Project DiVA X is currently available on PS4 and PS Vita. This review is for the PS4 version only.
Learning my lesson from the last Project DiVA game, I decided to take extra time off, just to play through the entire game and see how many unlockables I could discover before doing a full review. I'll be going over everything from DLC to songs, so stick around, this will be a long review.
Now before I go any further, I'd like to address the fan complaints. Please look below:
You "can" Spend $12.99 to unlock all of the in-game costumes, and another $7.99 for all of the extra in-game accessories, but you don't have to. Playing through the game naturally will SOMETIMES let you unlock all 300+ original models. I say sometimes because the game has a nasty habit of "rewarding you" with the same content you already unlocked. It's up to you, just know that the option is there.
The other DLC is true DLC. Songs and costumes for Miku not found in the game on normal gameplay. One of the packs lets you add the "Fanloids" Neru Akita, Haku Yowane and 16 year old MEiKO Sakine, who fans created when 25 year old MEiKO was deemed "too old" to be sexy. Oh yeah. There's some closet Pedobears out there. The pack also adds UTAUloid Teto Kasane. Another option lets you add Mikudaiyo, though the add-on characters do not have voices. A little odd when you consider that Neru, Mikudaiyo and Haku are all derived from Miku's first voicebank and Sakine comes from MEiKO, but I guess they were pressed for time.
There is a free demo that allows you to unlock a few costumes, but there's been issues with transferring data from the demo to the paid game. One transfer that does work is the data between the Vita and PS4 copies, but that's another story.
As you play along, the other Vocaloids (Rin, Len, Luka, MEiKO and KAiTO) start to warm up to you, and you have to build a relationship with each one. You do this by trying to give them the right gifts. This is challenging. Half of the gifts you can probably figure out by yourself if you Google which colors and items are usually ascribed to the characters by fans. (Hint: KAiTO ♥'s ice cream.) But so many of the gifts are random. There are kitchen appliances, extra musical instruments, plants and a wide range of other items not normally ascribed to the characters, and it's trial and error. Give them the wrong item and they'll act like "Oh... eww.. um... thanks?" which I promise will make you gnash your teeth. But give them the right items and your relationship improves. Their hearts will level up a little, with Level 10 being the ultimate level. It's almost like a dating sim, which considering the ages of Rin, Miku and Len, makes the player a creeper in this way.
You will have two missions where your relationship with them is useful. One is the main game of filling up the clouds, but the other is in side events, where you will be asked to set up concert set lists or re-play songs but with a few options for changing the set or costumes.
I'm guessing this is why SEGA ditched most of the "usual" Project DiVA songs from the set list. See, in previous installments, the songs would openly talk about things like dying young, suicide, murder, thoughts of murder and illicit sex. There's still a twinge of that here, but not to a huge degree. Just like in the 3DS's Project Mirai DX, you can feel they were honestly trying to reach out to more US players, specifically the 13+ demographic. Or maybe someone complained. Anyway, here's every song you can expect to play through:
Ievan Polkka: A personal favorite, it's a 1930's Finnish song sung by Miku in the tutorial. Sadly, you can't play this song anywhere else in the game, but Hachune Miku's tutorial can be played any time on the sub menu by flicking the L3 stick left.
The First Sound: This is a song from Miku to you. She explains that she can't speak normally, so she has to sing whatever is on her mind, but that she wants to share with the world your sound, and play for you your first sound. This establishes the connection between human and Vocaloid.
Love Song: Another Miku-to-you song. The writer claims it was a song about how he felt using Miku V3 for the first time. It's basically Miku being in love with you and wanting to make you smile via song. Hey did I mention? Miku is 16 years old!
Satisfaction: This Miku song seems to be about how you need to keep moving forward in life.
Name of the Sin: This isn't a song about any sin at all. It's a ballad about a girl (Miku) who was cursed at birth by the goddess of fate to seem ugly and monstrous to humans, but then she wishes for a friend, and a blind boy helps her see she's been perfectly beautiful all along, breaking the spell.
Sea Lily Deep Sea Tale: A deceptively happy sounding song where Miku has a nightmare about drowning, abandonment and about being killed. WTF??
LOL Lots of Laugh: This is a song about Miku falling asleep on her laptop and dreaming that her plush rabbit takes her to a candy land.
Even a Kunoichi Needs Love: A Miku and Rin duet about a 15 year old ninja girl in training who has a crush on a boy at the festival and wants to go out with him, but is being weighed down by her parents and teachers' rules.
Patchwork Staccato: This is probably the sweetest sounding breakup song I've ever heard. Miku asks you to stop existing. Like litterally. But she sounds so sweet that she could tell you to go to Hell and have you look forward to the trip.
Love Trial: In this song, Miku is trying to sweet talk her way out of you dumping her after she's done something unforgivable. The jury is out on whether or not this is a song about post-infidelity guilt, but the verdict seems to favor marriage as her sentence.... wait hah?
Strangers: Miku sings about being in a new town and not making any friends until you come along and show her she's not alone after all.
Raspberry＊Monster: A somewhat nonsensical song about Miku having a crap morning and then flipping the middle finger and retreating to the world of imagination.
The Lost One's Weeping: If ever there was a song to illustrate teen angst, it's this one. Rin sings from the perspective of a boy who is fed up with the modern educational system and with adults' indifference when a kid turns towards the dark side or is suicidal.
Calc: Another deceptively happier sounding song about Miku dealing with depression after a breakup, and her views on meeting again in another life.
Solitary Envy: This song has two meanings. One way to interpret it is to see it as a song about a lonely girl who wants friends, but if you watch the original video on YouTube, it's about a girl dealing with her parents breaking up, them seeing other people, the potential of them having other children, and finally ends with the girl getting hurt and it bringing her family back together again. Either way, you just want to hug Miku after hearing it. If you've ever felt forgotten or lonely, this will become a quick favorite.
Brain Revolution Girl: My best guess is that Miku is telling off a member of Anonymous or that she's breaking up with you? Either way, the person she sings to is asked to cease existing again.
Holy Lance Explosion Boy: I'm not going to mince words here. This is a song about Len impregnating you and having an intimate relationship with you. He's 14. Make it stop!!
A Single Red Leaf: Originally supposed to be another Miku song, this Luka song is about a woman who doesn't realize how much she loves her man until he dies in war. Why is this her only solo??
Amazing Dolce: A more comical song by MEiKO, Rin and Len. In it, MEiKO plays a witch who is trying to make really awesome treats, but is a lousy cook. Rin and Len are a non-witch-killing Hansel and Gretel who try to help, but the result is still awful.
Ai Dee: Another personal favorite, this upbeat dance track has Luka and Miku reminding you to be yourself and to keep going.
Slow Motion: In this song, Miku has a fever, and is in a "screw everybody" mood as she recalls mishaps in her life. And I'm not joking, she has DRUGS in her hair and all over her room while she sings this. What the hell, Miku??
Streaming Heart: This is a song about Miku leaving a physically abusive relationship. While some of the lyrics are slightly vague, and some people actually believe she's singing from the male perspective, the ending is pretty clear. She gets away before it gets worse. And again, it sounds deceptively happy. What the hell are we doing here, guys??
Humorous Dream of Mrs. Pumpkin: This is a silly Halloween song about "Jack's wife" who gets drunk at a Halloween party.
Babylon: I'm sure the ESRB just LOVED this one. Drunk nuns, gambling, drugs, failed suicide attempts and street fighting are all mentioned in this Miku hit. Is anybody else starting to worry about her?
Urotander, Underhanded Rangers: A personal favorite, KAiTO, MEiKO and Miku spoof of Power Rangers/Super Sentai accuses the multi-colored heroes of being underhanded and tactless.
Hand in Hand: A DLC song where Miku can't really tell if the song she's singing is for you or not. It's like a breakup song with undertones of death and rebirth. And deceptively happy.
Sharing your World: Another DLC song and the only one in English. It's a shame this used the V3 Miku when her V4X is less whiny. Still it's a happy song about Miku's love for you.
There are also about six "medleys" were we get 30 second snippets of beloved Vocaloid hits, but I'm not going to touch on that. The downside is how short this playlist is. You will be wanting more. Also, you can't change out the singers the way you could for select tracks in Project Mirai DX.
So if you see anybody uploading a video of (let's say) Babylon, but you hear Luka's voice instead of Miku, and the uploader swears it's from this game, he's lying. You can have Luka, MEiKO, KAiTO, Rin or Len dance and mouth the words to the song in place of Miku, but it's still Miku's voice in the game. You can't hack a different version of the song into the game either.
That's the only thing I don't like. We get all these models for Rin, Len, Luka, KAiTO and MEiKO, but these characters hardly ever get to use them. I get the impression the decision to omit their songs must have come VERY late into production, as SEGA sloppily left in dialogue for all of the characters where they practically beg you: "PLEASE let me sing using this outfit!!" and really, you can't, because there is no music for them.
There is a mode where you can edit your own concert by adjusting the costumes and camera angles for one of the performances, but again, the sound will stay the same. Still, if you plan on making a video using these models so you can add your own track later, it's a good tutorial into editing, especially if you're not yet a master of MikuMikuDance.
Between filling the cloud, you will also get to perform certain events/concerts with the Vocaloids. Some have pre-set songs while others will let you play around with the stage and difficulty. Luka's events are always extremely hard. The harder levels are frustrating, but the rewards come in the form of new outfits and accessories.
And you will want them.
For each cloud, you'll need certain costumes and accessories to bring out the best "aura". The higher the aura, the more points you earn and the faster you can beat the stage. Your progress for each song is tracked in Voltage points. You need to clear a set number to advance the story, and even more to fill up the clouds. After you beat the game, you can play the clouds again to earn more crystals and unlock more events.
The longer you play, the more you unlock. Eventually, you can unlock little movies and artwork you can share. Speaking of sharing, the "Share" button on the PS4 controller is very useful if you plan on sharing screencaps via Twitter.
There is also a photo studio, where you take pictures of the models in various poses. The longer you play, the more backgrounds you unlock for this mode, and yes, Christmas backgrounds are included, in case you need to make an e-card on the fly.
Despite the song list being short, Project DiVA X serves as a good introduction to the franchise for the PS4. If you missed out on previous installments and have a love for Miku Hatsune, give this title a shot, and share your screencaps to @CodenameSailorE on Twitter!