Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone is an arcade rhythm game originally released in Japan on June 23, 2016 and has been released been brought over the west on January 10, 2017.

Throughout the majority of the franchises lifetime, the Project Diva games were only available in Japanese arcades, though throughout its evolution it made its way onto handheld systems including the Playstation Portable, Nintendo 3DS and the Playstation Vita. Now the most recent iteration of the franchise has made its way onto the big screens, available on the Playstation 4 and it’s absolutely stunning to watch.

For those that are uninitiated or uninterested in Japanese culture, Hatsune Miku is actually a persona voiced by singing synthesizer app developed by Crypton Future Media. Miku is the main star of Crypton’s Vocaloid software which allows artists to generate their own music, using her “voice”.

This software has generated millions of hits on YouTube, and sold albums worldwide. Seriously, go do a YouTube search; I’ll wait. They’re incredibly catchy. My personal favourites include, “World is Mine”, “Love is War” and “Black Rock Shooter”.

Did I mention that there are actual live concerts in Japan feature Hatsune Miku? The band is live, but Miku is a Hologram playing in the center of the stage and thousands of people flock to these events, all waving glow stick leeks – it’s incredible.

As the popularity of Vocaloid increased, so did the cast. New characters have been generated, all who have their own voice and style. Many of the characters are featured within this title, from the energetic Lin & Ren Kagamine, to the elegant and fabulous Kaito, to many, many more.

The game has been released in an interesting way, in the sense that it comes in three parts. The base version of the game, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone Prelude is a free digital download, and this comes with two songs and plenty of costumes to customize your cast of characters, acting like a demo of sorts.

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA – Colorful Tone features a collection of 100 songs from previous games including Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Arcade and Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX. This pack costs £24.99 on the PSN EU Store.

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA – Future Sound features a collection of 120 from previous games including Hatsune Miku: Project Diva, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA 2nd, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Extend, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F and finally Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F2nd. This pack costs £24.99 on the PSN EU Store.

Both of the packs mentioned above include a huge collection of customization items totaling over 340 unique outfits and if you purchase both expansions you gain access to Survival Courses and Hairstyle Customization.

If you’re after the full Project DIVA Future Tone experience, the game and all of it’s DLC  can be purchased for £44.99 on the PSN EU Store.

For the Trophy hunters out there, the base game and each piece of DLC presents you with a new list of trophies. While they aren’t very imaginative, they include dressing your character up in themed outfits, completing songs and taking part of practice sessions. Note however that for you Platinum-junkies, there is no Platinum Trophy!

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone follows the trend set by other rhythm games, there are notes which are mapped to your controller buttons which float around the screen and need to be pressed at the right time will allow the music to continue playing. To mix up the gameplay and to kinetically portray the songs rhythm, there are different inputs which you need to master; these can include holding down specific buttons.

The catch with this game is that if you can’t keep up with the beats, you lose health and if your health reaches 0 then the song ends. On top of this, if you actually miss a note then the song itself won’t actually play for that beat; while this has been in rhythm games since their conception, it’s still an interesting mechanic to see here. It forces your hand, making you want to master your favorite songs.

While mastering all 238 songs has it’s benefit, as well as making you a complete god, this is also how you level up and earn currency to customize your experience, with some of the game’s hardest songs being The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku, Denparadaimu and The Impressive Voice of Hatsune Miku being just some of the most difficult contenders, reaching near-impossible feats upon the Extra-Extreme (EX-Extreme) difficulties. The game does feature a vast number of customization options, and you can dress your characters up how you want depending on your taste. If you’re mesmerized by the sheer amount of customization, don’t worry. The game has recommended outfits for each song.

The game also natively runs at 1080p, at a constant 60fps, leading to some fairly amazing looking music videos and scenes, especially when playing on a big TV screen or HD monitor!

Final Thoughts

Hatsune Miku and Vocaloid has always been one of my secret obsessions and this is especially true when it comes to the these rhythm games. In the past I have imported the older titles when I owned my PSP and have purchased the more recent titles on the PSVita, this is the most action that my Sony portables have had!

My obsession has moved from the small screen onto the big screen, each music video is beautifully portrayed but at the same time incredibly distracting. I’m sure that the developers are aware of this and that’s why they have implemented a “Watch” mode where you are able to watch the music video itself instead of actually, well play them.

While the music in this game is catchy and a wonder to listen to, the songs themselves don’t necessarily mean to be – in some cases the lyrics can be quite dark and meaningful. Unfortunately this is one of the few games in the franchise to not include translated lyrics via subtitles. The game only presents you with Romanji. Admittedly it only takes a quick Google search to find the meaning behind some of the songs, but it would have been nice to have this included within the base game.

Overall I would rate Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone an 8/10. I would recommend this to people who love Vocaloid and Music games but if that’s not your taste, I wouldn’t suggest you rush out to buy this.

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone is released on PlayStation 4 in the west on January 10, 2017.