I won’t be the first to say this, but I think that artificial pop-idol, Hatsune Miku, is one of the most genius musical ideas of our generation.
A musician, who just like other artists doesn’t write her own lyrics, expresses what others compose in a familiar voice to a dedicated audience. Unlike many of those “artists,” there is little-to-no baggage that has to be dealt with, as Miku is specifically a character with a set archetype – she isn’t real. Many don’t exactly think her synthesized voice is great for easy listening, but there are many more that are enamored by the digital concoction. And those enchanted by her voice, dream of being able to see her in the technical masterpieces that are her concerts. And with Hatsune Miku: VR Future Live, that dream is as realized as possible.
Since 2009, Sega has been putting out seminal rhythm games that feature the pop-star. And while they have little-to-no relation to Hatsune Miku: VR Future Live, they sure were a great series of games that increased the fanbase of the manufactured star.
Calling Hatsune Miku: VR Future Live a rhythm game might be giving it too much credit, even considering it a game might be too graceful. However, it’s one of the most engrossing experiences that the PSVR has ever featured.
The entry is split up into multiple stages that can be bought piecemeal. The 1st stage of Hatsune Miku: VR Future Live is essentially a 30 minute concert. You shake glow-sticks and various other accessories to the rhythm of the songs, and your goal is to ultimately make the crowd go crazy for Hatsune Miku and her colleagues by moving your wand in specific gestures.
Now, I had played a demo for this game at a convention and ultimately thought that the entry was somewhat of a cheap cash-in. However, once I finally was able to go through an entire concert, I’m suddenly excited to buy more concerts.
It was engrossing, I got way too into it. I felt claustrophobic in some situations, and felt vertigo in others. You can choose in multiple places where you want to be during the concert. A pit looking up to her, a balcony looking down at her, and even alongside her on the stage. There’s a lot of different places you can be to view the concert, but for the most part I stayed in the pit shaking my glow sticks to the beat of the music.
Miku’s stage personality translates greatly to VR. But you not only feel the reverberance of the crowd, but you also hear the heartwarming voice of Miku as she addresses the crowd with her gleaming mannerisms.
In between each performance, Miku gives you the chance to choose which song she’ll sing next. Each song features a different outfit that she seamlessly digitizes into (the game calls these costumes modules), and a different item that you can possibly receive if you perfect certain rhythm mini-games.
If there’s anything I can knock the game for, it’s the strangely personal encore that Miku does at the end of her concerts. You’re up close and personal with her, and it’s just you and her as you dance together. I feel as if it’s just from my opinion that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could’ve, but it felt strange not being in a dark amphitheatre with people around me. It was bizzarely intimate, and I hope that there’s a way to turn it off as I got quickly bored without the energy of the audience.
However, there isn’t anything boring about the animations. The motion capture is done by very talented dancers who’re being understated by Miku. It’s fluid, and when set side-by-side with the costumes, there’s an incredibly adherent example of how the best presentation of games, is on the PSVR. The animations retain quality from the Project Diva games, and it enhances the experience greatly.
If you were to complain to me that the digital pop-idol’s first foray into VR is seemingly shallow, then I would agree with you wholeheartedly. It’s about an hour of content for almost $15, and I don’t see how that can be translated very well for a consumer. The game is quite the spectacle, but I’ll iterate – it’s only meant for those with deep infatuations with Miku herself.
Hatsune Miku: VR Future Live
Not Really a Game
Not Worth $15