With such an enormous and international fanbase, it’s no wonder that there have been multiple games based on songs created with the Vocaloid music software. I’ve always been a fan of music rhythm games and have recently become a fan of Vocaloid songs, so when a friend of mine suggested I try out the demo of Project DIVA ƒ, I jumped at the chance to play it. This will be the first game in the series to be localized, so I hope that the game gets the attention that it deserves.
The demo features three popular songs: Weekender Girl, Tengaku, and World’s End Dance Hall, each complete with a “music video” in the background while you play. All of this is rendered in-game and the characters actually look very similar to their holographic counterparts on stage. Something I never really understood is why there is always so much going on in the background of a music rhythm game. It sometimes distracts you from the notes that are flying across the screen, and just knowing that the lovely Volcaloid ladies are there dancing their hearts out makes it even more distracting. However, my prayers seem to have been answered, as there is a movie mode in the game.
In each song, you can choose which Vocaloid(s) you want to see in each song by choosing the “customize” button on the song select screen. In the demo, Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin/Len, Megurine Luka, Kaito, and Meiko are playable, but more will be available in the full game. Each character will have a number of different outfits they can equip as well as different accessories. Outfits and accessories can be unlocked with in-game currency called Diva Points, and earning these means playing the game more. However, the store in which to spend them was not available in the demo.
The Project Diva series is really a fan’s game as knowing the songs beforehand makes the songs so much easier to play. Despite this, there are a couple of game mechanics in place to help you get ahead. Chance time and technical bonus pop up in certain parts of a song, and you must hit the notes successfully during them or else you lose the bonus. An interesting aspect of chance time, however, is that depending on whether or not you hit the last note in the string successfully, the outcome of the background’s scene changes. Players can also track their performance by looking at the accuracy graph that is available at the end of each song to pinpoint the problem areas and adjust accordingly.
Looking at the song list and all of the customizable options, I can say that I’m pretty hyped for the release of the game. The game will release this August on the PS3 for download via the Playstation Network.