Game Review – THE iDOLM@STER: Platinum Stars (PS4)

I finally kept my promise and played the newest entry in this super popular series. Now I feel more complete as an otaku! Of all the ultra-moe games I’ve played in my creepy otaku life, this one has to be the oddest, for a set of unusual reasons. In a way, it’s one of the best cute games I’ve played. Regardless, Idol Master is not for me. It’s complicated to explain! That’s why I made a video!

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6 responses to “Game Review – THE iDOLM@STER: Platinum Stars (PS4)

  1. Right now IdolM@ster is in a weird situation. Old fans don’t really like the games after the first one (but still buy them) and newcomers don’t get why the franchise is so popular.

    The first game was really special because you kind of form a bound with you produced idol. Not in terms of “my waifu!”, but as wanting the girls to succeed. Even when producing characters that are not your favorite you still get that feeling. The graphics were lackluster and the audition part was pretty barebones (but surprisingly deep on how to win each audition), but the focus were the interaction with the girls.

    iM@S 2 improved greatly the visuals and the musical mini-game, but was worse in every other aspect. The interaction with the girls is downplayed, the story of each character is forced drama (the first game didn’t have a story per se besides the events prior the final concert) and the unnecesarily complicated management of fans and sales for each region makes the game kind of unenjoyable… Making 4 of the girls unselectable was a low blow for the fans as well.

    iM@S All for One ditched the fan management, put the focus in the musical minigame and made all the character playable in a “all characters in a single savedata” style. Was an slight improvement over iM@S 2, but once you reach the S rank for each girl the things to do halt to zero, repeating the year cycle over and over or starting a completely new game.

    And now iM@S PS, a reskin of All for One with beter graphics and more focus on grinding. For old time fans doesn’t help that this is the 3rd time the series is rebooted, so each time we see the same characters doing more or less the same things outside the concerts.

    Namco can’t do a complete start over with new characters (like Dream C Club did with Gogo.) because the old time fans are very attached to the girls and most likely will boycott the game, but they can’t do a game focused in the interaction with the main girls because after several games is not “got to know each other” kind of relationship anymore, the factor that made the first game so enjoyable.

    • I was recommend the second game, though. So, it’s the worse in the series in your opinion, huh?
      I would love a new installment with new idols (or some of my favorite Cinderella girls), but since this is a reboot, they should do it properly! Can’t change idols? Just rewrite their story and start over. It is a reboot, after all. It was made to attract new fans and to give more of the same for old-time fans.
      But now I see! I thought I wasn’t enjoying this game as much as the fan-base because it’s not quite my style of game, but the fan-base is not very pleased with it, either? This is a shame. I would like to play an Idol Master game that has the full potential of the series with this current generation graphics, so I could understand what makes this series so special for so many people. I guess this will never be possible, then…

  2. I liked the first game a lot. It was pretty much a charage with some minigames to raise parameters and win auditions, spiced with a bit of time management.
    You have to alternate between spending your week to raise the idol stats using lessons, do an audition to raise the idol rank or do communications in order to fill your idol memories. Memories was kinda a consumable Burst Appeal, so in order to keep having those you need to keep doing comunications (the better the result, higher number of memories) and pretty much that was the main focus of the game. At each rank the communications available change, showing progressively a closer relationship with your idol.

    Dream C Club is often cited when talking about IdolM@ster (specially the first game) not because they share strikingly similar characters or because the girls also sing on stage, but because at core they have the same goal: keep comunicating with the girl of your choice until she falls in love with you. Since the cast of iM@S is a bit too young and you as the producer is actually working and not searching for love, you only get full romance with Azusa, a tacit “more than friends” with most of the cast and “more than siblings” with Yayoi and the twins.

    In iM@S 2 the focus was changed. Is like if in a Dream C Club sequel the main part was an improved on stage cheering and time efficient management of the part-time jobs was vital to reach a good end. You have some compulsory time with the girl in order to keep with the story, but as I said it was not the focus anymore. Objectively it is a more “music producer” oriented game in the strict sense but losing the charm of the original game in the process.

    I like the main cast a lot, but progressively in each new game the characters personalities are boiled down to a single trait (clumsy, stoic, shy, misterious, tsundere,…). For example Yukiho in each game after reaching the ending is not absurdly shy anymore and improves her self-esteem, but in the next game she starts as a crybaby again and does pretty much the same evolution at the end. Most of the characters keep following the same patterns over and over (Chihaya overcomes her tragic family circumstances, the twins searching for individuality, etc.).

    They kind of tried to reboot the franchise with brand new characters with Idolm@ster Dearly Stars for the Nintendo DS, but was a massive financial failure. It was not problem of the three new idols (Ai, Eri and Ryo) because they were pretty interesting and fun characters, but because the game lacks a clear focus and have excessive differences with the first game. In that game you don’t play as a Producer, you play as the idol in a more visual novel narrated presentation. There are heavily downplayed minigames to raise parameters and win auditions as well, but that are mostly to determine which branch the story will take.

    I’m also fond of the Cinderella cast, and I would love to play a game like the first one (with the main focus in fleshing up the idols), with current gen graphics, improved rhythm mini games and a brand new cast of characters (between Cinderella girls an Million Live girls they have a ton of fresh girls to choose from), but after the failure of iM@S DS I don’t know if they would take the risk of a main game with an all-new cast…

  3. Yes, I bought an Xbox to play iM@S. The only games I have are the 3 iM@S ones (the first one, Live 4 You! and iM@S 2) and both Muv-Luv games that didn’t even played because I finished them in PC.

    Takane is my favorite girl as well. Her first appearence was in the PSP version of Idolmaster as a unplayable rival unit, but when was first selectable in iM@S 2 her personality was quite different. After playing the games and watching the anime I got used to her new personality. At first she was a mysterious and level headed girl with some strange coincidences with Kaguya-hime from the tale of the Bamboo Cutter, and now while still referencing her mysterious lunar heritage she often acts stuck in her own world with completely anachronistic behaviour. Explained like that it doesn’t sound like much of a difference…

    And Yukiho original voice sounded much more husky, more notable when singing slow songs like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xJZ2azn9Fw Again, sheer overexposure got me used to the new voice but was shocking for the already big fan community when it happened.

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