In Japan, one of the nation's biggest pop stars is, in fact, not a real person. Hatsune Miku is the fabricated mascot of the Vocaloid program, a text-to-singing sound generation software that's all the rage on Japanese YouTube equivalent Nico Nico Douga. That's the preamble, but here's what you care about: the latest rhythm game starring Hatsune Miku and her pals is headed to the states on PS3 and PS Vita. If you're a rhythm game nerd like me, who also doesn't give A GOOD GOD DAMN about the social ramifications of buying a game full of bubbly anime girls, this is stupendous news.
Project DIVA's mechanics are quite basic: simply press the corresponding buttons in time with the music, with exponentially more notes to hit on higher difficulties. It’s the presentation that sets Project DIVA apart--the backdrop is an entire music video of Hatsune Miku jamming out in various costumes, while the foreground fills up with button prompts flying in from every direction. Interestingly, parent company Crypton put Hatsune in the creative commons, letting fans run wild with her character designs and song selection. That fan creativity is what fuels Project DIVA F 2nd: all the songs have been sourced from the artists who first uploaded them to the 'net, complete with the same inventive outfits from the fan-made videos.
As with most Japanese-made rhythm games, Project DIVA F 2nd can be as forgiving or brutally difficult as you want it to be. You can soften or intensify the challenge with modifiers that help you out during tough sections, or punish you for the slightest mistiming. I suppose it goes without saying, but yes, I will be awaiting this one with much anticipation.
Check out the following screenshots for additional info!