Release Date: 8/27/2013 (PS3), 3/4/2014 (Vita)
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Vocaloid may not ring a bell to anyone outside of Japanophiles in the West. In Japan, Vocaloid is a major success with dozens of albums and countless collaborations with various Japanese music artists. This is the first Project Diva game that has made it to the Western shores. Project Diva has a unique rhythm-based gameplay structure that is both tough as nails and addictive. Don’t let the cute “girly” visuals fool you. This game is for everyone who loves music or rhythm games.
Icons flash across the screen in different patterns and you must press the corresponding face button. Arrows also require you to press the D-pad direction plus the color of that button. New in F are scratch stars which also goes into the technical zone segments which are mandatory for getting higher grades at the end of songs. New on Vita is the ability to use the touchscreen or rear touchpad to scratch these stars. This is so much easier than using the right thumbstick on the PS3. Technical Zones are areas where you have to hit every note perfectly to get a huge boost in your score bar. Notes rank from Cool, which is perfect, to Awful which is a complete miss. Cool and Great scores will build up your multiplier. Safe or lower will drop it. Each song has two technical zones with a chance zone near the end. New in F is the ability to build up a large star meter in your chance zone to unleash a mega scratch star to play an extra segment at the end. You must hit all of these to even get close to an Excellent or Perfect score.
These scores will unlock new items to buy in the shop which is the other half of Project Diva F. You can outfit your Diva’s room with new tables, chairs, decor, computers, etc. You can also unlock new costume pieces for your character. There are plenty of items to unlock so you will be kept busy doing this long after unlocking all 30+ songs. The Vita features a new edit mode for making your own music videos or editing already made videos and sharing them online. Project Diva F has a lot of content and will keep you coming back for higher scores or just to play your favorite songs.
When it comes to song selections, these aren’t as great or memorable as the PSP Project Diva games, but some songs are fantastic and memorable while others or pretty lame. It’s a mixed bag and everyone will have different favorites, but there are enough songs to please everyone who plays this game. The graphics are a step up from the PSP games but I feel they could have been a bit better on Vita. The textures look a bit muddy on Vita, but overall the graphical style is very unique and spot-on when it comes to Vocaloid. I would have liked to have seen at least one pre-rendered video per song, but everything is performed in real-time.
As it is, Project Diva F is a fantastic game and the best rhythm game on Vita. If you love your J-Pop or want to venture out into something new then take this game for a spin. Just be warned, the songs are all sung in Japanese and the lyrics are in Japanese as well. Don’t bet on any localization because it wouldn’t be Vocaloid or Miku if it was.