Here's a quick lesson on Japanese pop culture: Yamaha sells a software called Vocaloid, which provides the digitized voice of a singer and allows users to incorporate it into their own music productions. Each singer is represented by an anime mascot, to give a face to the voice. In the second wave of Vocaloid products, licensee Crypton Future Media introduced Hatsune Miku, who quickly became the most popular Vocaloid due to her voice and character design. She is essentially a virtual idol: singing in thousands of songs, being featured in tons of fan art, and even performing "live" in concert thanks to advanced holographic technology, way before anyone brought Tupac back to life.
It's quite a fascinating phenomenon, but of course that means there's merchandising galore. One product is Sega's rhythm game series Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA, which is a cuter version of Elite Beat Agents. There are two main PSP games in the series, as well as a few spin-offs here and there. The next major game in the series, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F, is being made for PlayStation 3 and Vita.
Though no previous game in the series has been released outside of Japan, there was actually a localized demo of Project DIVA F for Vita present at Sony's E3 booth. It's hard to tell whether this is because Sega actually plans to bring the game west or whether Sony just needed another Vita game to fill up booth space. Either way, as the only contributor who had ever played the original PSP game, it fell to me to take Project DIVA F for a spin.... read more