Sunday, August 23, 2015

DEMO-lition: Hatsune Miku Project Mirai DX

Video Game Demo First Look
Hello everyone.You know, I really want to vent about my experience with a particular person in my life right about now, but I decided not to. Mainly because the first draft of this intro was me venting about this person and it ended up to be several lines long and I haven't even started talking about the new Demo I wanted to talk about. So no venting from me, I'm just going to have to keep that stress bottled up until it finally explodes in a torrent of rage. Bloody, violent rage. Anyway, this week I'm looking at another Demo, and I haven't done this since Conception II, which was a few years back. Geez. Well, this time there isn't a sweepstakes on the line where I can get a new Atlus game, so I guess I can settle on Hatsune Miku, and her new game Project Mirai DX.

Behold the Mistress of the Internet!
If you have ever spent any time on the internet, you will probably have run into this turquoise haired anime girl before: Who is She? Well she is a Vocaloid, a singing voice synthesizer made by Crypton Future Media. Basically, Vocaloid is a program where computer geeks and novice musicians can create songs using a computerized voice, and Hatsune Miku is just one of those voices. There are other voices (who also have their own Anime Personifications)  that can be used for songs, but Miku is by far the most popular with reportedly over 100,000 songs credited to her name and she had concerts where she preforms "live."

So of course there is going to be a video game about her, several in fact. SEGA has been making Miku rhythm games for quite some time; however, Project Mirai DX is probably the first one that has ever seen the light of day in the US. Well, at least officially. And so to promote the game SEGA has released a Demo on the eShop, which is what I'm going to be checking out right now.

Am I on the drugs again?
The content in the demo is a little light. There are only two songs available "Senbonzakura" and "LOL: Lots of Laughs." The demo also gives a little taste of the customization, as Miku could swap between her default costume and two other costume, one for each of the two songs, with the ability to mix and match the hat/hair style of one with the outfit of the other (though it is a little cumbersome with how the menu is actual set up). However, what Miku is wearing is of little consequence since this is a rhythm game and thus you are paying more attention to the flying button prompts then what is actually going on on screen.

Hashire Kousoku no Teikoku Kageki-Dan... Wait, we are NOT doing that!?
What's interesting about Project Mirai is that there are two different control schemes: Buttons and Touch. Of course, Buttons use the four face buttons ABXY, while Touch uses the touch screen, but what makes this different is that instead of just translating one to the other with analogues inputs the two control options have different mechanics and nuances. The core gameplay is that you have a rail that flies around with the "Notes" on it, and you have to time your inputs with notes hitting the circle. Now in Button mode, you have to press ABXY when prompted to and as you increase in difficulty not only do you have to press more buttons, but also during long notes you have to press and hold a direction of the D-pad at the same time.

Unare Shougeki no Teikoku Kageki-Dan... Seriously, WHY AREN'T WE SINGING THAT!?
In Touch mode, you have to tap the touch screen in time with the notes as well and on harder difficulties you will have more colored sections of the touch screen to match with the notes. However, in addition to that you will have notes where instead you have to swipe across the touch screen in one of four directions. You also have "Rainbow" notes that if you tap and then swirl you will get more points. Between the two control schemes I find the Touch mode easier and more engaging. Tapping the touch screen has more drum-like nuance to it than just pressing buttons. However, since they give very different feels to gameplay it almost feels like there are two different games you are playing. Even if you are playing the exact same song on the exact same difficulty, the different control scheme makes it another experience.

Beware the cuteness!
Will I play the full game? That's a hard sell for me. I'm not really into rhythm games, and I only checked this out because I feel like I'm obligated as a member of the internet to play something with Miku in it. To me, it really comes down to how much it costs. $40 might be a bit too much for me to slap down for a game like this. However, $30 or lower might be where I'm comfortable to check it out. If you are interested in this game, the Demo is available on the Nintendo eShop (though if the eShop is anything like my experience, you might have to dig a little to find it). Next time on DEMO-lition I find out if a 2D Dragon Ball fighting game made by Arc Sys for the 3DS is actually worthwhile.

Until next time.

-CRES, by far the cutest thing in this game is Miku saying the classic SE-GA chime.

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