Review: Hatsune Miku: VR Future Live (PSVR)

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Formats:

  • PlayStation 4

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • Dualshock 4 Required
  • PlayStation Move Optional (1)
Title: Hatsune Miku: VR Future Live
Format: PSN (1.29 GB)
Release Date: October 13, 2016
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: SEGA
Original MSRP: $14.99 per stage
ESRB Rating: T
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Hatsune Miku VR Future Live is not really a “game.” Though it includes some minor game elements, the experience is more like a virtual concert. This is a pretty fitting experience for a virtual pop-idol like Hatsune Miku, but don’t go into Future Live expecting Project Diva.

Gameplay:
Once the experience is booted up, the player is dropped into a concert venue. They have a representation of their controller, either the DualShock 4 or Move controller, which they can move around in the virtual space. Two Miku songs will appear on stage, for the “stage one” DLC this is Love Trial and 1/6 -Out of the Gravity-, and the player can wave their controller at the song they want to see.

Miku will then show up on the stage and perform the selected song with a fully choreographed dance number. While the song is playing, the player can wave their controller like a glowstick. The PS VR’s mic can also pick up when the player is singing along or calling out to Miku and at times the game encourages it.

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Future Live offers some alternate holdable items such as an actual glowstick, a tambourine, or a magic wand, which are obtained by waving the controller or calling out to Miku at specific times during the song. An option in the menu puts up a prompt for these specific times or the player can just follow along with the crowd if they opt to turn off the prompts.

After the song, Miku will give the player an option of two other songs. Once again, the player can wave along to the song, occasionally call out to Miku, and if they do these things unlock another holdable item. And after the second song, one final song option is presented to the player.

… more like a tech demo than a game …
Once the third song is complete, if the player did enough stuff during the songs, Miku will give the player a special encore. In this case, the song is the same no matter what but the player is in a special area with just Miku.

That’s all there is to the experience though. There are a handful of costumes to unlock for Miku which she’ll wear during the encore but that’s the only reason to play through the game again aside from Trophies. Strangely, the unlockable holdable items seem to go away after each concert, though during a concert it’s possible to cycle through the ones unlocked during the earlier songs in that concert.

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As an experience, it isn’t bad but it does feel more like a tech demo than a game. This might be a fun thing to boot up to show anime fans who want to try PS VR but it doesn’t have much staying power outside that. At $15 per ‘stage’, or $40 for the Season Pass, each with seven songs, I’m not sure if this will appeal to most gamers.

For those who do want to try this out, don’t go into Future Live half-heartedly though. As the review guide puts it, “this is not for the grumpy, jaded, ‘impress me’ types.” Get into the concert mood by swinging the glow stick and singing along with the other fans. This really is more of a “VR Concert” than a game.

… move around the space to view Miku’s dance …
Visuals:
The models and costumes in Future Live look like they’re lifted almost straight from Project Diva X. They look pretty good in VR, where the bright and colorful nature suits the character, or characters as I believe future song sets will include Miku’s friends, and style. The dance choreography is well done too, and some songs have interesting special effects that would be hard/impossible to do in a non-VR concert.

The stage arena isn’t too notable, possibly to let the player focus on Miku. The crowd only appears as silhouettes, save for their glow sticks. The player can move around the venue, from being all the way up in the nosebleed section to being on stage with Miku. During the encore song, the player can also move around the space to view Miku’s dance from a number of set vantage points.

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Audio:
The music should all be recognizable to any Hatsune Miku fans. Most of the songs in the first stage appeared in Project Diva X, or one of the other Project Diva games. My normal Miku disclaimer applies for those not familiar with her music, it’s entirely synthesized, including the vocals, which may not appealing to everyone.

One interesting thing about the audio is how it changes when the player moves around the arena. Up close to the stage it sounds as it should but moving to the back will make the song sound muted, like it would if someone was far away in a concert venue. It’s a cool effect to make the experience feel more like a real concert.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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Conclusion:
In terms of ways to show off the VR tech and in terms of VR games, there are better options out there than Hatsune Miku VR Future Live. As more of an experience than a game, one without much replay value, this is only really appealing to existing Miku fans. The only thing to be gained by watching the concert multiple times are costumes and Trophies.

For fans, this does provide a good concert experience with recognizable songs they have come to expect from their virtual idol. Given the cost and how much ‘gameplay’ it gives, I’m still not sure I’d recommend it too highly but I suppose most fans would pay $15-$40 for a concert by their favorite artist and Future Live is essentially that. While the tech exists to bring Miku into our world, this is a chance to jump into hers.

Score:
6.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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