I have a LOT of reservations with Platinum Stars, but you also have to consider how the game was designed.
I can go on for weeks re: the game design but I'll try to compress that as much as possible.
First things first - Platinum Stars is from a technical standpoint a huge improvement from the likes of OFA/im@s 2 (from an engine perspective)
A lot of time and care was placed in the engine and the various little details make the game visually and audioally (?) interesting.
So if you like PVs of live performances, then it's a straight up improvement. Songs were rerecorded, the visuals are significantly improved over OFA.
The costume list is lacking, but there's a particular reason for that (Which I'll cover later).
There's still flaws within their engine (Namely, hair management) but the stages and the like have a lot of work put into it.
Let's get this out of the way first: Platinum Stars is designed to be a game that you play regularly, over the course of MONTHS. If not years. This has been a long standing failing of im@s generally, and this is the first actual attempt to address this flaw.
Did you read that above statement? Do you understand what I mean?
I'll make it clear what I mean - the biggest issue of im@s console titles is the fact that the content constantly keeps coming out well after the expectation of anyone playing the game for the game itself is gone.
Your average im@s idol run is what, 12-18 hours? If we assume 6 hours a week (weekend at 3 hours a day) you'd be expected to finish one every 2 or 3 weeks. None of the in game stats mattered at the end of catalog 12, because all the purchases were made well beyond after they finished the game. OFA would be done in about what, 25-30 hours, but for all of them.
The plan by design was to make it more social, namely, you'll be playing the game for an hour or two a few times a week, and you'd constantly keep coming back.
So if you're wondering why everything is now % chance based (namely, you have a chance after a live to get between 1 and 3 presents, and if you do, their size is randomised, and consequently you have a chance to get an item which could include costumes or accessories) now you know why. You'd have to constantly play to turn up all the costumes, and it's a matter of odds rolling to see if you fill your wardrobe.
This is coupled with the quite exponential curves (The total to reach B rank, which unlocks the sequence needed to finish the game requires 250k fans (Maybe 200k?) and A requires a million.) and a significant endgame, means you'll be there for a VERY long time trying to get through all the content. (I mean after you get the ending, there's a set of solo quests for each individual idol, as well as a series of Quintet only specials)
As well, this system allows for the release of free costumes for limited periods - Most people will pay for the P drops to boost their chances rather than spend the 10+ hours a day to force them to drop. It makes them money without mandating the upfront investment of a normal DLC item.
This WOULD have worked except one little problem:
- Until you see an idol's first ending, the game is mind numbingly easy.
Pro difficulty is VERY easy compared to say Hard on any Diva game.
So you may be given the impression that the game's so mindnumbingly easy, that it's not worth the effort to grind your way across. The main reason why Diva can have a long tail is because mastering an Extreme Song can take a literal forever, if you ever do.
Of course, this raises a problem within the game design - the moment you unlock ANY Master song, you can EX about any B ranked event (including the All Stars, which have obscene scoring requirements over the clear)... if you're good enough. There's about +50% more notes in Master over Pro, so your scoring potential jumps up about 75%.
The game difficulty jumps up significantly to actually give you a hard run for your money on Master. You'll routinely perfect pro given enough practice and probably can do it via reaction rather than practice. Master? Uh, no. This is where you're expected to actually put in practice time, and you'll find some songs will routinely kick your backside hard.
Also the difficulty of the game will depend on how lucky you are with the S ranked costumes - you can flat out be stonewalled out of progression (particularly late game) because a costume with a trait you need is asked for. At B rank, I might add.
Actually there's a lot of cutscenes, but they're minor skits. The only actual plot happens during the rankups, and the final before the first ending.
After the first ending, two things unlock in the SP section - A quintet line (Which I assume will lead to an All Star final) and a idol specific SOLO line.
Be warned, this is where the kid gloves come off. If you haven't mastered a master grade song, you are flat out 50/50 going to fail to reach the CLEAR minimum, let alone even touch the EX score requirements.
You're expected to clear the main story in a reasonable amount of time, but the extra stuff? Well,no.
As a summary - Platinum Stars is probably closer to Shiny Fiesta 2 than im@s 3 proper. It's an on rails rhythm game which has a really late curve, and a lot of the design is around playing it constantly for a very long time. The problem is that a lot of the mechanics are akin to MMO drops/Social/Free to Play, and can hamper your efforts if you're interested in putting X amount of hours with guaranteed progression.