Before we begin, I feel it’s important to state that our reviews for Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight are incredibly similar. The games all follow the same format and deal with the same content, just with a different cast of characters and a different soundtrack. Seeing as all three reviews are being done by myself, the text and content will largely be the same across the different games, with changes occurring where each game is slightly different. I wanted to be clear on this for total transparency.
Title: Persona 4: Dancing All Night
Publisher: Atlus USA
Available On: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4 Pro
Release Date: December 4, 2018
Game Provided By Atlus USA for the Purpose of This Review
Persona 4: Dancing All Night was the original Persona Dancing experience, having released on the PlayStation Vita back in 2015. While I didn’t finish it then, I have since finished it now on the PlayStation 4, and seeing this through to completion really made me miss all of these characters. I’m itching for a new Persona 4 story to be told, but I feel if this is done, they absolutely must include Kanami Mashita and the other members of Kanamin Kitchen. They have become too important and loveable to the cast to exclude them if another story is ever told in this particular series.
Upon starting the game, you’re introduced to the Velvet Room by Margaret. Persona 4: Dancing All Night has several differences between it and the other two Persona dancing games, most notably that the events of this game are not taking place within the Velvet Room and inside of a dream. Everything is happening in the real world, and it borrows elements from the story of Persona 4 as to the alternate universe that exists.
The music and rhythm mechanics are the star of the show, as you’d expect in a game such as this. Featuring tracks originally composed by Shoji Meguro and redone by Ryota Kozuka, there are several original soundtrack scores on top of the remixes done by artists such as ATOLS, Lotus Juice, Taku Takahashi, and Jazztronik. In all, there are 25 fan-favorite tracks included. Seeing the Yu and friends bust out moves to traditional Persona tunes is quite enjoyable being a huge fan of the entire franchise, and because each dance is unique to the character that is featured, it’s worth it to go back and watch the replays so you can truly appreciate the time and detail that went into the choreography.
Several difficulty levels exist which will allow gamers of all types to be able to jump in and appreciate the game. Easy, Normal, Hard, and All Night each offer the right amount of challenge for their respective difficulty, while increasing the perfect amount from one to the next. In my personal opinion, Hard offered the best note tracks on a song by song basis that felt perfectly in tune with the beat, while All Night exists to truly test your rhythm skills.
The game plays in traditional rhythm fashion, with notes flying out toward the edge of the screen, and a button will need to be pressed when each corresponding note reaches that button. For the face buttons, you’ll be using Triangle, Circle, and X, and over on the D-Pad, you’ll need to use Up, Left, and Down. There are also scratches that need to be hit, and these can be done with either of the sticks, or if you turn it on in the settings, the shoulder buttons. Playing on a PlayStation 4 and the big screen took some time to get used to having originally played Persona 4: Dancing All Night on the Vita, but after several hours and popping the Platinum Trophy, I was easily navigating the tracks on a large TV. That doesn’t take away from the fact that it is easier to see the notes on the PlayStation Vita.
For completionists and those seeking the Platinum Trophy, there are dozens upon dozens of accessories and costumes to unlock for each character, and simply progressing through the game will naturally unlock everything. To reach the Platinum, it only took me around thirteen hours of play time, but there are endless amounts of replayability due to how catchy the soundtrack is and how much fun these games truly are to play. Even after having completely finished all three through the Endless Night Collection, I still am regularly going back and doing a song just to hear the music and stay connected with these characters.
In terms of story, Persona 4: Dancing All Night follows a traditional story path that must be played through in order to unlock certain elements of the game. Plus, it’s a really good story being told. Introducing new members such as Kanami Mashita while bringing back everyone we loved from Persona 4, it was fun to see this reunion of friends set in the world several months after the events of Persona 4 had concluded. Margaret is telling the story to you inside the Velvet Room, and then shows you certain scenes and events that happened. The presentation is really well done.
For the complete Persona Dancing experience.. be prepared to drop some funds. Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight retail separately for $59.99 each on PlayStation 4 and $39.99 on PlayStation Vita. If you want the complete package on PS4 including Persona 4: Dancing All Night, then the Endless Night Collection will be what you want for $99.99. The bundle package for Vita, which just includes Persona 3 Dancing and Persona 5 Dancing, will retail for $69.99. It certainly isn’t cheap, but fans of the Persona franchise will largely find the investment worth it to continue seeing more out of these lovable cast of characters.
Offering addictive gameplay, a stellar soundtrack, and the universe fans of the franchise have fallen in love with throughout the years, it’s hard not to recommend Persona 4: Dancing All Night. Fans of the franchise will find this experience a pleasurable one.
8.0 / 10