So, I’ve been playing iM@S Channel…

Posted by DiGiKerot in Gaming, idolmaster at October 5, 2013 on 9:59 pm

Not that this isn’t something that should be entirely obvious.

I’ve posted about it previously, pre-release, but to recap, iM@S Channel is the new PS3 application that came out on Wednesday of this week, and is a central repository for forthcoming PS3 iDOLM@STER game content. Omo already posted most of the pertinent details that I hadn’t discussed earlier, so go read that – though I will say that I’m actually finding the timing a bit easier, rather than harder, in ShinyTV than I did for Shiny Festa. I’m pretty sure that Omo played Festa predominantly on iOS, whereas I mostly played it on PSP (well, PS Vita), so that may factor in the difference in impression in regards to that.

To get onto more personal, specific impressions of the title, well, whilst it may lack some of the immediate production values of Shiny Festa (in so much as the game doesn’t have a gosh-darn OAV stapled right onto the front of it), the actual game content does seem rather better considered. This is mostly down to Shiny@TV, in comparison to the Star of Festa mode that it’s replacing. Star of Festa was pretty much just a case of scoring as highly as you could across three songs, and should you outscore the idol you were up against in the finale, you’d gain a Name Card for the competing idol. Pretty much the only real aim to it was to grind it out in order to get all the name cards.

The problem with Star of Festa is that, well, the requirements once you started getting into highly difficulties somewhat hamstrung how much fun it was. For one thing, the Heart Notes, which got you significant bonus points whilst you were in Burst/Special PV mode, were tied to a grinding mechanic – the number you got per song was expendable and tied to the number your idols had accumulated, and to accumulate them, you have to do things like play songs in other modes, or as was mostly the case with myself, just leave your PSP playing songs from the Video room all evening (because that’d bump your gauges up as well). In ShinyTV these are, instead, tied to the number of name cards you have. They’re somewhat less important anyway – most of the challenges are easily manageable without them, but at least means that once you’ve gained them, you won’t lose them.

Honestly, though, the bigger thing for me is that they force you to play with the different songs. In Star of Festa, you had your choice of which three songs you were going to play, and because of the way scoring works, and the narrow margins you have for beating your competing idols, there was scant reason to pick songs other than the ones you knew you could Full Combo – and while I like FuwaFuwa Future, I really didn’t need to hear it with that kind of frequency. Whilst each set of Shiny@TV seasons constrain themselves to those six songs in the specific idols content pack, it at least gives you a reason to keep batting your head against a song and get better at it.


Speaking of songs, Machiuke Prince is pretty great. Omo thinks it sounds like a modern 3D idol song, but I don’t really listen to enough of that stuff (outside of AKB48 songs that were featured in 0048) to really draw a comparison. It makes a nice track for this kind of game, though – it has a number of stylistic and tempo switch-ups that keeps it interesting to play whilst throwing in a few chances to throw you off. I just kind of wish that they were being a little more aggressive with the new songs for the game – whilst I’m sure that throwing out a new PV every couple of weeks, as the content packs look to be scheduled for the rest of the year, is probably tricky, they could and really should be using this as marketing for a new series of character CDs given how long it’s been since the last set. Oh, well, I guess the Cinderella Girls stuff is keeping Columbia busy (Machiuke Prince on CD when?)

I will also say that We Have A Dream isn’t quite a brutal as I’d expected it to be given the tempo of the song. Now, Machiuke Prince at Master level, now that’s a brutal song – I dare say that it’s more than a little beyond my personal ability to score particularly well on.

Not that I’ve not completed all of the challenges released thus far anyway. Roll on Takane on Wednesday!

Also, the Gravure Mode PVs are a nice change of pace. Annoyed looking Yayoi flailing her arms around is amusingly cute.

And with that out the way, time for DiGiKerots How To Idol Like A Master Corner, collecting all the stupid tips I’ve posted on Twitter over the last week…

  • Kinda pointless, but if you don’t like the song you have in the main iM@S Channel menus for the few seconds you are probably in there, you can force it to cycle to another song by dropping into the XMB (hitting the PS button) and out again.
  • Speaking of iM@S Channel, you only have until the 15th to collect the six log-in stamps for the current Campaign card. Get on it, folks!
  • Getting on to Shiny TV challenge mode, I mention it above, but the number of Heart notes you’ll get, maximum, per Shiny@TV Challenge is determined in part by the number of Name Cards you have. As such, you’ll have a marginally easier time of things if you go after the Guest challenges first.
  • Yayoi’s Shiny@TV campaign is way easier than Haruka’s all the way through the first three seasons – Haruka’s Season 3/Pro in particular is murder. This all switches around when you get to Season 4/Master, where Haruka’s is something of a breeze, whilst Yayoi’s is… hard. Really, really hard. I managed all of Haruka’s challenges – even the Season 3 stuff after hitting my head against it for long enough – without pulling any weird tricks. Yayoi’s master level challenges? Not so much…
  • It’s worth familiarizing yourself with the menu options you get by hitting the square button before starting a Shiny@TV episode. Whilst many of the challenges override your settings, for each challenge types there’s still some which will still apply.
  • Customize Challenges deliberately try to put you off through a combination of cute button icons and really, really distracting button press sounds which both annoy and mask the music. Not much you can do about the icons, but whilst you can’t change the button sounds, you can turn the volume down on everything other than the MC through the menus. You won’t get rid of them entirely, but at least Haruka’s cute little giggle with be barely audible
  • You can also force a particular MC PV variant to play during the song. This might not sound like much use, but some icons sets have a habit of blending in to certain PVs – in particular, the Hamzou icons used for the Minimize Challenge for Machiuke Prince in Yayoi’s Season 4/Master mode are almost indistinguishable over the Standard MC. Forcing the Special MC will make your life marginally easier.
  • You wouldn’t necessarily think that tweaking the speed upwards would be a helpful thing, but the advantage it ends up giving you is that it separates out the notes on the tracks that little bit more. This is particularly useful for master level Yakusoku, where the notes move slowly by default anyway – that song has a lot of double presses in weird spots mixed in with single presses in a tricky fashion which become a lot more discernible when you move the note speed up to, say, 1.4x. I managed it first time after the speed increase, after struggling with it for the best part of an hour at the default settings.
  • The first challenge of Yayoi’s Season 4/Master challenge set, Minimize Challenge Machiuke Prince, is borderline impossible to clear, at least at the default settings. Honestly, if I kept going at it, I’d have probably ended up snapping the controller in half. There is, however, an incredibly cheap way to clear the challenge…
  • You can use the analogue sticks to register button presses, and this is kind of broken. Each of the cardinal directions will register a button press, but a button release will only register if you recenter the stick, even if you move it to another direction. What this mean is that, unlike just mashing the buttons and d-pad over and over, it works for HOLD periods as well as individual button presses. As long as you rotate the sticks fast enough to register a button press when each icon overlaps the target, you can easily Full Combo a song just by continually rotating the sticks for the entire song.

    This is actually just – just – about enough to get you through the Yayoi S4 Machiuke Prince challenge if you are lucky with the timing, but because you’ll mostly end up with Normal/Good presses, it’s not an approach you can take for, say, any of Haruka’s Master challenges, or any of the other Yayoi S4 challenges, as your score will be ass. This is good, because, hey, it’s not really much fun. What I will say, though, is that if there’s a song where there’s one particular segment that trips you up, it may be worth reverting to the sticks for just that segment in order to keep your combo going

  • And that’s pretty much all I’ve got for now.

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