Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd Playtest: Vocaloid Party

By Jenni . August 6, 2010 . 12:34pm

Once again, Hatsune Miku is singing and dancing her way onto the PSP, but this time she’s not the only star. Well, she is the main attraction, but the other Vocaloids are so prominently features that Hatsune Miku and Friends may have been a better title than Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd.

 

The shift is prominent. On the start screen, it isn’t just Miku dancing. Miku and Luka are both dancing, while they’re waiting for you to press start. Sometimes, it’ll even just be a single character like Len. If you wait and watch the opening movie, it almost seems like Rin is the star, with Miku, Luka and Len supporting her. All the Vocaloids get additional costumes, not just Miku, and many have their own songs that they star in. Even the loading screens follow this trend – some only focus on one of the other Vocaloid characters.

 

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd could also have been called Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 1.1, as lots of the content from the first game reappears. Songs, many outfits, and even a few room accessories may seem familiar. Custom songs created with the first game can be loaded too. Loading up the save file from Project Diva will get you all the costumes you earned, including the swimsuits for Rin, Len, Luka, Kaito and Meiko which now appear in their "closets". The 16 returning songs have new patterns and sometimes rearranged music videos. So, Project Diva 2nd takes the best of the old.

 

There are 30 new songs, along with lots of new costumes, and decorations to get. Also, you now buy clothing, home spaces, accessories and such for Miku and company in a shop. You unlock these items by playing songs and meeting certain requirements. Then you can buy them using points from playing and replaying songs. There are even "Help" bonuses that you can buy, which can help you do better when playing songs by refilling your gauge if it gets too low or by nullifying a certain number of worse or sad notes. You can also buy gifts for the Vocaloids and make them happy.

 

 

I’m somewhat torn on the fact you now have to buy upgrades and extras. Especially since you have to unlock them first to buy them. It’s as though Sega was going overboard trying to give people a reason to keep playing and master songs. Outfits can be quite expensive and cost around 10,000 points. I feel like Sega should have chosen one or the other. Either give people outfits/accessories/items by reaching milestones in songs or have almost all items immediately available in the shop with players saving up for the things they want.

 

There are also two new types of notes, which are introduced in the tutorial stage set to "Ievan Polkka" with Miku Hachune swinging a leek in the background. You can now use the directional pad buttons or triangle, circle, square or X for standard notes. (Up can be pressed instead of triangle, right instead of circle and so on.) The new albums are an arrow and an extended note. The arrow doesn’t work how you’d think – it doesn’t just mean press that way on the directional pad. You have to press that way on the directional pad AND press the action button that corresponds to it at the same time when it pops up. So if you see a right arrow, you need to press right and circle.

 

The extended note is also new, and trickier than it looks. Pressing it to start holding it is simple. But, you have to let go at just the right time to get a Cool or Fine. I found that sometimes waiting for the indicator to reach the end of the extended note would result in a Sad or Worst result. It’s almost better to release earlier, if you’re in doubt, than waiting.

 

Aside from those arrows, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd pretty much plays just like Hatsune Miku: Project Diva. Note indicators will appear on screen, and the notes themselves will float towards them. When a note is on top of an indicator, you press it in time. Go for perfect or nearly perfect timing to net Cools and Fines, to build combos. Try to avoid near misses or misses so you don’t get Sads or Worsts. A gauge on the bottom left tells you how you’re doing, and if it empties the song ends and you fail. Near the end of each song, Chance Mode comes up where the gauge disappears and you try to chain together as long a combo as you can for points.

 

 

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd seems far more import friendly than the original. I mean, the original was import friendly, being a music game with very little text. Project Diva 2nd goes above and beyond. There are icons next to each menu option, in addition to the text, so you can easily see what each option is for, even if you can’t read Japanese. There’s English text when you start a song and begin a song. Also, there are a number of songs with the Vocaloids singing in English this time around – for example "Just Be Friends," "PoPiPo" and "Clover Club." Even the epilogue for Rin’s song "Kokoro" features English text on the screen.

 

The Diva room in-room decorating and interactions have also changed. When you decorate, you decide what goes where. This means that, despite the smaller living space for each Vocaloid, you have more choice about what objects appear, where and how they’re laid out. Vocaloids also may give you points when you visit based on their moods, which lets you go shopping for more outfits and stuff. Finally, you don’t just manage one Vocaloid home. You manage ones for each character, and characters often go visiting.

 

You can also give the Vocaloids gifts in their little homes. Yes, gifts. You unlock types by playing through songs well, then buy them from the store and give them to the characters to boost their mood. As you can guess, different characters like different things, and you have to check and see what each will like best. If their moods are bad, it won’t really effect gameplay. They’ll just look annoyed at you when you’re selecting their Module or changing their clothes.

 

The song edit mode for creating custom music videos and songs has also been revamped. Aside from being able to have two Vocaloids in the shot, positioned however you’d like, the means of inputing notes to hit has been improved and of course there are new dance steps to pick from, props characters can hold and new surroundings. Most of the dance steps did come from the original Project Diva though. Many of the new steps seem more masculine, and like they were added with Kaito and Len in mind.

 

 

It’s also much easier to create note patterns for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd, as the live input method, where you press the button to create a pattern while the song is playing in the background and you’re watching your preliminary video, has been improved. Everything is less complicated, and a little less cluttered. It’s still a bit challenging for people who can’t read Japanese characters to work with, but it’s better than the system in Hatsune Miku: Project Diva.

 

And you have so much more control when actually putting together the video that will run in the background. You can adjust positions, add in overlays like snow/rain/flower petals/fireworks, add a hand-held prop, adjust eye position and facial expressions and pretty much go through and adjust every single thing to make your video look perfect. I especially think the camera angles were much easier to work with. Of course, this does mean that custom songs and videos will take much longer to create.

 

To put it frankly, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd is the version of Project Diva you should own. It makes the previous game obsolete. It can do everything the first Project Diva could do, better than the original could do it, and then added more content and extras. Plus it still manages to be just as user friendly as the original, with multiple difficult levels to accommodate players of all skill levels and a nice variety of Vocaloid music. It’s definitely a must-buy for PSP owners who enjoy expanding their libraries with imported games.


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  • malek86

    You can never have enough Miku + Luka.

  • goronyan

    i’m sad because there’s no “World’s end dance hall” and they took off “Electric Angel” from the song list
    I use the d-pad too, it helps me a lot, but i still have to improve on hard mode.

    and meiko is soo hot!

  • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

    I’m really impressed with Project Diva 2nd, but I also wish I didn’t have to buy the costume once I unlocked them. Like it drove me nuts trying to get those stupid combos in the first game, but it made me play the game over and over again. It made it more challenging…but a little too stressful at times.. (I wish in 2nd, they had challenges, but made them less tedious).

    Also it’s much more relaxing to not have to rely on Chance Time combos just to get a Great score. Also long notes and doubles spice up the older songs and Extreme is appropriately hard. I was doubtful on the song selection at first, but the less “popular” songs are very fun to play. But the selection of the classic songs is questionable…

    Overall 2nd feels like a much more polished game. I’m not sure how much difference the Data Install does, but I’m glad it’s there. It’s also great that you can choose your module right before a song, and you can choose any module, even for non-Miku songs and duets.

    Why do I find Campus Kaito so hot?

  • http://www.siliconera.com Melinda

    Well… (I’m sick at the moment, I know I shouldn’t be up but eh…)I found that Project Diva: Dreamy Theatre will turn the game upside on the head – There’s something to be said about improving the responsiveness (Although it actually makes certain songs HARDER since timing becomes more precise) as well as the frame rates since it jumps from the PSP’s 30 to 60 (Well, 59.94 to be precise). The PS3 handles the improved graphics nicely too.Now if only Diva 2 would work with theatre (Or more likely they’ll release a new version to make more money) then we’d see the best of both wiorlds.But don’t completely write off Diva 1, at least not yet, if only because you require Diva 1 to actually play Dreamy Theatre…

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      Watch – I bet before December there’ll be a Dreamy Theater 2nd that will magically work with both games.

      Or maybe (maybe) the original Dreamy Theater will get an update patch.

  • superdry

    Excellent write-up on Diva 2nd. =DRegarding the new note types, I feel like overall the timing in the game is tighter and a little less forgiving than the first. There have been so many times I get “safe” even though I know I hit the note on the beat. Does anyone else feel the same? It’s nice though there is no more lag in PJD 2nd.I like the fact that stuff to buy unlocks after just clearing a song on normal or hard difficulty. In the first, I put in 90+ hours to unlock EVERYTHING because some of the room items had a very low probability of unlocking. It was fun, but it did get tedious. I feel like playing songs to get points to buy stuff is a somewhat better system than random unlocks.

    I also like the fact that chance time does not affect whether you get a standard, great or excellent. You just need to be good to keep the combos going to pass a song.

    The new songs are great, but the selection taken from the first is so-so at best. I try to not play the older songs only because I have played them to death in the first, unless its livetune or supercell.Overall…a great game that improves on the first. Sorta like how Rock Band 2 improved on Rock Band.Now I wonder if Project Diva 3rd will come out next year….

    • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

      Oh geez, yes I agree on the buying items over trying to unlock them, the original was quite unreasonable on the room items.

      I’m not sure the reason for keeping some of the old songs. Classics and overwhelming popular songs I can understand. But they brought over some songs I rarely even played in the original (Inochi no Uta, Birodo Arabesque for example). Although I dislike Dear Cocoa Girls, it’s the obligatory swimsuit song, so it makes sense to keep it.

      • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

        Dear Cocoa Girls is actually one of my favorites. XD

        And I agree. On the Easy mode, the note entry seems a little more forgiving, but it does seem a tad more demanding on Normal and Hard. I didn’t see it as being too demanding though. The extended notes were what sort of threw me because you pretty much have to lift your finger off the button *before* it hits the end indicator.

  • MarkMario

    Still trying to Perfect every song on Hard (Saihate I am having trouble on)

  • http://twitter.com/E_King1 Edgar Robles

    I really WISH this don’t come to the USA,I like it,but it’s like being addicted to poison.(Strange,’cuz I’M RUNNIN’ FOR MY FREAKIN’ LIFE!!!!!!!!)The way I found out about this ndsthemes.com,drawing of some anime girl,wikipedia,& BAM!,I found out that this is originally some DJ system in Japan,It had some sample called “Sakura Sakura”,I like it ‘cuz It reminds me Punch-Out!!other than that,I never looked up anything related to it,I just found this page randomly while getting info about 3DS :-)

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