Hatsune Miku is slowly growing hard to ignore. With a successful concert tour and two different rhythm games making their way to the US last year, it seems like western audiences can’t get enough of the Vocaloid and her friends. Sega is hoping to keep this momentum going by bringing over the largest collection of Miku music ever with Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone. Featuring over 200 songs in the full collection and over 300 different customization options, fans should certainly being paying attention, but so should fans of rhythm games in general.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone itself is actually a free download from the Playstation Network that features two songs. The rest of the game’s content is broken up into two different packs priced at $29.99 that both feature over 100 songs and just as many customization options. Future Sound is a collection of content from other Project DIVA games, while Colorful Tone pulls from the Project Mirai games as well as some of Miku’s arcade games. Both packs can also be purchased together for $53.99. Having both packs allows players to mix and match costumes and hairstyles, whereas only having one limits players to switching costumes and adding accessories, but not being able to switch out the hairstyle that comes with the costume. That seems like a pretty arbitrary thing to keep from people who only own one pack, but it is the only option locked away and I would assume anyone who is interested in that customization will be interested in owning both packs anyway.
As far as customization goes, almost every song features its own unique outfit for the Vocaloid that performs that song. Players are not limited to that Vocaloid though, allowing them to change out the singer and use whichever costume they want. Points are needed to redeem costumes which are earned through a player’s performance on songs. Sega fans will be happy with options referencing some of the publishers titles including Ulala’s outfit from Space Channel 5 and uniforms from Valkyria Chronicles. These costumes allow you to make songs as serious or as goofy as you want, which adds quite a bit of replay value to songs you might otherwise ignore. What other rhythm game is going to give you the ability to use a male singer in a speedo for a song performed by a female voice about how much she loves juice?
Gameplay should look familiar to anyone who has played past Miku rhythm games, but does feature a few additions found only in the arcade versions. Notes don’t follow a set path and instead appear on-screen with a clock hand rotating around it to tell the player when the note will be arriving in the area. This is very different from most western rhythm games and new players might be lost at first, especially on songs that have busy visuals. Luckily the game features five difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Hard, Extreme, and Extra Extreme with only a few songs unavailable at the easier difficulties. For returning players, the holds and slides are a nice addition to the note options while not asking too much from players. I will say that this makes the harder difficulties even harder than they might have been in previous titles. A player who breezed through last year’s Project Diva X on hard might have difficulty earning high marks their first time through a song.
Speaking of playing songs for the first time, playing each song once is almost worth of the price of admission. If you use the overly safe assumption that each of the 224 songs last for two minutes, players are looking at over seven and a half hours worth of music. If sight reading isn’t your thing, both content packs feature a large number of extremely catchy and listenable songs from a number of different genres that players will want to play numerous times. A handy favorite button allows players to track what songs they might want to play again. After playing every song once and a number of the songs numerous times I had favorited over 80 songs and I would not consider myself a Vocaloid fan. With an option to make a playlist of songs just to listen to and watch the music videos, fans might want the game just to have such a large collection of Miku content at their disposal.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone is probably one of the most exciting rhythm games I have ever played. The purchase model allows people who may be interested in the title a chance to dip a toe for nothing, a chance to swim around if they think the waters okay, and finally a chance to drown themselves in Miku if they want. For me, having the ability to sight read so many different songs I had never heard before was the most fun I have ever had by myself with a rhythm game. Interested rhythm game fans get a gameplay style they might not have seen before, while also having an incredible number of different note charts to learn and grow better from. Even if Hatsune Miku fans own every previous game in the series, I feel like having all this content in the confines of one title makes the purchase worth it. Whether you have a statue of Miku on your desk or think robot voices are dumb, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone is worth checking out.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone was reviewed using a code for both content packs provided by SEGA.