Available now in Japan and headed overseas later this year, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd is sure to please its fanbase. This will be a shorter review than most, as there isn’t as much to say about the core gameplay itself this time around as there was when I reviewed the first Project Diva F.
While I’ve heard of no official changes to the difficulty, Project Diva F 2nd definitely feels harder than its predecessor. Though it was fun all the while, it’s worth a note that I found myself getting my ass kicked even on Standard and Easy Modes way more often than I did in the last Project Diva. In Project Diva F 2nd, it’s as if Normal Mode disappeared, leaving the options as Easy, Hard, Extreme, and Holy Crap Extreme.
This didn’t bother me, as I play these to relax and just hit buttons to the music and don’t get all bent if I fail, but it might bother some completionists who find themselves seeing failure more often than they expected. Those who’ve been rocking with Miku since the beginning, meanwhile, might welcome the new difficulty with open arms. By that same token, the recommended starting point for franchise newcomers probably wouldn’t be this game, but 2012’s Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F (2013 for NA).
Edit Mode makes a return, though its use requires an additional 747 MB download from the PSN store; it’s free (as it should be), but the extra step is a little off-putting. Most people won’t use it, other still will only use it a tiny bit, but those who do want to dive in have a powerful tool in their hands. While players can still download user-created tracks, different songs have oddly varying copyright restrictions, so some downloads available to the Japanese version won’t be available to others. I don’t know if they check for this by your PSN region or if they have some kind of IP shit going on. I imagine it’s the former, but the insanity of the music industry knows no bounds. Suits, man.
The track list good, though again, like an old man, I feel compelled to add that the new material doesn’t pack the punch that the older stuff does. In all, there are 20 new songs in PDF2, with just as many returning from previous games, including an Extreme version of Levan Polka. Three of the re-releases feature new PVs — my favorite being Sakura no Ame (“Cherry Blossom Rain“). The old PV for Sakura no Ame was quite basic, mostly Miku singing and dancing under a cherry blossom tree with a few outdoor cuts and shots of a school here and there, but that was it. The updated version has much more style and power as Miku walks around in her old high school recording a video. As a school teacher in Japan, the song and video hit home.
2nd is visually cleaned up compared to the first Project Diva F. The characters and menus all look smoother. Gone are the days of suspecting that your friend removed your Vita screen protector, rubbed the adhesive part on the carpet, then put it back on your Vita. Project Diva F 2nd looks the way it ought to.
Star notes make their return, more obnoxiously than ever. They can be activated with the touchscreen, back touch pad, or analog sticks, but these all feel stupid and forced. [Theory and musing] I wonder if the dev team felt pressure to spice up the gameplay or something? To me, is wasn’t broken, so there’s no need to fix it. There might be some who say that this feels more like an expansion than a sequel, but I doubt star notes would change their tunes… so to speak.[/Theory and musing]
Diva Room once again allows people to live their dream of filming someone in their house, without their knowledge or consent. Cute as it is to buy Miku a jukebox and a new outfit with Diva Points, this feature doesn’t add a whole lot of value. There have been new items added since the last game, but I didn’t have the patience to do as much with the Diva Room as I did then. Fortunately, it’s an appendix and not the main attraction.
If you’ve played Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F, you’ll feel right at home in Project Diva F 2nd; if you haven’t, that’s probably the optimal starting point. 2nd is still a great rhythm game, the Vocaloid cast is still a fun bunch, and this entry once again has stuff for all types of fans. Whether you just wanna tap to the beat or need to go deeper, Hatsune Miku’s latest offering is another good one.
(Post-review notes for importers. Read the PSLS guide to importing here.)
I’ll say the same thing I said at the end of the first Project Diva F review: The rhythm game portion of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f is clearly its most important part, and if that’s pretty much all that matters to you, then you need not speak a lick of Japanese to be able to fudge your way through the whole track list, maybe encountering an experimental flub or two; you’ll figure out what’s what quickly. Knowing how to read some katakana will help, as it does in any Japanese game; that will let you know exactly what you’re doing on a lot of the menu commands instead of having to experiment.
An intermediate amount of reading ability will be needed in order to be certain of what exactly you’re doing in the Diva Room and within its associated shop. An advanced level of Japanese is required for understanding the music editor commands, though even then, its interface is not the most intuitive in the world, so there may be additional confusion. If you’re wanting to dive into the depths and explore the music editor, make sure your Japanese is solid before importing this. But if you know nothing or are just okay, and if you’re satisfied playing the rhythm game and not being able to understand some of your Diva Room options, then you can easily mash the Go Button on this.