Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Review

Last Updated: July 4, 2009 @ 7:00 PM

I've had the honour today of obtaining the much-anticipated VOCALOID PSP game, 初音ミク-Project DIVA-. I've purchased the limited edition which comes with a special Nendoroid Petit (but it does not actually ship out until July 2nd). Therefore, I've had to rely on other means of obtaining the game in the meantime.

Confirmed running on a PSP-1000 with 5.00 M33-4 or above using Sony NP9660 UMD driver.

Note: Will run laggy on TA-86 motherboards, but not TA-82.


It has come to my attention that the game is now shipped out to retailers and is selling in certain circles (such as in Hong Kong). I know my UMD has shipped out it's just a matter of waiting patiently for it to arrive.


Mechanics:

Let me explain a bit how the game works. There are 39 songs and only 3 of them are playable from the start. Since only "Easy" and "Normal" modes are available for a song until it is beaten, I found the game to be somewhat repetitive since the only buttons you'll be pressing in those modes are circle or cross. It isn't until a "Hard"-leveled song when you'll be pressing triangle and square as well. Songs are rated in difficulty by a 1 to 5 star rating with 5 being the hardest (However there are two songs which have hard modes ranking 6 and 7 stars).

The scoring system in Project Diva can be somewhat harsh at times. The high scores are obtained by getting a full combo throughout the "Chance Time" which occurs normally near the end of a song. The combo will be broken if you miss a note or press it just a split second too quickly. The later you can press it the more likely you'll get a "Cool!" score as opposed to a "Fine" or "Safe". Missing notes will get you a "Sad" or "Worst". Finishing a song will get you 1 of 4 rankings: Cheap, Standard, Great, or Perfect. If you fail to clear the song you'll get a MissXTake rank and Miku will "OTL".

Impressions:

Being a fan of the 8-button DJ Max Portable series, once the level of difficulty is pumped-up in Project DIVA, I've found the game to be quite a blast. Graphically the game is very pretty and Miku is adorable. The faces she makes while singing and the movements are so...uh..."moe". They really took the time to make a decent model of her (and I'm looking forward to unlocking more costumes which are unlocked by meeting certain performance conditions while playing). Also, the environments seem to be unique to each song so far and I find that to be quite appealing; it keeps the game entirely fresh.

Navigating the Game:

Needless to say, I do not speak Japanese, but it has been easy enough to navigate through the menus of the game. I'll list in order my 'translation' of what the menu looks like:


Free Play - Choose from the song library a song to play.
Module Convert - Lets you choose a character and costume skin. Presented below are some screen shots of some costumes I've unlocked so far. In this menu, conditions are listed that need to be met to unlock a costume. It's important to note that you need to AT LEAST meet them, not simply meet them exactly. For example, if you have to play a song 5 times on "normal", you can play it 5 times on "hard" instead and have it still count.
Miku's Room - Your character is in a room interacting with the environment. You can change the music, the overall skin of the room, and shuffle some minor furniture items around. Pressing R lets you take a screen shot to the memory stick (which you can see I've already done).
Custom Songs - Import songs from your memory stick and make note-tracks for them. You're also able to play other people's note-tracks loaded from the memory stick. I see this being a feature which will keep the game alive in fan communities for years to come. UPDATE: I've created a guide on how to do this.
Save - Obviously creates or deletes save files.
Options - Adjust the music and sound volumes.
Extras - Character artwork and etc...
Exit - Exits to the start menu.

(all screen shots were taken in-game using Custom Firmware Extender and the built-in screen shot mode of Miku's Room)

It's all fairly straight-forward even if you're not familiar with Japanese. The only thing that I'd say you'd need a tutorial to do is the song creation. It just so happens that as of my last update, I've done just that. View my guide here.


Song List:

I have a total of 525 VOCALOID songs in my personal library but only about half of the songs in Project DIVA are familiar to me so far (and the ones that are not I have grown to like already). The only slight annoyance I've found is that most songs have a tambourine sound accompanied with each button press which can distract from the song itself. Thankfully the noise can be turned off before the song starts (there's a left/right-selectable option in the bottom-left of the screen). Here's the complete song listing (from Moetron):

“World is Mine” by ryo
“Koi wa Sensou” by ryo
“Hinekure Mono” by ryo
“MELT” by ryo
“Sono Ibbyou” Slow Motion by ryo
“Marginal” by OSTER project
“Miracle Paint” by OSTER project
“Koi suru VOC@LOID” by OSTER project
“Dreaming Leaf – Yumemiru Kotonoha” by OSTER project
“Fukigen Waltz” by OSTER project
“Amenochi sweet drops” by OSTER project
“Strabo Nights” by kz
“Packaged” by kz
“Last Night, Good Night” by kz
“Far Away” by kz
“Star Story” by kz
“Kouya to Mori to Mahou no Uta” by Travolta-P
“Kouya to Mori to Mahou no Uta” (Rin ver.) by Travolta-P
“Kouya to Mori to Mahou no Uta” (Len ver.) by Travolta-P
“Inochi no Uta” by Travolta-P
“Inochi no Uta” (Rin ver.) by Travolta-P
“Inochi no Uta” (Len ver.) by Travolta-P
“The secret garden” by Hata Aki and Kousaki Satoru
“Loveliest Koushinchuu?” by Hata Aki and Kousaki Satoru
“Biroudou Arabesque” by Hata Aki and Kousaki Satoru
“Dear cocoa girl” by Hata Aki and Kousaki Satoru
“Hatsune Miku no Shoushitsu -DEAD END-” by cosMo@BousouP
“Sakura no Ame” by absorb
“IevanPolkka” by Otomania
“Miku Miku ni shite ageru♪ [Shiteyan yo]” by ika
“Anata no Utahime” by azuma
“Miku Miku-kin ni Gochuui♪ by Hayaya
“Hato” by Hatano-P
“Electric Angel” by Yasuo
“moon” by iroha (sasaki)
“Kogane no Seiya Sousetsu ni Kuchite” by Deadball-P
“starise” by Yodare-P
“Love it” -Radio Edit- by CleanTears
“Kikoete Imasuka…” by G@POPO
“Shooting Star Prologue” (Short Edition) by Sososo-P
“Setsuna” by shiki2
“Yuugure Nostalgic” -remix- by Guri@guriplus
“Oshiete!! Mahou no Lyric” (short version) by TakeponG@Chomu-P



I'm quite looking forward to some of the other surprises I know I have waiting for me. Maybe some hidden songs? Maybe some costumes we've never seen before? Whatever it may be I'm rather excited.

I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the UMD. Currently I'm only able to play the first half of the song list as the second half lags to the point of being unplayable.

I've a few more screenshots to share to finish this off:




30 comments:

Lelouch said...

Lelouch (dc.com) here.
Tried sonynp9660 with default to 333 clock speeds but still the same result. I'm having lag problems when more notes appear or sometimes just out of the blue although it very very very frequent.

Anonymous said...

The second menu item is module convert, not combat. I'm having a blast playing too and the difficulty goes up to 7 stars it seems.

ClearTranquil said...

@ Lelouch: I can suggest now to try converting it from a CSO to an ISO if that's what you have.

@ Anon: Thanks for the tips there. Noted above.

flawlessexa said...

The game looks great. Really should get a PSP. Any pointers?

lastra said...

@ Lelouch Maybe it's the CFW you have because I'm using 5.50 Gen-A
and the game plays perfect for me but it's probably because I have a slim (extra RAM)
Anyway the game is addicting but my thumb started hurting after awhile. x_x

Anonymous said...

Hi just wanted to ask if you can manage to import any of your own songs for the edit game mode, because mine can't. it keeps saying my mp3 file can't be played X_X

lastra said...

@ Anonymous: I was able to upload my mp3s try converting them to aac or reconverting them to mp3.

Anonymous said...

@lastra: I tried doing what you suggested but i still have the same problem...my friend has the same problem too X_X

Anonymous said...

The game uses 333mhz already, so using the uncompressed ISO, the np9660 driver and the 5.00-6 M33 CFW (with Memory Stick Speedup activated in the recovery, the GEN-A doesnt have this option) the game runs with no lag.

Anonymous said...

If you guys would like to see some gameplay videos, I have been broadcasting it over justin.tv the past few days. http://www.justin.tv/raza3247/all?kind=all&filter=all&order=most_recent

Rin said...

It's a good game so far...
I do agree it's a bit laggy too...
The only problem I have with this game is editing song mode where you import songs from your own music folder...
It just doesn't sync the songs well...
Overall, the game is still good!!!
I love it!!!

Anonymous said...

The seven star song is Hatsune Miku no Shoushitsu -DEAD END- on hard mode.

It isn't actually that difficult, except for the fact that your thumb has to move rather fast...

I got my hard copy on June 29th... rather early for a game...

ClearTranquil said...

I've updated the original post to address me identifying the lag issue.

@ raza3247: Videos are pretty good quality. A good demonstration for people unfamiliar with the game.

@ mp3 issues: I have not yet tried to create my own note-track. However, I have had no problem loading MP3s and at least trying them out in the song customization menu as well as Miku's room. I've no idea what your problem could be.

レイ said...

Raza3247 here, kind of. My Justin.tv account name is reiken87 but I share the broadcast of Raza3247 with friends. Thanks for the comment on the quality of the video, it would be higher if my internet was better haha

レイ said...

ClearTranquil, did the silver psp come out before the ceramic white? I ran Project Diva on a ceramic white PSP-1000, as long as im not connected to my PC the game runs fine, but if i hook it up to start up a broadcast, it begins to lag a little.

ClearTranquil said...

No, the silver one came out at the same time as the pink, blue, and golden PSP-1000s. All having TA-86 motherboards. The ceramic white is definitely older probably having a TA-82 (or 84 maybe?). It's an easy check if you have a pandora battery.

レイ said...

Ahh, I see. That's weird though, a newer model shouldn't have a problem... would it? I hope the lag clears for you, how bad it the frame rate drop?

LEon said...

Wow this game can import songs? I wonder how it would be if I import some MJ songs. Interesting. :D

Anonymous said...

Is there any sign of DLC menus and is there a builtin way to record/publish videos?

I guess at 40k per arrangement it wouldn't be hard to upload to SEGA's servers for it to be converted to video, potentially at higher than PSP resolution too.

kikenshisou said...

I was having problems with using the in-game screen cap and mp3 import also. Appears that upgrading my CFW to 5.00M33-6 solves it. =)

Anonymous said...

...yaranaika? 8)

MikuFanNeedsHelp said...

I've heard from a site you can use some programs to hack into the game and convert all the japanese writing into English. The process is fairely easy, but it requires for me to find an ISO of Project DIVA.

My problem is, I can't find an ISO download of Project DIVA because when I go to a site with it I need to have a membership (which I don't really want to do).

Where can I get a free download of an ISO?

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