Persona 4: Dancing All Night Review
Persona 4 was the epitome of a western-style Japanese RPG. It was a game that renewed my love for Japanese RPGs and I'm sure it did the same for a lot of people. There was a cast of characters, all different from one another, that you could fall in love with. You felt connected to these characters throughout your time in high school and trying to solve murders in the Midnight Channel. It showed that Japanese RPGs can still be great with the right team behind them even when a lot of us have moved on from the genre. Persona 4: Dancing All Night takes all the great things about Persona 4 and adapts them to the rhythm game genre. You get all the things that you love from Person 4 with the addition of some new ones in Dancing All Night.
Do you like Persona 4? Do you like dancing all night? If you answered both of these with a yes, then you don't need to keep reading. I would just recommend that you buy this game. It's a great marriage between the characters you love and an easy to pick up but hard to master rhythm game. It has the same look and feel of the other games in the Persona series and you can tell that the developers put just as much care into making this a great game as they did with Persona 4.
The gameplay is very simple, whether you play it on the Vita screen or you decide to play the game with a PlayStation controller with Vita TV. You use the up, left, and down buttons on the d-pad along with triangle, circle, and the cross (X) button on both as you time your button presses to the excellent Persona soundtrack. It reminds me in a way of Rock Band: Unplugged without the need to switch instruments and feels like a natural fit for the characters. Dancing All Night is incredibly addictive and you'll feel that "one more song" vibe as you play through the Free Mode and you'll never feel bored in the Story Mode. There are tons of unlockables from costumes and accessories to new ways to play songs that can make it easier or harder. The rhythm feels right with each and every song you play. My only real complaint with the gameplay is the difficulty increase can be a little jarring. When you make the transition from Easy to Normal it feels natural and it's a bit more difficult, as it should be, but it doesn't feel as forgiving when you move to Hard. The difficulty certainly takes from its namesake and it doesn't feel like the natural transition it should as there is a fourth unlockable difficulty. Keep in mind, you can use power-ups to counter-act this but I didn't make it too far into the Hard mode.
The Story Mode is exactly what you would expect from a main series entry Persona game and you get that same familiar feeling while playing it. You have a fantastic character driven narrative that is fully animated along with a new mystery to solve. The basic gist, without getting into spoiler territory, is that you're helping Rise-chan find some missing idols amidst the rumors of people being affected by a video that appears at midnight on a website. Your Personas will become useful again as you try to solve this mystery in a place much like the Midnight Channel called the Midnight Stage. That's really all I want to get into because it's another great story in the Persona universe and you'll get to enjoy it with many of the characters from Persona 4 making their return alongside new ones. The Story Mode will take you about 20 to 30 hours and is well worth your time.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night does everything it's supposed to do. It feels like a proper Persona game while changing the gameplay to a fun-addicting rhythm game. The Story Mode is a long, character driven experience and the Free Mode will have you playing song after song for hours or even days. If you fell in love with Persona 4 then it's safe to say you'll do the same for Dancing All Night. While the later difficulty levels have a steep curve, it won't hamper your enjoyment of the game. This is a great addition to your Vita library where we are seeing fewer and fewer quality releases.
Disclosure: The reviewer obtained review code from the publisher Atlus to complete this review.