Published on July 25th, 2013 | by Christian2
Project Diva Dreamy Theater 2nd – Down The Rabbit Hole
During the peak of my obsession with Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f, I decided to order a copy of Project Diva 2nd which was released a few years ago on the PSP. I wasn’t sure if a Vita compatible PSN version of this game existed for download, and wasn’t about to switch my Vita to the Japanese region to find out, so I bought the PSP UMD from an importer on Amazon that was offering prime shipping and in a few days I had more Hatsune Miku. I was really enjoying Project Diva f at this point, so I was pretty hyped to play through songs that were new to me. Like this one:
The first thing I noticed about Diva 2nd is that PSP games can look like garbage, especially when my only point of comparison was a pretty attractive Vita game. The character models lack detail, there are terrible jaggy edges on everything, and the scenes for each song are sparsely detailed at best. It made sense considering the age of the PSP, and while I was enjoying the gameplay which is basically identical to that of Diva f, I missed the detailed stages and vocaloids that I had gotten used to on the Vita.
To solve this, I started down the road of setting up a Japanese PSN account on my PS3 and buying Dreamy Theater 2nd, a PS3 upgraded of the PSP game. I can’t think of another game on PSN quite like this. Unless you own the PSP version, and sync your PSP save to Dreamy Theater 2nd on the PS3, there is no way to play Dreamy Theater 2nd. It blows my mind that you can buy a thing on the Japanese PSN store for ¥3900 (roughly $40 US) and have it do absolutely nothing “out of the box”. It isn’t until you launch the game and use the sync utility on a connected PSP that you can actually get access to the songs and modules (outfits) you’ve unlocked in the PSP version. It’s more or less the same game, but there are some differences, the most obvious of which is the vast improvement in visual quality, which you can see here:
That looks much better! While not technically stunning, the visuals are at least competent, so if you have the means and can live with a few of other quirks I highly recommend it. The biggest annoyance aside from the setup is that you can’t earn Diva Points or unlock any additional songs, difficulties, or modules in Dreamy Theater 2nd. This means you’ll still have to grind through all the songs on hard difficulty if you want to unlock extreme difficulty for each song. You’ll also need to unlock all the modules you want on the PSP. Even after doing that I still found that some of the luster of Project Diva was gone in a game where I couldn’t watch those Diva Points tick up. Grinding my favorite songs for new modules and diva room items is a larger part of these games’ appeal than I had realized.
Playing on the PS3 also highlights how much I’ve come to prefer playing games on handhelds. The immediacy of play, having the screen right in my face, and the quality of sound a decent pair of headphones provides make for a comfortable experience I can hop into and out of quickly without turning on a bunch of extra equipment or whipping out any controllers or anything like that. Turning on my PS3 to play games feels like a hassle, especially when the quality of the experience on the Vita and the 3DS is achieving parity with home consoles for the genres I enjoy. Perhaps having Dreamy Theater 2nd on there will make me more inclined to turn my PS3 on; it’s still too soon to tell.
As for the whole process of getting this game, it’s surprisingly easy to setup a Japanese PSN account. All you have to do is create a new user account and select Japan as your home country and everything will switch right then and there. The hardest part of the whole thing is filling in a Japanese address, but putting a postal code in will fill out most of the details, after which you can just copy the address of a hotel or make something up. Adding funds to your Japanese PSN account is a bit of a pain, and I was unable to get it to work with an American credit card, so I wound up going through a code service (Japan-Codes). Even though their markup was outrageous everything worked fine and they got the codes to me quickly. If you aren’t interested in Dreamy Theater 2nd, I would recommend going through this process just to get access to the Japanese PSN store for demos or downloadable titles that aren’t on the US store.