With 224 songs spread out across to separate game releases and a demo, the biggest problem Project Diva Future Tone for the PlayStation 4 presents to fans of Japanese virtual idol Hatsune Miku is where to start.
Released in Japan in late June, Project Diva Future Tone is a console port of Project Diva Arcade Future Tone, which is a machine in Japan that delivers dancing, singing Hatsune Miku to fans on demand. It combines music from the arcade game series, the PlayStation's Project Diva series and Project Mirai for the 3DS into one massive pile of rhythm game goodness.
Or at least two piles you can smush together into one big one. The game is available in Japan as two different releases, Future Sound and Colourful Tone, each containing a huge selection of music and even more modules (costumes) for the game's various characters.
With no announced release and me being a massive fan of music created by everyone and performed by no one, I went ahead and purchased the games through the PlayStation Store via my Japanese account. This involved purchasing a 10,000 Yen card from Play-Asian, entering the core, making the purchases and then sitting and staring the progress bar for an hour or two.
I have never been more joyously overwhelmed.
Two hundred and twenty-four songs, with no particular order to play them in. I scrolled through that list for 15 minutes, marking favourites and songs I'd not heard that I was curious about alike. Then I hopped into the module section to check out the various costume options available to purchase with points earned through play.
Just a very, very small snippet of what's available.
OK. Songs to play, things to unlock for playing them. That's all I really wanted.
The gameplay differs slightly from that offered in the Project Diva games, mixing up the circles and Xs with directional keys. The four d-pad buttons and four face buttons are basically interchangeable — X and down are the same, circle and right are the same — giving players some flexibility when it comes to navigating the game's rhythm section. Slides are performed with shoulder buttons. Holds are not timed, challenging players to earn more points by prolonging them as long as possible. It's a flexible challenge. I can dig it. It all comes together quite nicely, though eventually I am going to have to spring for one of these from Hori:
Enough talk. Those of you who are really into Hatsune Miku games have either found a way to get Project Diva Future Tone or are desperately hoping for Sega to announce a Western release. In case the rest of you are curious, here's a video of me playing a bit and talking, which is always fun when playing a timing-sensitive rhythm game.