The Hatsune Miku: Project Diva series has been something of a trendsetter. Since the original game in 2009, Sega has released a few music games with similar gameplay, like K-On! Ho-kago Live and Miracle Girls Festival, while Marvelous turned to another Vocaloid with IA/VT Colorful. It’s a little ironic to see Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X turn around and pluck inspiration from IA/VT Colorful to make itself more compelling. Like the other Vocaloid rhythm game, there are now missions to complete for songs in the primary campaign that make tapping along with tunes more interesting.
The standard Hatsune Miku: Project Diva gameplay is stored away in Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X’s menu’s second page. There, you can head into the Free Play area to go through any songs in any way you’d like. The Cloud Requests and Event Requests are front and center. Both have certain expectations and demands. They’re simple enough to start. An early Cloud Request might task you with completing a song on a specific difficulty, by making sure you meet a certain Voltage requirement. That is, try not to get too many bad or missed notes. An Event Request might require you to use a certain class of song, outfit, and accessory. After “beating” the game, that is unlocking all clouds, you might get more challenging requests with specific outfit or gameplay objectives.
It’s compelling in an unexpected way. Getting the 24 songs and six medleys unlocked involves clearing Cloud Requests. Only the Classic Cloud is immediately available in Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X, with four songs and one medley in it. Successfully completing each of these songs opens access to the Cute Cloud, with its five songs and one medley. Cool, Elegant, and Quirky are unlocked in order after, each with five songs and a medley, before a final medley opens up. Event Requests seem to be tied to progress in both the Clouds and friendship levels, from what I’ve seen.
This means you’re driven forward in a way different than previous Hatsune Miku: Project Diva games. There is a desire to complete a song on each difficulty level, but it isn’t the same as knowing you’ve managed to make it through. It’s about seeing that “Clear” next to its mission name on the Cloud Request menu instead. It’s knowing that you’ve possibly earned more gifts to give to Vocaloids to complete requests, unlocked additional modules for them to wear, and discovered accessories that could offer additional Voltage boosts. It’s a sense of purpose that comes from replaying the same song repeatedly.
In entries where you needed to acquire points to spend on items, going through songs could be tedious. The Hatsune Miku: Project Diva track lists offer quite a bit of variety, pulling songs from multiple genres. But knowing that these Cloud’s prisms need recharging and another song is hidden away makes enduring songs that aren’t my favorites more manageable. Getting crystals for special modules is a fantastic goal. Especially since improved drop rates are possibly the best thing ever for anyone hoping to earn rare modules with better skills attached. It’s also proving something, to both the game and yourself. Your sense of rhythm is that good. You are patient and dedicated enough to receive that reward.
There Hatsune Miku: Project Diva games have always driven players to complete as much as they possibly can. We’ve always had songs to unlock, multiple difficulty levels to complete, and additional outfits and accessories to acquire. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X is a much more purposeful game. The structure in which things are organized, modules tucked away, is enough to create some kind of compulsion. When I unlocked a new cloud, I had to complete all of the songs in that location. There was no putting it off. Previous games allowed a little more freedom, but Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X perfectly doles out rewards in such a way that keeps you fixated on your PlayStation 4 or PlayStation Vita.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X will come to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on August 30, 2016.