IA/VT Colorful isn’t quite like Hatsune Miku: Project Diva, and here’s how

There are now two Vita games on the market starring vocaloid characters. Sega’s Hatsune Miku: Project Diva has held the spotlight for quite some time, but she’s recently been challenged by IA with IA/VT Colorful. Given that you’re here, you probably have a passing familiarity with one or both series, and might be wondering which title could be a good one to fit your needs.

Despite each game starring virtual idols, IA/VT Colorful and Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd have very different focuses. I’ve played both, and can hopefully help guide you to the perfect purchase.

Let’s start this off simply. If you want something you will completely understand, go with Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd. It’s been localized. It’s in English. It’s widely available. You may even find it on sale if you’re willing to be patient or do a little searching.

This isn’t to say IA/VT Colorful is difficult to understand. All of the menu options are in English, you can easily work your way through the Free Play, Daily Play, Item and Data menus without knowing Japanese. If you get this title from Japan, you will have no problem enjoying it. It’s simply a little less accommodating than a game Sega’s already gone to the trouble of translating for you.

Especially since IA/VT Colorful is more focused on objectives than Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd. The latter is a game you go through and enjoy, watching the pretty videos and tackling at your own pace. While IA/VT Colorful does have a Free Play mode that’s similar, the bulk of gameplay deals with overcoming certain challenges. Each day offers a Daily Play song, as an example, to master for bonus points. Step Up Play has you picking an Easy, Normal or Hard route, then playing songs in a row while meeting certain objectives in each one.

The Step Up Play is what may throw people. You follow a certain progression. If you can’t meet the game’s expectations, you don’t get to move on to the next song. A goal could be as simple as getting a certain score or only hitting red notes on Colorful icons, or become more complicated with multiple goals. If you can’t read katakana, hiragana or kanji, this section of the game could prove problematic.

IA/VT is also more distracting than Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd. That may be an odd assertion to make. After all, Miku videos are always playing in the background of her songs and notes are flying in from everywhere, while IA sometimes has more static videos and icons running along pre-determined paths. Yet this is somehow more distracting in the latter game, since you aren’t always sure which route notes will run along, the lines are always moving and colors are undulating. The note patterns on Easy and Normal are less challenging in IA’s game than in Miku’s, but the progression means more items on-screen at once. It’s difficult, but for different reasons.

In fact, I almost felt as though the easy means of perpetuating combos was due to the business of IA/VT Colorful‘s gameplay. In Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd, only Cool or Fine rankings on notes will keep up a combo. With IA, you can keep going if it’s Cool, Fine or Safe. It feels more forgiving, which may make it a better choice for beginners.

Though beginners buying a game because of the character attached may not be as happy with IA’s portrayal as they would with Miku’s. Sega’s game takes every opportunity to shine the spotlight on Miku, Luka, Rin, Len, Kaito and Meiko. It almost feels like IA’s presence is downplayed in IA/VT Colorful. She’s singing all the songs and is present, and even a handful of costumes are available for use in specific tracks, but it’s more about the music than her. People who enjoy a focus on characters would probably prefer Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd, with its Diva Room, multiple costume modules and videos that constantly show off every character.

IA VT Colorful

IA/VT Colorful might be a better choice for music, however. People are more likely to recognize Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd‘s songs. Miku is the most popular Vocaloid, after all. Yet IA’s songs fall more in line with what’s popular. The library of tracks focuses on rock songs, with a few pop songs, dance tunes and ballads tossed in. Sega brings in tracks from all sorts of genres, which could prove more divisive to a casual listener. The commonalities among IA’s music may mean people will enjoy more than one song, where people going to Miku’s game could avoid some tracks because they aren’t their style.

There’s really only one thing the two have in common. Both IA/VT Colorful and Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd are great music games. I love both of them and would likely recommend each to fans of the genre if money is no object. Both Sega and Marvelous did a wonderful job of putting together games with pleasant tracklists and compelling gameplay, and people would be well served picking up each if they can afford to do so. IA/VT Colorful is the more expensive of the two, usually going for between $40 and $50, while Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd is typically somewhat cheaper.

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