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Coming not long after the disappointing release of Project DIVA X last year, Project DIVA: Future Tone is a return to form for the series. Offering the biggest track list yet, and no added gimmicks to get in the way, Future Tone more than makes up for X’s missteps and should please even the newest of Hatsune Miku fans.
Released in 2013, Project DIVA Arcade:Future Tone was a tougher, more focused rhythm game than it’s console brethren. Without any DIVA room mode or other distractions, players could focus on the rhythm gameplay that makes the series so great. Thankfully Project DIVA Future Tone doesn’t change this at all, with little being in the way of enjoying the core gameplay. Future Tone acts as a ‘best of’ for the series, bringing in over 200 songs from previous entries and giving them a new lease of life. Most fan favourites are included, and a lot will be new to Western fans.
Future Tone is split into three parts. Prelude which offers a few songs for free and acts as the base for the other two song packs, Colourful Tone and Future Sound. Colourful Tone mainly features songs from the Project Mirai series, while Future Sound is more familiar Project Diva songs. Combining them all together gives you an incredibly large amount of variety in composers and genres.
With so many songs to choose from, Future Tone thankfully has a few different ways to search through them; from alphabetically to the Vocaloid that features in the song. More importantly, with a press of the touchpad songs can be favourited. This allows you to search though a smaller list of your chosen songs. While more search options would have been nice, what’s there is serviceable.
Gameplay is largely the same as earlier Project DIVA games, with familiar looking notes and the general UI that hasn’t changed much over the years. There are however a few new additions to the usual formula that spice things up a little. Gone are the star notes from the Project Diva F and X games. Instead, slide notes are introduced that require you to tap or hold the shoulder buttons for a certain amount of time.
Future Tone also removes the usual arrow notes, which before now required both a face button and the corresponding dpad direction to be pressed. Their replacements are notes that require up to 4 simultaneous button presses, which can be difficult to follow during some of the harder songs.
On the subject of difficulty, Future Tone features the hardest note patterns in series history, thanks to its arcade origins. Extreme mode has always been a challenge previously, but in Future Tone it’s ramped up to 11. Even series veterans will quickly find themselves failing songs that they could easily clear in earlier entries. This difficulty is what keeps you coming back for more, and the included practice mode ensures that with enough time you should be able to make progress. For those that want to challenge themselves even further, the sadistic Ex-Extreme difficulty mode should have them covered.
On the customisation side of things, the random unlocks from Project Diva X are thankfully not present. The series has returned to unlocks that use currency earned from completing songs. As with the track list, the modules and accessories present have been taken from various games in the series and its spin-offs. Modules can be purchased at any point, with all of them being unlocked for purchase from the start. The crossover costumes from other SEGA series like Sonic and Valkyria Chronicles also make a welcome reappearance. Unfortunately, there are only a few UI customization options, which is a shame considering how many have been made available previously.
As a PS4 port of an arcade game, Future Tone is for the most part an impressive looking game. Character models use a somewhat different style from what we may be used to but they look great, along with the various backgrounds in each song. Everything is vibrant, and the constant 60fps keeps everything smooth which is important for any rhythm game.
The Project Diva series has existed for many years now, starting on the humble PSP. Seeing older music videos remastered is nice, but the majority of these are starting to show their age. Stiff animations and less interesting stages lack the visual impact that most of the newer songs have. It’s just a minor complaint considering the console that they were originally created for, but it would have been nice for these music videos to receive a complete remake.
Project DIVA: Future Tone is a return to form for the series, boasting it’s largest track list to date and lacking any unnecessary gimmicks to get in the way. This is the perfect entry point for those that have never touched a Project Diva game, and the sheer amount of content present is sure to please long time Hatsune Miku fans. With even more songs being added over the next few months, Future Tone is a game that will take a long time to fully master.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA – Future Tone
Genre: Rhythm Game
Price: free, “Future Sound” & “Colorful Tone” €30 each; €55 bundled; Encore Packs €10 each (not part of the review) (PSN)
BONUS: You’d like to have immediate access to all modules via an Unlock Key in value of €12.99? Just leave a comment below and we choose the random winner of this EU PS4 code.
This game was provided by the publisher for review purposes, check our review policy for details. The screenshots were taken by us directly on PS4.