Project Diva F on Vita has been for me a great discovery. Fun and arenaline rush like I hadn’t known for a while in a video game. The excitment was therefore high when booting this direct sequel. Excitment that stayed at maximum level until the end.
In terms of content, Project Diva F 2nd (PDF2) inherits the principle of Project Diva Extend (PSP), that is to say half new songs, the other half being songs taken from previous episodes. In the case of PDF2, those ones come from the PSP games Project Diva 2nd and Project Diva Extend. Before complaining about rehashing, bear this in mind : while Project Diva Extend was merely transferring songs from Project Diva 2nd, PDF2 remakes them from scratch. Two-faced Lovers, Romio & Cinderella or Luka Luka Night Fever to mention a few, have been completely remades and not just remastered : choreographies have been changed in several aspects, especially by adding a finale like it was introduced in Diva F. No only this, but the incredible 3D engine of the «F» series transforms the hits of the previous generation and the astonishing graphics further enhanced from Diva F (PDF2 looks quite sharper) make it a whole new experience.
As for the new songs, I found the list pretty uneven compared to Diva F which was a true concentration of musical masterpieces. Many have slow rythm or not enough intensity for my tastes. But whatever, that’s just me and I did find a few exhilarating compositions like Yubikiri, Ni Soku Hôko, Envy Cat Walk, Meteo 2nd Dimension Fever and Akatsuki Arrival, let alone the fantastic design and direction that mix elegance and cuteness in wonderful fashion.
You’ll of course also get a new range of nice modules (=costumes) with the possibility to import the ones you already have in Diva F. In pure aesthetics, you have now an option to put a skin on your progression bar. While I think it takes too much room on the screen, some may please you. Note that if you want more, Sega has planned a looong DLC season to destroy your savings with seriously exciting stuff : the Japanese version already got Change Me, Kochi Muite Baby, Yellow and Sekiranun Graffiti, among others. Remember that if you have the extra character DLC for Diva F, you can get it free for PDF2 as it’s cross-buy.
The most striking thing about gameplay is that the game became A LOT harder. If like me you’d come to master progressively the Hard mode without making wonders in Extreme, drop by the chemist’s to get some anxiolytics because you will suffer like hell. Narisumashi Ganga and 2nd Dimension Fever are inhumane, Envy Cat Walk drove me mad. It’s my concern with PDF2 : the Normal mode is still a bit too easy for returning fans, but Hard mode is discouraging sometimes.
Generally speaking, the challenge has been beefed up in several ways. Remember the yellow stars for which you just had to scratch the screen continuously? That’s over, Jim! From now on, you’ll have to follow the pace. Technical zones have become a lot more technical, those bonus points are no longer offered like they used to be (Huh, God Tier Tune?). This episode comes out with new types of stars. There’s the «big» star which is cleared by scratching the screen in two different locations, and the «linked» stars, that are actually normal ones with more bonus points.
All the side content is still there and has improved. The Diva Room, the now famous dating sim is more lively than in the previous game : the number of events have doubled, they’re triggered more often, yo have new mini-games and characters show a lot more actions/reactions. Camera angles have been nerfed a lot though, especially in close-up, which is definitely unwelcomed. All the friend level parameters have been tweaked to allow a more precise progression. The much sharper graphics add greatly to the enjoyment of this Diva Room 2.0, which more than ever is a game in itself.
The game comes with a dozen of new AR lives, save that now you no longer need the AR markers to organize your private performances!
And of course, the fun of the AR camera mode is still intact ^o^
Despite the small hiccups in gameplay and balance, the immense delight is still the same. Project Diva F 2nd is pure and immediate joy until the end. That is, if you can see an end to a game you never really stop playing.