While The Idolmaster: Platinum Stars was an enjoyable game, it suffered from an issue common in many iterations of The Idolmaster. That is, it could be difficult to come across items that would make your singers more successful. Accumulating songs, outfits, accessories, and buffing items could be quite rare. Especially since so many outfits were palette swaps. However, The Idolmaster: Stella Stage completely rectifies that issue. As someone who has been playing since The Idolmaster SP, I feel like this is the most giving game in the series.
The basic means of doling out accessories, items, outfits, and songs remains the same in The Idolmaster: Stella Stage. When a producer ranks up, the player is able to choose a new song to add to the singers’ repertoire. Upon completing a stage, an outfit or accessory and a few items will be doled out to help you in your efforts. It is also possible to visit the in-game shop and use money the young women have earned from performances on items. The difference is, here things happen at a much more regular pace.
After clearing pretty much each The Idolmaster: Stella Stage performance for the first time, you get one great item. From standard clears, I have seen my heroines earn at least one outfit or one accessory. This is in addition to often getting items like cloths that increase the level of a single accessory by one, DVDs that make one outfit’s level increase by one, magazines that make one song Fresh again, potions that automatically grant a single character experience, and items that link buttons to make it easier to pass more difficult songs. If you EX-clear a song, completely maxing out the audience gauge, then you get a second special reward. I ended up earning the songs “Go My Way” and “Change!!!!” from EX-clearing one quintet performance and one solo performance. There’s less randomization here; you know you are absolutely getting something good for your efforts.
The new Coaching system is another way in which The Idolmaster: Stella Stage is always giving you more incentives to perform and rewarding you for your efforts. Earning a clear or EX-clear result from a stage will give you CP (Coaching Points). Each idol has an avatar that appears on a board. As you earn points, you can apply them to guide each characters’ skillset. When these characters move around the board on various paths, you will eventually guide them to panels that just have free rewards on them. This helps you earn more songs, dresses, and accessories. It is a great way to specifically seek out specific items. For example, I ended up getting “Brand New Day!” by sending Miki down the Quintet path that would make her the absolute best leader of a five member group.
It’s incredibly empowering. Especially since it is possible to go ahead and spend earned money in the shop on even more clothing and accessories. (Though, these mostly tend to be palette swaps.) I felt like I had complete control over when new items would be coming in. Even better, they were arriving at this rather regular pace. Once I ended up adding my fourth idol to my roster (Hibiki at Producer Rank 5), I was going back to EX-clear previously earned songs and getting all sorts of even better rewards that made returning worthwhile.
I would even say The Idolmaster: Stella Stage is so full that people would never have to consider DLC. I mean, it is there if you want it of course. But there is a good assortment of music rather readily available, as well as a nice array of costumes that meet requirements for each live and accessories that can boost your appeal. It is just so nice to have an installment where you are being given new things to enjoy and use at a consistent rate. It even makes returning to completed stages appealing, since the higher scores you can earn later will give you even more things that benefit your group.
The Idolmaster: Stella Stage is available for the PlayStation 4.