Hatsune Miku has been a cornerstone in the rhythm game genre and electronic music for God knows how long. And with every release, there have been subtle advancements in both aesthetic and depth. Project Diva X is no different.
In the Project Diva series specifically, we’ve seen the advancement of the swipe mechanic between the first and second game, adding a dynamic to the game that was previously unobtainable by only using face buttons.
In Project Diva X, one of my most anticipated games of the year, they’ve opted to add, what they’ve described as a robust story mode, new uses and ways to unlock items and modules, and the “rush” mechanic to add to the already nuanced gameplay.
Unfortunately, when I played Project Diva X at E3, I wasn’t able to see any of the new story aspects of the game but I was able to play a short song and test out the new rush mechanic and well, I wasn’t a huge fan of it.
The rush mechanic isn’t something that revolutionizes the rhythm game genre, it’s something that we’ve seen before in different games. It is, however, something that was missing but not missed from previous Project Diva games. If you’re unfamiliar, when ‘rush’ is active in Project Diva, the player must mash a specific face button as many time as possible.
Nothing crazy right? So why do I have such a problem with it?
There are two thoughts that come to my mind. Firstly, the mechanic doesn’t add any serious depth to the way you approach the game, instead it ends up simply feeling forced. It’s place in songs is generally interchangeable with the long presses that we’ve become accustomed to.
Secondly, it signifies a deeper flaw by which SEGA is choosing to approach the next Project Diva iteration.
After Project Diva F2 met review headlines like “More Of The Same,” it seems as though the developers are trying to exaggerate how different Project Diva X can be, through their changing of item/module philosophy, addition of a story mode and forced gameplay mechanics like rush.
My issue with this becomes the fact that they run the risk of ruining a formula that they’ve already perfected. Project Diva is a fantastic series, despite it’s samey-ness. It doesn’t need to have a grand change in each of it’s iterations; It’s not Call of Duty.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X launches on August 30, 2016 for PS4 and PSVita in North America. Stay tuned for my inevitable review, and heed my prayers that I am not disappointed with one of my favorite series.