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Review

Review: Hatsune Miku – Project DIVA Future Tone

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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.

Conclusion

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
Sys­tem: PS4
Pri­ce: free, “Future Sound” & “Color­ful Tone” €30 each; €55 bund­led; Encore Packs €10 each (not part of the review) (PSN)
Deve­lo­per: SEGA
Publisher: SEGA

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.

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