Overall - 80%
Persona 4: Dancing All Night maintains the high pedigree the Persona series is known for while still being its own thing. Fans of both rhythm games and all things Persona will find a lot to love here - and who knows, maybe you'll learn a move or two too.
Pop idols gone missing? Dancing bears? Supernatural happenings? It’s true! ATLUS’ Persona 4: Dancing All Night might possibly be the most unique dancing game you ever played – but does its unique style translate to a good game?
Persona 4: Dancing All Night Review
The Persona 4 train keeps rolling on with Persona 4: Dancing All Night, taking our hero Yu Narukami and the original Investigation Team on an adventure that is canon to both the RPG and Arena fighting game series. As the pop idol Rise Kujikawa gets ready to star in the Love Meets Bonds festival, strange happenings start to occur. Word of a strange online video appearing at midnight begins to circulate, causing people to come down with a coma-like Apathy Syndrome State. When members of the pop group Kanamin Kitchen go missing, it’s up to Yu and his friends to investigate and find out who is pulling the strings (or in this case, ribbons).
The story of Persona 4: Dancing All Night might have some JPOP flavor to it, but the underlying tone is still true to the series’ trademark namesake. Strong themes like staying true to one’s self and the importance of the bonds we form with others tread familiar ground, but are still presented in a unique way. The seven-hour story mode is surprisingly meaty, with tomes of voiced dialog interspersed with some dancin’.
Of course, Persona 4: Dancing All Night is a dancing game at heart, and a fine one at that. Gameplay is split between six buttons mapped to the d-pad and face buttons, with the analog sticks working overtime for optional notes. As the notes move outward from the center, it’s up to players to time button presses just right as they reach the outer circle. It might sound simple, but things can get awfully heated on the more difficult songs, especially when note holds and dual presses come into play. With each song ranked from 1-20 stars, even the most hardened of rhythm rogues will have their skills put to the test. Just be warned – the overly flashy dancing from those on the “Midnight Stage” can make the notes a little hard to read.
Song selection fares well too. Fans of the series will find a lot to love here, with practically every song from the RPG series present and accounted for here. Composer Shoji Meguro’s work translates well to the game, with a number of remixes punching up the already great tunes. Original compositions are available as well, all of which fit well with the classic tunes. It’s just a shame that there aren’t more songs to choose from – the 30 or so tracks are great, but pale in comparison to the 50+ songs that come standard in other rhythm games like Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F and Dance Dance Revolution (god rest its soul). DLC hopes to rectify the problem, with the current content (provided by ATLUS) covering content from the Persona 4 anime series.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night maintains the high pedigree the Persona series is known for while still being its own thing. Fans of both rhythm games and all things Persona will find a lot to love here – and who knows, maybe you’ll learn a move or two too.