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Friday, April 7, 2017

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA 2nd (初音ミク -Project DIVA- 2nd)

So as I write this blog post, I guess Dingo Inc. recently went belly up, which is really unfortunate because I really dug their lineup. Fortunately, none of the games they worked on were published by them so there should be no issues with availability of their catalog. Still, it's unfortunate to see another cool shop go down while stupid ass DeNA is chugging away with their diarrhea bullshit. Gamers these days...

I gotta keep this recurring theme going, ya know
Anyways, with a drink to our fallen comrade, let's dig into Project DIVA 2nd. To quickly sum up DIVA 2nd (and yes I'm going to keep using CAPS because that's the official title), it's basically what I feel like the first game should've been and pretty much renders the previous game completely unnecessary to own. I'm still keeping it though cause collectors...

Man, I bet his girlfriend is feeling soooo lucky...
First of all, they added an auto-save feature. Jesus, I can't believe they didn't have that in the first game. Not only that, DIVA 2nd also has ALL the modules from the first game and pretty much every song except for a few I really didn't care about anyway. On top of that, they enhanced the gameplay with the standard elements you expect in a Diva game, namely long button holds and the W double key press. In addition, the left directional pad is now interchangeable with the right keys allowing you to press all 8 keys alternately as you see fit. Pretty much the basics of all the newer Diva games. Finally, there's a harder difficulty mode EXTREME that the first game did not have.

Finally, a real rhythm game.
So not only do you get most of the songs from the first game but you get those songs with better gameplay and a new difficulty setting. On top of that, of course you have EVEN MORE modules and a smattering of songs completely new to 2nd. Also, for songs that feature 2 characters, you now have a way to choose the second character as well. You want to play a Rin and Len song with Haku and Luka? Go for it! They also added a few more key sounds instead of just the standard tambourine-ish sound. I always turn that key sound off cause I'm a music PURIST but a welcome improvement for some.

Wait, wasn't this song in the first game? Yes, but it's EXTREME now!

Finally, the other major change is the introduction of in-game currency to unlock modules and room accessories. No, don't worry, this game is still from the golden age of gaming so I'm not talking about some microtrans BULLSHIT. Basically, instead of those tedious module unlock requirements from the first game that made you play a song you weren't particularly fond of 5 times or EVERY SONG to unlock those silly swimsuits, you can play whatever song you like to acquire points to unlock modules. While I would've enjoyed the achievement style unlocking if the achievements weren't so boring, I appreciate the flexibility of this new model.

But don't fret! All that time I spend playing EVERY song FOUR TIMES to unlock 4 swimsuits was not in vain as you can import your original save and get all those modules unlocked in this game right from the start. Since the first game has a good number of modules and those swimsuits do cost a fair amount of points, you can save a heap of time this way. I mean if you ignore the heap of time I wasted just to see Luka and Meiko in a swimsuit. (Shuddap! It was totally worth it!)

Can you imagine, you can unlock all this GRATIS? Ahh, those were the days.

Of course, the meat of this game are the new songs and they don't disappoint. It's a matter of personal taste but I much preferred the song selection this time around as I felt it had catchier songs that sounded more "professional" (or "commercial" for the music indie hipsters). The visual were great as well with a lot of lively animation and heaps of that moe goodness (complete with naganegi stick).

This was probably one of the funnest (and funniest) songs to watch.

Really, if you're remotely into rhythm games, vocaloid music, and especially any of the newer DIVA games, you can't go wrong with this one. It took the technology of the first game and refined the mechanics into a solid winner of a rhythm game. You can skip the first one but this is definitely a keeper (or buy both if you're a hoarder... err I mean collector).

There's other features such as the PV editor which I don't touch because I suck at that kind of thing but you can see a preview of it in this nice trailer by Sega.

Score: 3.5 but really, they're just recycling all the songs from the first game! Shhhhh SHUDDAP!! out of 5

If you're coming into 2nd right after finishing the first Project DIVA game like me, you may feel a slight wave of disappointment every time you unlock a new song and it's a song you just finished playing. However, if you're coming into this game new, you'll be pleasantly surprised by a generous list of songs with great visuals and the large number of cute modules you can unlock BY PLAYING THE GAME. OMG, you greedy gamer, will you think of all the DLC money the poor publisher must have lost on this game???!!! Don't worry, you can still purchase additional songs as DLC, KACHING!

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

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