Project Diva F: My Rhythm Game Savior

Posted by Hailinel (24429 posts) -

Hey, guys. You like rhythm games?

Not that plastic guitar bullshit that got tired after Rock Band 3 and Guitar Hero 87. I mean actual rhythm games that have some fucking imagination in their presentation and design. Ouendan, Gitaroo Man, crazy shit like that.

Did that previous paragraph cause you offense? Sorry, but I'm just venting. After Activision and Harmonix flooded the market with plastic crap, I really, honestly wondered if I'd ever see the sorts of rhythm games I really enjoy again. Not herping and derping across terribly laid note highways (like every post Harmonix Guitar Hero) or Kinect bullshit (which Harmonix has become obsessed with ever since ditching the plastic instruments).

Wait, I'm still venting.

OK, I'm done.

Well, this past week, Sega came to my rescue with the domestic release of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F. And it's such a breath of fresh air from the guitars and the Kinect nonsense. It's actually the latest in a series of games that have been coming out in Japan for the past few years, but Sega decided it was worth giving one of them a shot over here (seemingly at the expense of the domestic release of Phantasy Star Online 2. (Seriously, what happened there?)

Anyway, yes, the game is entirely Vocaloid driven. If you're one of those people that don't find them entertaining in any way, this game will drive you up the wall. But if you're willing to give it a chance, you're in for a treat. There are thirty-eight songs, each set to a music video starring the singing Vocaloid(s) that plays as background to the true action. Similar to a game like Ouendan, marks appear on the screen, and you have to hit them in time with the music. The trick here is that the marks are for the most part shaped like the icons on the PS controller face buttonjs (so square, circle, triangle, and X), with some marks also requiring directional input on the d-pad, and special star marks that are hit by tilting one of the analogue sticks. The marks appear in patterns around the screen and you have to be really fast in determining which button to press and the timing it needs.

And it's not easy, either. The first song on Normal kicked my ass so hard that I went straight to easy, where the only inputs used are Circle and the analogue sticks. And now that I have a better grasp on how the game works, I can go back to Normal and...maybe not get destroyed so easily this time. But damn if it isn't addictive. Like Ouendan, I see this as being the sort of game I'll play incessantly. Maybe I'll never get to a point where I can clear all of the stages on Extreme (because god damn):

But it's a great mountain for me to climb. Sadly, Project Diva F is likely too niche to truly succeed domestically, particularly given the brutal onslaught of releases this and next month. Still, if you have a desire for a fun rhythm game with some challenge, this might be what you're looking for.

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#1 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

So..... it's Parappa the Rapper but with Hatsune Miku?

Actually, watching the video, it looks pretty awesome.

#2 Posted by Flappy (2208 posts) -

First off, lemme start by giving you props on a quality blog post. I'd say that I'm surprised that it's a post about a Vocaloid game, but I've seen stranger things on GB, so I'll let it slide.

Rhythm games have always been a weird thing to me. I love playing them (especially when the song selection is on point), but the biggest appeal to me is getting my ass kicked by a song, memorizing the flowchart (that's what they're called, right?), and developing enough muscle memory that I can complete the song and get a high score.. The DJMax series helped me discover my love of rhythm games and opened a door that led to the Ouendan series, Gitaroo Man, and eventually Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA for the PSP. It was different from what I've experienced before, but it wasn't long before Miku's infectious lyrics drilled into my skull and got me hooked on her crazy lil' game.

Of course, it took a while to figure out the timing of button presses and other nuances that come with the genre, but after I got over that initial hurdle, it was all smooth sailings from there. Unfortunately, quality rhythm games are pretty rare nowadays, and even then, it's not always easy finding a one that's able to draw me in (DJ MAX Technika Tune has a pretty decent song selection, but I'm not a fan of touchscreen controls). While I continue searching for the next one that appeals to me, I'll wish you the best with your Vocaloid shenanigans.

#3 Posted by JackSukeru (5910 posts) -

I consider finsihing the final stage of Ouendan 2 on Hard one of my greatest gaming related achivements, damn that game was intense, and the spinners, those damn spinners!

Anywho, I tried the demo of some version of this series a couple of months ago on PS3 and couldn't get into it. A mix of having a hard time seeing the commands and not being a big fan of the Vocaloid voices. I just really want another Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents style game where you tap on the screen directly. Theatrhythm was good, but it had you tapping on the lower screen while looking at the top one, which I felt removed some of the directness of the controls. It was simpler yet less intuitive. Don't get me wrong it worked well most of the time, but I still missed the...uh, immediacy of the Ouendan system.

#4 Posted by ZombiePie (5644 posts) -

Huh, this reminds me something that got me into a little bit of trouble back in my Anime Vice days. Now lets get something clear I have no intention of playing any of the rhythm games based off of vocaloids so I can only speak of the actual vocaloid software. From that maybe a music person such as our resident Hatsune Miku expert, @hamst3r, has more detailed and professional opinions about vocaloids, I kid man. Anyways from testing out a friends copy of the pro/commercial level of the software I was...not impressed. The actual voice synthesis is just "not there yet." There are enunciation issues even at the expensive professional tiers and other than the novelty of having music sound like a vocaloid, as an accurate speech synthesizer it kind of sucks.

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#5 Posted by Hamst3r (4481 posts) -
#6 Posted by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

Been playing more Killer is Dead than Project Diva but I have played a handful of songs in the full game now and its pretty damn fun. Also the Diva Room stuff is super bizzare. I rub the divas on their head like a dog and now they want to play Rock Paper Scissors with me? Uh, What?

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#7 Posted by Hailinel (24429 posts) -

Been playing more Killer is Dead than Project Diva but I have played a handful of songs in the full game now and its pretty damn fun. Also the Diva Room stuff is super bizzare. I rub the divas on their head like a dog and now they want to play Rock Paper Scissors with me? Uh, What?

It's an odd mechanic, but the idea of decking out their rooms, and presenting gifts to boost their bond with the player is a cute side mode, if nothing else. I haven't experimented with it too much yet, myself.

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#8 Posted by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

@hailinel: Yeah me either I don't have enough Diva points to buy anything! Its all so expensive! D=

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#9 Posted by Bocam (3724 posts) -

The best part of Vocaloid songs are the covers that sound better than the originals

#10 Posted by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

@hailinel: Also, don't know if you know this or not but you can use the D-pad directions in place of the face buttons so for a Triangle prompt you could press either Triangle or Up for a Square either Square or Left ect... Which I figure that ends up being key for harder songs later on. There is also a bitchin' controller available for sale albeit for way to much money:

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#11 Posted by SuperWristBands (2266 posts) -

I'm enjoying the game pretty well. It's got a handful of good songs and some bad ones (lookin' at you Meiko/Kaito) but the Rin/Len/Miku/pinkhairedgirl ones sound pretty good. The videos that play are fantastic and I appreciate that you can understand what is happening even though the words are in Japanese and you can tell they put a lot of effort into making these videos.

I still have the problem of the background video distracting me from the notes or "hiding" them with flashy lights and hand waves though. I wonder how many other people have this problem? It's pretty hard to pay attention to the notes at times but a friend of mine has had no problems with the demo songs.

Also it's Miku's birthday today which I found out by going to her room and then some characters had a party and I got a title. Just so, you know, in case you want that title or to see the scene. It's probably limited to today? Or if you change the clock on the PS3.

#12 Posted by Grissefar (2842 posts) -

But $50 daaang. Dang son.

#13 Edited by Flappy (2208 posts) -

But $50 daaang. Dang son.

The struggle is real.

#14 Posted by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

@superwristbands: Yeah there is actually a tropy for visiting each vocaloids room during their birthday. Along with yours once you set your profile that is.

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#15 Posted by EXTomar (4690 posts) -

Amazon keeps recommending this game to me but I can't tell if it is a taunt or joke.

#16 Posted by Grissefar (2842 posts) -

@flappy said:

@grissefar said:

But $50 daaang. Dang son.

The struggle is real.

You best believe, son.

#17 Posted by StarvingGamer (8157 posts) -

Boooh no Vita version in the US?

#18 Edited by SuperWristBands (2266 posts) -

@superwristbands: Yeah there is actually a tropy for visiting each vocaloids room during their birthday. Along with yours once you set your profile that is.

Wait, you mean Hatsune Miku will throw me a birthday party?

#19 Posted by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

@superwristbands: Yeah,go into records on the main screen from here you can set your profile which includes Birthdate,Favorite song,ECT.....

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#20 Posted by Hailinel (24429 posts) -

@hailinel: Also, don't know if you know this or not but you can use the D-pad directions in place of the face buttons so for a Triangle prompt you could press either Triangle or Up for a Square either Square or Left ect... Which I figure that ends up being key for harder songs later on. There is also a bitchin' controller available for sale albeit for way to much money:

That is an awesome controller and I honestly would consider buying it if it weren't as expensive as it is.

I'm enjoying the game pretty well. It's got a handful of good songs and some bad ones (lookin' at you Meiko/Kaito) but the Rin/Len/Miku/pinkhairedgirl ones sound pretty good. The videos that play are fantastic and I appreciate that you can understand what is happening even though the words are in Japanese and you can tell they put a lot of effort into making these videos.

I still have the problem of the background video distracting me from the notes or "hiding" them with flashy lights and hand waves though. I wonder how many other people have this problem? It's pretty hard to pay attention to the notes at times but a friend of mine has had no problems with the demo songs.

Also it's Miku's birthday today which I found out by going to her room and then some characters had a party and I got a title. Just so, you know, in case you want that title or to see the scene. It's probably limited to today? Or if you change the clock on the PS3.

I sometimes have trouble following the marks because of the background, but I get used to it after a couple of attempts. I can't say I really mind them since they're all so well done and add a great deal to the game's personality.

And man, that birthday event was pretty adorable. Completely superfluous to the experience and yet I'm happy they put it in there.

@flappy said:

@grissefar said:

But $50 daaang. Dang son.

The struggle is real.

It's not a big one for me, honestly. This is a game that I could replay endlessly. I'm perfectly satisfied with the price.

Boooh no Vita version in the US?

Nope. Though I can't say I blame them. The PS3 has a much larger install base. Selling Vita games hasn't exactly been an easy proposition.

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#21 Edited by Flappy (2208 posts) -

@hailinel: No doubt. When done right, rhythm games can have a lot of replay value. I used to spend at least 2-3 hours each night playing DJ Max titles before bed. When these sort of games get you, the time just flies on by.

#22 Posted by ike7779 (308 posts) -

@flappy said:

@hailinel: No doubt. When done right, rhythm games can have a lot of replay value. I used to spend at least 2-3 hours each night playing DJ Max titles before bed. When these sort of games get you, the time just flies on by.

No joke. At least I can pretend I'm just making sure it will make a good gift for my niece and my friend's wife (already purchased for both).

I'm currently particularly inexplicably and irrationally infatuated with MMORPG Addict's Anthem and Negaposi Continues. Can't deny the kicks in that first one.

That animated gif of Jeff about sums it up for me.

#23 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

Is this for download only?

#24 Posted by SuperWristBands (2266 posts) -

Is this for download only?

Download only in Europe I think. Retail and digital in North America.

#25 Posted by DystopiaX (5301 posts) -

@hailinel: Also, don't know if you know this or not but you can use the D-pad directions in place of the face buttons so for a Triangle prompt you could press either Triangle or Up for a Square either Square or Left ect... Which I figure that ends up being key for harder songs later on. There is also a bitchin' controller available for sale albeit for way to much money:

Man I want this controller. And I don't even necessarily want the game.

Shit, wonder if I could play SF4 or something with it lol

#26 Posted by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

@dystopiax: I'm sure you could its not so different from the hitbox controllers.

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#27 Posted by Hailinel (24429 posts) -

@ike7779 said:

@flappy said:

@hailinel: No doubt. When done right, rhythm games can have a lot of replay value. I used to spend at least 2-3 hours each night playing DJ Max titles before bed. When these sort of games get you, the time just flies on by.

No joke. At least I can pretend I'm just making sure it will make a good gift for my niece and my friend's wife (already purchased for both).

I'm currently particularly inexplicably and irrationally infatuated with MMORPG Addict's Anthem and Negaposi Continues. Can't deny the kicks in that first one.

That animated gif of Jeff about sums it up for me.

Tell me about it. I am just enthralled by God-Tier Tune and World's End Umbrella. But really, there are very few songs in the game that I don't like in some way. And the videos produced for each one are fantastic.

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#28 Edited by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

@hailinel: For me its been all about Freely Tomorrow and Tell Your World.

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#29 Posted by Hailinel (24429 posts) -

@hailinel: For me its been all about Freely Tomorrow and Tell Your World.

Those are both pretty good, too. The one currently really driving me nuts is Rin-chan Now! on Normal. I keep just barely missing out on a Standard rank by missing a few too many marks. That stage is utter madness.

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#30 Posted by Dethfish (3646 posts) -

I'm bummed I can't just download this on the Vita. I don't have a PS3, dang it.

Yeah, I'm the one person who has a Vita but not a PS3.

#31 Posted by Aetheldod (3556 posts) -

Oh no im not getting infatuated by this no no .... she is so cute and the songs :3 er I mean this aint no game for a metal head dang it!!!!

#32 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11644 posts) -
#33 Posted by Hailinel (24429 posts) -
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#34 Edited by Aetheldod (3556 posts) -

@hailinel: Ehhh the god tier link doesnt seems to work ... which song is it?

#35 Posted by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

@hailinel: Yeah there was a song earlier that was frustrating me forget the name off hand. Even on normal some of the note patterns can be really confusing until you know how to read them. They often do a thing where you'll see two sets of notes appear at once and if its your first time not necessarily know what set is going to need attention first.

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#36 Edited by Hailinel (24429 posts) -

@aetheldod said:

@hailinel: Ehhh the god tier link doesnt seems to work ... which song is it?

Odd. The link works for me.

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#37 Posted by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@aetheldod said:

@hailinel: Ehhh the god tier link doesnt seems to work ... which song is it?

Odd. The link woks for me.

Yeah, works for me as well just fine.

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#38 Posted by Aetheldod (3556 posts) -

@hailinel: >_< .... now it works ... or maybe my internet browser was being stubborn. Any way I didnt know that Hatsune had more , how shall I put it , "cleaner" songs or rather more normal sounding voices.

#39 Posted by Hailinel (24429 posts) -

@hailinel: >_< .... now it works ... or maybe my internet browser was being stubborn. Any way I didnt know that Hatsune had more , how shall I put it , "cleaner" songs or rather more normal sounding voices.

It's really all about how well the Vocaloid software is put to use. The Project Diva games are loaded with some of the absolute best compositions people have created using it.

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#40 Posted by Demoskinos (14778 posts) -

The fucking music video editor is goddamn intense! Holy shit!

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#41 Posted by ervonymous (1297 posts) -

I needed some time to adjust to Project Diva coming from.. most other rhythm games released in the past eight years, the timing is Rhythm Heaven levels of unforgiving and that's the way it should be. I've at least standard-cleared the extreme playlist but going for all perfects is nerve-wracking, it's Remix 10 all over again.

Fire Flower and God-Tier Tune I never grew tired of, a couple being unbearable. Glasses still makes me laugh.

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