A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone is a downloadable music and rhythm game. While it's easy to learn, there's a steep learning curve due to the challenge of keeping up with on-screen prompts at various difficulty levels. Future Tone is the latest entry in the Hatsune Miku franchise, which is based on a series of popular voice-synthesizer software and has spawn numerous licensed merchandise, collectibles, and events. The game features a massive library of song performances and a variety of unique outfits players can use to customize Miku and her friends. While many are family-friendly, there are more than a few outfits and performances that are revealing and suggestive in nature.
What's it about?
Whether you're new to the Hatsune Miku craze or a longtime fan of the virtual pop icon, HATSUNE MIKU: PROJECT DIVA FUTURE TONE is ready to get you bopping along to the beat of the music. The game is composed of two huge collections, "Future Sound" and "Colorful Tone," each featuring more than 100 songs cultivated from previous games, including the Project Mirai DX game for the Nintendo DS and the Japan-only Project DIVA Arcade games. The game features classic arcade-style play, challenging players to keep a close eye on the screen while keeping up with the musical tempo. With more than 220 songs and videos in its library, five difficulty levels, and a massive wardrobe of unique outfits and accessories for Miku and her friends, the game is packed with enough content to play a world tour and never see the same show twice.
Is it any good?
To be a pop star these days, you need a catchy beat, some great dance moves, and a way to keep the audience entertained from the first act to the encore. One thing you don't need, though, is to be an actual person. Welcome to the world of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone. The game is an arcade-style rhythm game, with players choosing songs from a "greatest hits" library of songs from the virtual pop idol's video game history. The songs and accompanying videos have never been better, upgraded to take advantage of the PlayStation 4's multimedia power. If you've played any of the previous Hatsune Miku games, even replaying older songs feels like a brand-new experience. This is especially true of the performances pulled from the Project Mirai DX game. Gone are the super-cute characters bouncing around a tiny screen, replaced with the full-sized characters taking advantage of their expanded real estate.
They say that showbiz isn't easy, and while the controls in Future Tone are simple enough to learn, the gameplay isn't for the faint of heart. The game has a bigger focus on a pure arcade experience than do previous console entries. Each song has up to five difficulty levels ranging from "Easy" to "Extra Extreme," with the level of skill required ramping up almost exponentially. "Easy" is anything but easy, while "Extra Extreme" is torture on both your reflexes and your controller's durability. It's reminiscent of the classic Simon toy, where it's easy to push the buttons in time with the sequence, but it's the increasing complexity of each sequence that makes it hard. Thankfully, you can practice each song in "No Fail" mode or just take a break from the action and watch the individual performances without playing at all. This latter feature is especially welcome, since the person playing the song rarely gets a chance to actually enjoy the show. For fans of the franchise, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone is a fantastic compilation showing off the best the series has to offer. And for newcomers undaunted by the game's difficulty, it's an experience well worth a front-row ticket.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how women are portrayed in games. What's the appeal of a virtual icon such as Miku, and how do you choose to have her represented in the game? Do some of the outfits and performances go "too far" for younger kids?
Talk about the relationship between music and games. Do rhythm and dance games inspire you to make your own music or to learn to dance outside of a gaming environment?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $53.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sega of America
- Release date: January 9, 2017
- Genre: Music & Dance
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Arts and Dance, Friendship, Music and Sing-Along, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes, Partial Nudity
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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