In addition to 6 new songs, 14 new modules and 20 new accessories (they're listed below in the DLC section) there's a few other changes to the game. The main one is that since there's no touchpad, Scratch Notes are now Flip Notes and are performed by moving the analogue stick (if you really want to stick to touch pad controls, one of Hori's official controllers for the game has a mini-pad for you to touch). If you like, there's a free Help item that moves Flip Notes to the shoulder buttons, though it'll still display a Help icon if you clear the song this way. Also, the AR features have been replaced- photography's gone in favour of a Photo Studio mode, allowing you to take a picture of a character against a backdrop (including pictures/photos of your own) and AR performance is changed to a Live Stage mode where you get to watch the AR performance songs on a stage modelled on the arena for Project DIVA f's launch concert, DAIBA de DIVA and you can fiddle with the camera. For those with the right TV, you can view the PVs in 3D so you can watch the Vocaloids escape the confines of your TV and no stop don't do it don't set them free! As for options, you can now alter the volume levels for music and sound effects individually in-game rather than from the options menu, and you can also change lag settings in case your TV's not playing nicely with the game. Finally, the DLC packs from the Vita game... Are still DLC. You'll have to pay to get your Haku on, yo.
Anything else? One moan from me- the game's PVs still run in 30fps, which is a shame as I'd much rather see 'em in silky-smooth 60fps, but at the very least, on a HD set-up the game looks great- absolutely crystal-clear, with none of the 'bloom' present in the Vita game. The assets themselves aren't improved- the only way to test this was to play the same song at once on both versions and compare, and I couldn't see any improvements (why yes, I am insane, what makes you ask?)- but it still looks good on the big screen. The analogue sticks also serve an adequate replacement for the touch screen, although it's very easy to flick the stick a bit too hard and have it register two hits rather than one, and they feel a wee bit less satisfying than the touch screen... But that's just personal preference, I suspect. Finally, it would appear that the weird 'stuttering' that happened in busier songs in the Vita version has mostly gone (the easiest way to tell is Sweet Devil- the Vita version has a fair bit of stuttering in the opening note barrage, but that seems to have gone for the PS3 version).
It's a perfectly fine version of the game, and by that I mean it's basically a straight port with extra content added- the PS3 one was developed near the end of the Vita game's dev cycle- so don't expect any improved graphics (beyond the lack of that bloom) or substantially modified game mechanics.
As 2013 was the year of Out-of-Left-Field Localisations (see also: Project X-Zone, Bravely Default), Project DIVA got to be one of them, although only one made it to 2013 itself. The order of release was reversed this time- first, the localised PS3 version was released on disc and digitally in the US on August 27th 2013. PAL-Landers got a much rawer deal- it was digital-only, it was delayed by a week til September 4th (which prompted some backlash, including Shenmue fan backlash for some reason) and had its price jacked up from £31.99 to £36.99 about half a day after it landed. Anyway, several months later the Vita version was released digitally in both territories- 4th March 2014 for America, 12th for Europe- but it's worth noting the ESRB did rate the Vita version at the same time as the PS3 version, it came out later anyway, because...? Importantly, the extra PS3 content is not standard for the US/EU version, but comes at a massively reduced price to compensate. Kinda. Also, the Vita DLC in Europe was delayed by a day (Snow Miku) or two (Extra Characters), because, er...? Anyway, for the most part, this is the same game, but with translations- beyond the obvious (hey, I can finally read the menus and see what the game calls its note butto- wait, what? They're called Melody Icons? I've been living a lie!), the song titles have been translated (with subtitles for song title/producer names added in the PVs) and song lyrics are given in Romanji (Japanese with the English alphabet). Also, only half the DLC- specifically Extra Characters and Snow Miku 2013- made it across the pond.
|Term Category||Japanese||English Localisation|
|Song Title||Left-Behind City||Urbandonment|
|Net Game Addicts Sprechchor||The MMORPG Addicts Anthem|
|Continuation of Dreams||Continuing Dream|
|Note Type||Flip Notes||Stick Notes|
|Technical & Chance||TECHNICAL ZONE COMPLETE||TECHNICAL ZONE COMPLETED|
|TECHNICAL ZONE END||TECHNICAL ZONE OVER|
|CHANCE TIME SUCCESS||CHANCE TIME SUCCESSFUL|
|CHANCE TIME END||CHANCE TIME OVER|
|REST # NOTES||NOTES LEFT: #|
|STAGE CLEAR||STAGE CLEARED|
|NOT CLEAR||NOT CLEARED|
|Game Mode||DIVA Room||Miku Room|
There are some other minor changes, probably the most notable being that the X and O buttons have had their functionality in menus changed around, as per Playstation localisation standards (will this cause you to exit menus you wanted to proceed through? Aw yeah, you know it!). There's also been some very slight changes to graphics/text in certain PVs- specifically World's End Dancehall (Two lines
of text changed), Urbandoment
(Text changed), Summer Idol
(Sign changed), Stay With Me
(Text changed), Remote Control
(Dreamcast swirl on controller and TV changed from red to blue) and The MMORPG Addicts Anthem
(text on right monitor changed, item text translated). Finally, the DLC was handled differently, as the Snow Miku 2013 pack (along with a PS3 theme) was a pre-order bonus for the physical PS3 version at Gamestop in America, and the Teto, Haku and Neru pack was downloadable on release. Europe got the Snow Miku 2013 and Extra Characters packs later- but, well, at least we got them! The Vita DLC was a bit closer to release date, though.
Beyond that... This certainly is an non-iOS Hatsune Miku game released in Western territories, in a mostly unaltered state. Sega didn't so much 'localise' the game (i.e. change it) as just translate it, and I, for one, am quite content with that. Was anyone expecting more? As for why Sega decided to release it in the West, I can't say for certain. Oddly, a demo unit of the game was on the floor at E3 2012 to gauge interest, and there was obviously the game's Facebook campaign... However, Sega passed up localising the XBLA port of Virtua Striker outside of Japan so talking about justification for localisation decisions and Sega in the same sentence is a losing battle.
If you own the Japanese version of either game, you don't have a choice beyond getting a Japanese account- IGN has a guide to switching accounts- and getting money either via a Japanese credit card or these digital cards. If you own the localised version, you've got no such troubles. We'll be going over specific release dates and prices after the content, so stick with us.
The first DLC (all territories, both formats) is a bunch of old friends. For your money, you get three new characters to play with. From left to right above, two were standard characters in previous games- Haku Yowane (the strongest Vocaloid!) and Neru Akita (the grumpiest Vocaloid). They were reduced to DLC for this version because...? However, Haku seems to have been designed to have worried-looking eyebrows throughout every single PV, which is adorable. And hilarious. Hilardorable. The third one, Teto Kasane, an UTAUoid originally created to troll Vocaloid fans, was DLC for 2nd and Extend too, so her reappearance isn't too surprising. All of these characters are listed under EXTRA on the Module Select menu, and while they don't have any extra costumes, you can stick accessories on them and the three of them share a DIVA Room (only one's in there at a time). This means that yes, you can touch Haku, you weirdo. However, they don't have any individual voice samples for the DIVA Room and Teto doesn't talk at all, not even on the song results screen.
The second DLC (Japan-only, both formats) is cross-promotion with Toro and Kuro, Sony's cat mascots for the Playstation brand in Japan. Toro by himself first appeared in Doko Demo Issho for the PS1, then Mainichi Issho for the PS3 introduced Kuro, Toro's neighbour. They get around a lot, having appeared in Street Fighter x Tekken, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale and Everybody's Golf 5... And now, the world of Vocaloid. For your Zenny, you get seven new accessories- Toro and Kuro masks, Toro and Kuro hats (?!), Toro and Kuro backpacks, and a TV with a cat face on it- and a new song to play. Well, it's sort-of new- it's a 'Special Edition' version of PoPiPo from 2nd, with a new PV with Toro and Kuro and totally different note patterns. The song's also shorter than it was, as you only play one verse. I'd use that money to buy Zanac X Zanac instead, honestly (but get the Haku/Neru/Teto pack first, obv.)
The third DLC (all territories, both formats, pre-order bonus in the US) is traditional, it's the Snow Miku 2013 pack. Every year, a new Snow Miku costume is created and gets merchandise made (in particular, Nendoroids) and it usually ends up as DLC for the DIVA games. So here we are. For your cash, you get two new modules for Miku in her Snow Miku 2013 design- one with the hood, one without. That's your lot.
The fourth and fifth DLCs (all territories, Vita only) combine to make the big one for Vita owners. So big, the game was updated to Version 1.01 to accomodate it- it's the extra content from the PS3 version. One, called the Additional Item Pack, is free and has 18 accessories and a bunch of extra junk for the Edit Mode, while the other, Additional Song Pack, is priced differently in the different regions- ¥3000 (!) in Japan and far cheaper elsewhere ($9.99/£6.49/£7.99). Anyway, with both packs combined, and excluding the Edit Mode stuff, you get... Hold on, gotta take a deep breath for this one...
6 new songs
Tell Your World, Tokyo Teddybear, Dream-Eating Monochrome Baku, Sweet Devil, Rin-chan Now! and Senbonzakura
14 new modules
For Miku - Linkage, Honey Whip, Rin-chan Lover Squad No. 1 and Sakura Cherry Blssom No. 1: Ouka
For Rin - Scissors, Sakura Cherry Blossom No. 2: Kochou, Sakura Cherry Blossom No. 2: Kochou AS and Future Style
For Len - Tricker and Sakura Cherry Blossom No. 2: Senbou
For Luka - Rin-chan Lover Squad No. 1 and Sakura Cherry Blossom No. 3: Fuukou
For KAITO - Sakura Cherry Blossom No. 0: Sousetsu
For MEIKO - Sakura Cherry Blossom No. 0: Benitsubaki
20 new accesories
Mini Silk Hat, Chef's Hat, Noble's Headgear, Mikudayo on Head [no - Ed], Mikudayo Headgear [NO - Ed], Sharp Sunglasses, Swimming Goggles, Party Glasses, Clown Nose, Fox Mask, Badge, Name Tag (Green), Name Tag R (Yellow), Name Tag L (Yellow), Name Tag (Pink), Name Tag (Blue), Name Tag (Red), Rucksack with Posters, School Bag with Recorder (Black) and School Bag with Recorder (Red)
4 new AR song performances
Time Machine, Weekender Girl, ODDS&ENDS and 39
Well. Blimey. For what little it's worth, I much prefer the PS3-exclusive songs to most of the standard songs (even the Len one was good). However, the weird stuttering problem the game has is still apparent in these songs, if anything it's worse than normal (especially Sweet Devil on Hard and Extreme). If you have no plans to buy the PS3 version or just like the portability that much... Yeah, grab this DLC, if for nothing else than to use the Mikudayo headgear for as many disturbing screenshots as possible.
The sixth DLC (Japan-only, both formats) is corporate sponsorship. For 200 Yen you get a FamilyMart-san Miku module. This was originally a freebie for those who pre-ordered the PS3 version of the game at FamilyMart, a Japanese convenience store chain that used Miku as part of an ad campaign (is that Miku's Project DIVA model being used there?). See, they have naff pre-order bonuses worldwide. Anyway, if you missed it then, you can just buy it now.
|PS VITA VERSION||JP Release Date||JP Price||US Release Date||US Price||EU Release Date||EU Price|
|Extra Characters Pack||06/11/12||¥600||04/03/14||$2.99||14/03/14||£1.99/€2.49|
|Snow Miku Pack||05/02/13||¥300||04/03/14||$2.99||13/03/14||£1.99/€2.49|
|PS3 Content Pack||07/03/13||¥3000||04/03/14||$9.99||12/03/14||£6.49/€7.99|
|Additional Content Pack||07/03/13||Free||04/03/14||Free||12/03/14||Free|
|PS3 VERSION||JP Release Date||JP Price||US Release Date||US Price||EU Release Date||EU Price|
|Extra Characters Pack||03/07/13||¥600||27/08/13||$2.99||02/10/2013||£1.99/€2.49|
|Snow Miku Pack||03/07/13||¥300||08/10/13 P||$1.99||25/09/13||£1.99/€2.49|
|FamilyMart Pack||29/08/13 P||¥200||-||-||-||-|
Finally, there's a mini-game during the credits where, as Hachune Miku, you throw leeks at the staff roll. Buying the arcade machine for the DIVA Room allows you to replay the game, and replaying it a certain number of times unlocks new features like a charge-shot, additional backgrounds, etc. If you watch the credits 33 times, then
please get a better hobby the above message appears, a nod to Space Harrier. Sadly, the extra background this message unlocks is not Moot or Plaleaf (it's an upside-down version of the set for What Do You Mean!?).
Music Girl: Hatsune Miku, developed by WROCK Games, is an app for your iPhone that was released to promote the Japanese release of the Vita game in August 2012- Marza Animation Planet, who worked on animations for the Project DIVA games, were involved. It's essentially a skin for your device's standard music player, with the main difference being limited ways of selecting tracks, and instead of displaying track information and album covers... You get to see Miku jig to the beat. It also doubles as a communication game! She'll do her best to pick up the beat of the music and dance along (only with very slight movements, though- no over-the-top dance numbers for you, sorry) and, as she does, the blue orb in the corner will fill up. Once it's full, you can either touch Miku's hand (no, really) or she'll ask you a multiple-choice question, sometimes trivia and sometimes just small-talk. Depending on your actions here, the pink orb will fill up, and when that one's full she'll give you a present (including wallpapers for your phone and, well, weird junk). You can also buy her new outfits if you really want (with real cash!). It's cute, I guess, and uses Miku's model from the game... But most of your enjoyment will come from the odd questions Miku asks and some of her more bizarre observations. As a music player it's a bit pants, as selecting songs isn't that easy and trying to select specific parts of a song is super-fiddly.
Now, there was an English version, and this is where it gets weird. The English version was released in August 2013, just about a month before Project DIVA F was due to drop onto American/European soil... But it's a straight translation of the Japanese version. Miku and the app repeatedly refer to the Japanese release date of the Vita game (and also a DVD of a live Miku concert), and not the international release! I'd say this was a missed opportunity for a bit of promotion for the game... Except while the Japanese version was free, the English version is £2.50 right out of the gate. You do get an extra costume to compensate, though. If that's any consolation to you.
As this one was localised, we get to talk about three rating systems, whee! Let's start in Japan, with their CERO system- it's a bit like a mix of the American ESRB (letter ratings instead of specific ages) and European PEGI (uses symbols to denote content) systems, it goes from A-D and then Z. Up until this point, every game in the Project DIVA series received a B (12+) rating with a 'sexual content' advisory label (Project mirai only got an A, for reference) but somehow Project DIVA f (and F, obv) got a C (15+). Again, it also gets a 'sexual content' label like the previous games.
Why's that, then? Unfortunately CERO doesn't offer more in-depth explanations of their ratings, so we must wildly speculate instead. At first I idly considered it could be the PV for E? Aa Sou. as the opening segment is, to put it mildly, a wee bit suggestive. Certainly a step above the likes of Kocchi Miute Baby from 2nd. There's also the actual lyrics of the song which I'll let speak for themselves, although whether that alone would be enough to bump the rating up, I dunno. The Vocaloid Wiki has a different theory- in their words, 'little nudity'. They give an example as wearing MEIKO's Blue Crystal module (the one where her chest's covered by just two belt- classy!) in Nostalogic. When I checked, it wasn't exactly nudity per se but combining that PV with that costume is the easiest way to spot that the game has jiggle physics, which I'm certain weren't in 2nd (and no, I'm not going back to check). That's all I can come up with for this one.
Next, America! Both on the PS3 and Vita, the ESRB rated the game Teen (13+) with the descriptors 'mild violence', 'mild lyrics' and 'suggestive themes'. Their rating summary goes into slightly more detail, citing MEIKO's Crystal Blue costume (aha!), a silhouetted character getting stabbed with a sewing needle (That'd be Tokyo Teddybear, then) and song lyrics, even though they're not actually translated... But generally this is what you'd expect- slightly revealing skirts/tops, provocative dancing, etc.
Luckily, Europe came up to bat for this one in the wild speculation stakes. Gets a bit weird now. Initially it looked like it was going to follow suit with the rest of the world, as the PS3 demo was given a PEGI rating of 12, with a symbol warning of 'sexual content'. Yep, pretty normal so far... Except when the game was finally released, it had its rating reduced to a 3 with no warning symbols at all. The same is true on Sega UK's product page and the official PEGI site, which adds further mystery to proceedings as it notes the game's release date as 20th September rather than its actual release date of the 7th. Curiouser still, Twitter user @GRSonic (who has been mentioned on this page twice now) noticed that the game is set to Parental Lock Level 3, the equivalent of a 7 rating. Finally, the Vita version stuck with its 3 rating from the off. What's the crack here, then? Anyone willing to hazard a guess, a postcard to the usual address, if you please.