Short Version: It’s fun, for a little bit. It accomplishes it’s goal fairly well, which is to replicate a Miku concert experience, but that’s all there really is to it. If you are a Miku fan, you’ll like this, but I can’t see anyone playing this more than 2 or 3 times before they start waiting for the next DLC pack.
Long Version: I love Hatsune Miku and Vocaloid in general. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but it can definitely grow on you over time, especially when you know where to look for some good artists that make great music. Another thing that I enjoy is watching Miku concerts on Youtube and always wondered how it would be like to actually be there. Granted, I’ve seen Miku open for Lady Gaga one time, but I’ve never been to a full-on Vocaloid-focused concert, and playing Hatsune Miku: VR Future Live is probably the closest thing I’ll get to that without having to spend an arm and a leg to take myself to Japan.
360 Degrees of Miku
Now that PlayStation VR is upon us, we are faced with the issue of distinguishing between games and experiences, with VR Future Live being something in between. The simple way to put it is that it’s just watching Miku perform some songs; that’s it. However, I can try and be more specific by mentioning that you play as someone in the audience that needs to shake a glow stick to the rhythm of the music. By doing this, one can bring more life to the concert and unlock more outfits for everyone’s favorite virtual idol to wear. You can even change the way your glow stick looks, which is a fun, quirky thing that adds more personality to the whole thing. Of course, there isn’t as much stuff to get as suppose to Project Diva X, which also has a VR mode of its own, but it is still good to know that there is some sort of goal to strive for while enjoying the atmosphere.
Aside from shaking your stick around, whether it’s with your Dualshock 4 controller or with the PlayStation Move wands, you are also able to move your camera angle around in a variety of different ways. You can decide to stay with the audience below, or you can take an aerial viewpoint. What I ended up using the most was a very closed in view, in which I was standing right next to Miku on stage. There is eventually an encore segment where it is only you and Miku performing a song for you, and you can change the camera angles in a similar way as well.
One of the things that I noticed immediately was how good everything looked. Miku, along with the 3D audio and the visuals that appeared around me during the songs were really entertaining. This game really takes advantage of the fact that this is virtual reality, and decides to incorporate some things that you wouldn’t be able to easily see in real life such as floating text, colorful shapes and even Miku herself floating on a platform all across the environment. The songs themselves are also pretty good, but they have all already appeared in Project Diva X, which makes this game feel like more of an extension of that game, rather than a thing that stands on its own. This is also exacerbated by the fact that Project Diva X also has a VR mode that is almost identical to what you see in VR Future Live, making me wonder why they couldn’t just incorporate all of this into one thing.
This observation is made even more noticeable by experiencing certain segments of the game that activate a rhythm game, in which you try to shake the controller to the beat of some on-screen symbols in the same way that you would in any other Project Diva game. Seeing this only served to make me desire for all of the songs in this game to have that style of gameplay, rather than the constant stick waggling it currently has. The Move controllers have the regular PlayStation face buttons on them, so it’s not like it’s impossible to pull off, so I would’ve appreciated it if this little game was more akin to previous Project Diva stuff than what we ended up getting, which is a viewing experience for $15 with recycled songs and a fraction of the content that you can get in another game as a free update. When I put it like that, this sounds like a terrible deal, and that’s probably because it is, especially if you already own Project Diva X.
Half Empty, Or Half Full?
After seeing all the performances and doing all of the rhythm segments correctly, there really isn’t anything else to do. It is a fairly enjoyable, but very short-lived experience that leaves some things to be desired. If you are a really, and I mean really, big fan of Vocaloid and Hatsune Miku, then you’ll probably like this for what it is. However, even for a big Miku fan like me, I got bored of it fairly quickly after the VR novelty faded away and was expecting a much more meaty game out of it. They have even demonstrated that a competent rhythm game is possible to make, but I’m going to need more than just the last 10 seconds of a song to be satisfied.