Review: Hatsune Miku VR
Developer: Crypton Future Media
Platform: PC, PS4
Compatible Headsets: Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PSVR
Price on PC: $24,99 USD (Base Game) / $48,97 USD Bundle with DLC Packs I and II
Price on PS4: $24,99 USD (Base Game) / $11,99 USD for each DLC pack (3 total)
Release Date: March 8th, 2018(Steam), December 6th 2019(PS4)
Virtual Reality and Hatsune Miku are two concepts that just are meant to go together. Rhythm games are perhaps the most popular genre within the VR game scene, while meeting Miku face-to-face is the dream of many otaku and fans. You could interact with Miku in Virtual Reality before this game but only while watching concerts or video clips(VR Future Live and Project Diva X). This title is the first that actually has gameplay.
Gameplay consists of using your VR controllers to touch symbols that fly towards you. Simple and intuitive, like most rhythm games. As one would expect though, it’s actually very hard to do in practice. I am pretty good at rhythm games, both in VR and on conventional controls, but even then I was struggling to keep up on the Hard difficulty.
That said, the patterns were very easy to learn after a handful of attempts. It’s not as if this game even comes close to the difficulty of an Expert+ song in Beat Saber, it’s only mildly challenging if you were to put some actual effort into it.
There is no tactile feedback while playing Hatsune Miku VR, which makes it difficult to judge whether you’re getting the hits in or not. Furthermore, the origin of the notes is also a major issue. All notes originate from “boom box” shaped circles directly behind Miku, which are organized in a circular fashion.
This causes note icons to fly into the player in a way that’s difficult to see them, specially when they’re coming from high and low heights. Because 1st Gen VR headsets(the ones we have right now) have limited Field-of-View, this becomes a major problem. The problem is further accentuated on Hard Mode because the Boom Boxes start shuffling in the background, an intended difficulty spike that makes things even more chaotic.
This review was based on the PSVR version of the game, running on a regular PS4 Slim. Expect graphics to be much better on the PC version of the game, for every headset. Look at the image below for a reference of Field of View. Any flatscreen recording of a VR game is, in fact, cutting out most of the image.
Screenshots can look terrible and the video will lose both quality and frame rate.
Even on the considerably inferior PS4+PSVR, the game looks perfectly fine. The Hatsune Miku model we see doesn’t seem to be the same one from Project Diva Future Tone, but rather a lower polygon version. I couldn’t find information on the framerate but it looked well above 60(most PSVR games run at 90, using reprojection or not). The framerate did not stutter at any point.
Upon first booting up the game, the first loading screen took a very long time. However, there is almost zero loading period after that, even when changing songs, models and backgrounds. The game seems to pre-load all the assets at once to save time.
The backgrounds are rather static but well detailed. There’s not much variety to them but that’s hardly a major concern in this type of game. The effects did not distract from the gameplay, even on the stage with cherry blossom petals flying everywhere.
Project Diva Future Tone has over 200 songs and the new Nintendo Switch title, Mega Mix, has over 120 with the DLC included. Because we’ve become accustomed to such a large song list, it’s rather sad that Hastune Miku VR’s base game only has 10 songs, with each DLC pack containing only 5 extra. The game does feature my favorite Vocaloid song, Hibikase, so it wasn’t completely terrible.
The gameplay was passable but the song list is abysmal. For how expensive both the base game and the DLC packs are, it’s just not worth the price for me. This reminds me of the first Project Diva game on the PSP, which was also terrible but spawned the highly successful series. Hopefully the next Hatsune Miku game in VR will have a larger song list.
By the way, and I know you want to know this: Yes, you CAN peek under Miku’s skirt.
Hatsune Miku VR
- Good performace
- Tiny song list
- No tactile feedback on success/fail