When I first heard about Persona 4: Dancing All Night, I thought it was an elaborate joke. I was almost sure that it was a prank by a fan with too much time on his hands, poking fun at how the Persona series has been branching out into different genres as of late (P4A/P4Q come to mind).
It was only after I saw some actual gameplay that I believed this was a real thing, and the only thought that lingered in my mind was, “why?”
Who asked for this?
However, I remembered that both Persona 4 Arena and Persona Q ended up being great games in their own right, and decided to check out Dancing All Night to sate my morbid curiosity.
After dancing several of nights away, it seems the folks at Atlus were intent on shaming me for my eagerness to write off the concept, as they have another winner on their hands.
The story of Dancing All Night takes place after the events of P4G and while it’s only clocks in at around four hours, it’s told with sincerity as it features full voice overs and numerous high quality animated scenes.
Unfortunately, it’s a goofy bit of fluff and not all that interesting, but the fact that a rhythm game has a fully flushed out story mode is pretty amazing in itself.
It’s the same kind of feeling I had while playing through the story mode in Persona 4 Arena.
Sure, it didn’t need to be there and it wasn’t amazing, but it was really nice that they’d put in the effort when they didn’t need to.
From a gameplay standpoint, Dancing All Night plays like any other rhythm game.
Notes fly across the screen to a spot designated to one of six buttons and the player is tasked to press them at the right time.
There’s the use of the analog stick for free-style scratches and a few other mechanics like hold/release buttons but all in all, it’s pretty similar to many other rhythm games on the market.
One unique thing about Dancing All Night is that it puts an emphasis on the dancer by having the notes fly out from the center of the screen instead of having them move vertically and it’s intuitive enough to get the handle on immediately.
After completing the story mode, there’s plenty of items to purchase and unlock.
New costumes, modifiers that increase the difficulty of songs while offering greater rewards, and new songs and difficulty modes can be unlocked simply by playing the game.
Unfortunately, the full list of songs is a little shy of thirty, which I felt to be on the low side and found that I had played through all the songs the game has to offer quicker than I hoped.
Given how many memorable tracks were in P4G, it feels like a missed opportunity to not have a more robust song list for this full retail release (insert DLC joke here).
There are also no multiplayer modes and even though the game doesn’t necessarily suffer too much from their absence, it would have gone a long way to help the game’s longevity.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night proves yet another success in branching out to another genre for the folks at Atlus. If not for the relatively short list of songs and lack of multiplayer, this could’ve easily been the premier rhythm game on the Vita.
Fun Tidbit: During the chapter selection in story mode, press start and change the difficulty to Normal as Easy is an absolute bore to play through.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.