Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight Review
The Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad takes a break from climbing Tartarus to test out their dance moves in Atlus’ new rhythm game Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight. Featuring a number of remixed tracks from the classic 2006 JRPG, should you feel the rhythm of the night?
Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight Review
Though it might not have the same amount of plot as its source material, there is a story that things together in Dancing in Moonlight. The shadow fighting squadron of Gekkoukan High have been transported to the Velvet Club by Elizabeth – or Elle-P for short. A ball is being held in this dream-like world, and these characters are all invited. Gone are the sorrowful moments of Persona 3 – rather, they are replaced with a friendly rivalry between sisters, good music, and skill-based gameplay.
Much like Persona 4: Dancing All Night and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, players can choose from a number of different songs from Persona 3’s different renditions and aim for a high score. The ultimate goal is to hit the scrolling notes with as much accuracy as possible, which is far easier said than done. Six different zones are mapped to the face buttons and the d-pad, with the analog stick used to hit “Scratch Notes.”. Dancing in Moonlight manages to break the curse that so many other home console rhythm games struggle with by being quite compatible with the default DualShock controller. Though Scratch Notes take some getting used to when compared to other inputs, adept players will be able to master even the hardest “All Night” songs with enough practice.
This game definitely requires a bit of finesse when it comes to its tracklist. No matter the difficulty setting, each song chart is mapped to the song. All notes successfully hit other than scratches give off the same sound (as opposed to different musical elements), but those who truly immerse themselves into each track will come out ahead. This review was done with a pair of quality headphones, and this setup is highly recommended for those looking to get the best experience.
A rhythm game is only as good as its tracklist, and the songs that make up Dancing in Moonlight are largely winners. The series’ signature style has been given an EDM remix for the most part, with many songs featuring a more electronic flair. Hideki Naganuma of Jet Set Radio fame helped with one of the remixes, and other songs feature a colorful medley of synth, rap, and more. Compositions are well done, and there are some original versions rounding out the lot.
It’s just a shame that the song selection is a little on the sparse side. Series classics like “Burn My Dread” and “Mass Destruction,” though well known, have received a number of renditions that take away from other songs that could have been featured. Players will be able to complete the 25 songs that make up Dancing in Moonlight fairly quickly, though the majority need to be unlocked and also run on the longer side.
For those who need a break from dancing, a “Social” element has also been included. Each segment is unlocked by completing certain criteria in the “Dancing” mode, and shed more insight on each of the characters that hit the dance floor. Talk of soda, the dog Koromaru, the Dance Cheer Club, and other topics round out each character’s arc, and tend to be a bit on the light side. Dancing in Moonlight expects players to already be familiar with the source material, so those new to the series might be lost at some of the names dropped. Nevertheless, the colorful personalities are clearly established, and Shin Megami Tensei neophytes may enjoy the lighthearted (if anime trope heavy) interactions.
It’s just a shame that these Social elements can be a real grind to unlock. Some of the parameters to complete them require near flawless play with a “Brilliant” ranking or higher or a set amount of “Perfect” notes hit, offering quite the lengthy challenge. The average Social link lasts around a few minutes, so the payoff for some of the trickier tasks feels lackluster.
Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight might not have the largest tracklist in the genre, but the remixed tunes and challenging gameplay ring true. Those that don’t mind a package that is a little on the light side will enjoy mastering its unique playlist.