every time you play a song.

Changes in HUD in the Cloud Request are small, the Voltage Rate, the “power-up” Module and some more information in small print, we have the traditional notes of the series, the star (no tracks), and the addition of Rush Notes in them you need to press the corresponding button as many times achieve.

The game features 24 songs overall, 6 medleys and 2 songs by DLCs. Total: 32 songs.

But what caught the most attention was the transition that Sega made in the style of PVs. The old PVs always told a story, whether reference to music in question or not. Now, the PVs are rooms/theme stage where you only see the choreography of one or more Vocaloids in a smaller setting and decorated according to the music.

Other rhythm games already have PVs with the same style, IDOLM@ster and the famous Love Live !, are some examples. The attempt of Sega in adapting PVs of PDX to using the same formula.

The Chance Time now has the Module Drop function, which is the moment in music that you won a Module for your Vocaloid, if successful, you can earn a new Module or not. Just don’t forget to not be distracted by the “digievolution” animation, the music doesn’t stop.

After each successful song, the prism representing the chosen cloud is filled gradually. It is enough to achieve the objectives of each song. If you can’t, you can try as many times as you want.

Kaito demonstrating their real wishes.

Between a song and another, the story unfolds with the dialogue between the Vocaloids. Like as Visual Novel games. In PDX, their answers don’t interfere directly in the plot, will only see the other different conversation.

Free Play aka”Arcade Mode”

The Freeplay behaves exactly like the old ones. Accessed from the submenu in HOME screen.

Throughout history, at times you will be invited to participate in individual events of the other modes.

The Live Requests work as Secondary Quests. You will be asked to manage a show with Vocaloids, choosing up to 3 songs, stage and costume design. At the end received their reward, which is informed before you start.

Summing up…

We have on PDX:

  • One plot
  • Diva Room is your Home
  • Two game modes: Quest Area e Free Play
  • PVs now turn Live PVs
  • Medleys
  • Rush Notes
  • Chance Time most useful
  • More than 300 Modules and lots of items.
  • The old Edit Mode is now Concert Mode, very limited, no MP3 or custom charts

All these changes directly impacted the general gameplay of Project DIVA X as a whole. The story created for the game was the most notable innovation. Adding to the addition of basically all Modules, Medleys and other achievements, we have the Project DIVA with the highest replay factor.

But that does not mean the game is the better for it. The story told is an interesting proposal, but several times the player had met in the middle vague chat and senseless, leaving the slower gameplay. You can play in Free Play without interruption, but rather, you need to unlock the songs on Cloud Quest before. You have no choice.

The Module Drop at the end of Chance Time is very random. With luck, you will need to play several times to get more than 300 modules of the game. Including the end of the song, the items won can also come repeated.

The repertoire of music is good and the Medleys give an additional flavor, but soon will come more DLCs to buy. But here is a additional point to it, its predecessor game (PDF2nd) received 19 new songs and 19 old songs from PSP games.

Another detail that surprised everyone was the transition from the history of PVs to the stage of PVs. Something accepted by some and badly received by others.

The Polemic

Before the game is released, the fandom made clear his criticism regarding the changes in the game in YouTube comments throughout all released videos:

For exemple: The against side

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And the support side

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These are just a few examples

The hype generated by Sega in the early videos created great expectations, and who expect a similar game to the last, was very disappointed. The main complaints were about the change in PVs, the few songs and the story mode.

But will correct this kind of judgment? We must understand the purpose of this new Project DIVA, which is resemble with other rhythm games with Idols, and the game’s plot makes references to it.

Wrong day, wrong moment

The March 24 was well movement in Japan. Along with PDX, 3 other very anticipated games coming also on the same day:. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 (Nintendo 3DS), Dark Souls III (PS4) and Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 (PS VITA). Only AAA!

The PDX had a slight 1st place in sales, that did not last long, embittering a 3rd position in overall sales ranking in the first week. According to the Mikufan website, the game sold 70,000 copies in four days, well below the Project DIVA F 154,000 in the first week in 2012.

The port of Future Tone for the PS4 may also have affected things. Who plays the Arcade or at least know how it works, you know that this Project DIVA is superior in graphics and has over 220 songs. His announcement very overshadowed the PDX, even missing two months to be released PS4.

And to close. In South Korea, the game came to be removed from stores because of song lyrics Seisou Bakuretsu Boy (聖槍爆裂ボーイ), have improper content.

But after some time, the game came to be sold, but now with rating +18! Who looks this may have a bad first impression for a simple rhythm game with a cover that does not refer to the general context of the +18 rating!

The main essence lost?

Much discussion about the essence of Project DIVA be getting lost, but how can we define the game essence?

Essence means, what is of primary or essential.

So what is the Project DIVA essence for you?

Each judge and defines based on their experiences, and what we consider essential. The essence is a little different in this game, but the main mechanics are still there.

The Project DIVA series is getting old and losing its relevance, and more than anyone else, the team Sega feat. Hatsune Miku Project are increasingly aware this. Follow the competitors is a risk, but rather that than do other “more of the same.”

Conclusion

Even with its faults, Project DIVA X (or HD if the Japanese version), still has a lot of content to explore.

You’ll have new songs and medleys to enjoy and several new features that you hardly see in a common rhythm game, however, will take time and some patience to unlock much of their content and understand its changes, it is part of the gameplay.

It is the first time that Sega creates a storyline for Project DIVA, it is expected that not quit perfect. All the noise made must have arrived to Sega, so that the next game is more faceted and polished as it deserves.

Would this be a new beginning? Soon we will know.

With all this, this is the longest Project DIVA made by Sega. 

Thanks for reading!

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