Title: Persona 4 Dancing All Night
Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Atlus (North America) / NIS America (EU)
Release date: September 19th 2015 (North America) / November 6, 2015 (EU)
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
P4DAN picks up a few months after the events of Persona 4 Golden. Shortly after Rise’s return to the entertainment business, there have been some rumors floating around about a video which pops up on a mysterious website. Watching said video will teleport the viewer to a mysterious dark place, never to heard from again. While Yu, Golden’s protagonist, meets up with Rise, J-Pop idol group Kanamin Kitchen disappears without a trace. Yu and Rise gets the band back together to solve yet another mystery. In the world of the Midnight Stage, our heroes must dance against Shadows in order to rescue the missing idols.
After taking a detour in the fighting genre, Atlus brings our Persona 4 crew over to the dancing floor. Persona 4 Dancing All Night is a rhythm based game where you need to time button presses during each songs so you can get the high score and then move on to the next one. Sounds simple right? It is… in a way. The gameplay features a few intricacies which will test your reflexes and multitasking skills with the portable console. On the left hand side of the screen, you’ll see the up, left and down arrow; while on the right hand side, there’s the triangle, circle and X button. When a small star crosses the button prompt, you need to press the adequate button in due time. You can either score a Good, Great, Excellent or Miss for each button press. In order to make things more challenging, the game throws a few different types of buttons presses your way. One of which requires pressing one button on each side simultaneously or pressing and holding down a certain button for a certain amount of time. While those prompts appears, there’s also a circle which will appear and grow as it nears the outer areas with the buttons on screen. When that appears, before it vanishes, you need to use either joysticks and scratch much like a DJ would do. Luckily, if you miss (they can be easy to miss with so much stuff going on; especially on harder difficulty settings), they won’t screw up your Combo meter.
The game’s story mode will give three different teams: Yu, Rise and Dojima. Whereas Yu and Rise’s crews are the main focus of the game, Dojima’s story path is pretty much useless. Although it does help understanding the game’s mystery, most of it is just filler right up where Dojima’s detective skills come in handy. As you progress through the game’s story mode, your teams will come across “bosses” so to speak. Similar to what occurred in Persona 4 Golden where characters would let their weakness come out and turn into a Shadow. Sadly, “boss fights” aren’t that different from standard shadow encounters. It’s unfortunate as it could’ve spiced things if they had varied boss encounters.
Taking a page from another spin off, Persona 4 Arena series, the story is told through storyboards which features conversations between characters. Once in a while, the player will have to answer a few questions, but it won’t make the reading anymore fun nor required. You can pretty much blaze through the story and answer whatever, but some chapters will drag on and delay using your dance skills. There are also some hand drawn scenes at certain points in the game. Although well designed, it doesn’t bring much; it could’ve been interesting telling the game’s story through Anime-style cinematics.
Along with Story mode, Atlus threw in an additional game mode: Free mode. As you play Free mode, you’ll unlock new tracks and earn cash to spend in the in-game store where you can purchase new outfits or game modifiers. You can purchase familiar items, such as a Revival Bead, to use during a song; however, using such helpful items will penalize you on the scoreboard and the amount of money earned. You can choose between Easy, Normal, Hard and (unlockable) All Night. Without much practice, Hard difficulty will quickly overcome you. Luckily, there’s an option to watch your Replays or watch perfect runs of tracks giving you an edge in order to memorize all the buttons presses. Additionally, when play Free mode, the game allows to set up the speed in which the button presses appears- giving you a chance to practice.
The game’s dance floor is sparkling with beautiful and sparkling colors. Unfortunately, with so much going on around by tracking down the button prompts, it can be hard to take in the visuals in the background and seeing your character bust a move. Of course, this being a music rhythm game, the audio is obviously the game’s main attraction and strong point. P4DAN features a jam-packed soundtrack featuring remixed tracks from the already awesome Persona 4 soundtrack. Atlus went all out to secure talented artist to remix original tracks from the game: Banvox, Norihiko Hibino, Yuu Miyake, Akira Yamaoka (yes, the same Akira from the Silent Hill and Shadows of the Damned soundtracks), Lotus Juice; just to name a few.
Persona 4 Dancing All Night is a fun and addictive game that not only Persona but also rhythm games fans should definitely give this game a try. The game features an amazing soundtrack, addictive gameplay and collectibles will keep gamers busy for a long time. Although limited on modes with a (deep) story mode and free mode, both modes will provide enough fun for times to come. Unfortunately, newcomers might be turned off during Story mode as it features a lot of reading. Although any Vita owners could do well by adding Persona 4 Dancing All Night to their collection; it’s a different and fun experience which should be experienced by music fans and gamers alike.
- Amazing soundtrack
- Addictive gameplay
- Deep story mode
- Too much reading might turn off some gamers
- Limited on game modes
Persona 4 Dancing All Night is rated T for Teen. Rise and her Idol friends are scantily dressed, so it means there’s some “partial nudity” (some suggestive alternative costumes) in there which is a big no-no for the younger members of your family. Note that the ESRB tag mentions Language, Mild Blood, Mild Violence, and Suggestive themes, but during my playthrough I haven’t seen any traces of blood nor violence.