If you love rhythm based games, anime and Persona, then you are going to need to sit down and read this review because, this game is off the charts. So to start us off, Persona 4: Dancing All Night (P4DAN from here on out) is the first ever rhythm based game entry into the Persona game series. If you ever played a Persona game before you know what to expect. With P4DAN, Atlus mirrors their great story telling, with really awesome gameplay based rhythm. While Dingo, known for their work with the Hatsune Miku games was originally in-charge of leading the pack, Atlus would later take the creative reigns in an effort to help the production quality and meet the release timing. You get what you expect with this game. Great voice work, awesome art and amazing anime quality cutscenes; however, all of this is wrapped up into a rhythm game. Now, this game lacks in the sound department as it uses only songs from the Persona gaming series; mainly from Persona 3 FES, Persona 4 (Golden) & Persona Q. That doesn’t make it any less of a greater game. The Persona soundtracks are known for their amazingly awesome scores and beats.
As stated, you still get an awesome story in this game. Taking place a few months after the epilogue of Persona 4 Golden, Rise Kujikawa is on her comeback streak and the world of the music industry is aspin with rumors of a video that plays on a certain website at midnight, leading to a strange world dubbed, The Midnight Stage. Yu and the rest of the Investigation team will venture forth to discover why this world exists and what is happening to those who have seen the video and have seemingly lapsed into comas. The story is just as dark and has it’s emotional moments, giving the player something truly meaty to grab onto and chew on. It really is a Persona game, no if’s, and’s or but’s. The quality and attention to the story is great, although for some, the beginning will play out pretty darn slowly, as the game attempts to fill those who have yet to play Persona 4 (Golden). The seemingly omnipresent being in the Midnight Stage realm is also rather repetitive, but the repetitive nature is there for a reason. We finally get introduced fully to Kanami Mashita, the supposed successor to Rise Kujikawa. While we do get to see her in a paper in the animation, we don’t really get to know who she is and thankfully we do in this game. While she is a new face, I have to say I completely love her character and she is very quickly replacing my admiration for Yukiko Amagi.
The ‘combat’ in the game is performed by the rhythm sections of the title and are simply easy to get through, as the game has a few difficulties to choose from. I stuck with the latter for the easy mode so I can get through the story and then work my way through earning new stuff on higher difficulties. Still being very new, there will be continued song releases and updates that will be implemented to help widen the musical playing field. Now, the controls are excellent and while they do not take advantage of the PS Vita’s back or front facing touch screens, I rather enjoy that it doesn’t. Instead they utilize all buttons but square and the right button on the D-Pad so, it feels actually really comfortable and solid in terms of control scheme. The game, as mentioned, does have higher difficulties that you may take a shot at however, these modes aren’t for the newbie’s like myself who aren’t too good at rhythm games. However, the easy and normal difficulties are still fun and progressively get even more challenging.
If you aren’t too keen on running through the story and would rather just play the songs, then look no further. Free Mode is P4DAN’s version of just playing through songs. You are locked to a specific character for the songs, which I feel is unnecessary and rather unappealing but it is alright, I’m not too picky. You start off with a few song choices but as you play, you will progressively unlock more songs to play with! You can use the in-game currency earned through the story and free mode to then buy items, costumes and random accessories to truly personalize your favorite characters. DLC is also a big thing here, with your typical costume choices as well as more songs and characters. Still very much a new entry for the rest of the world, as there is still DLC releasing for this title in Japan and it will have to go through a localization process. They will be priced accordingly and while it may push away some casual players away, it will entice the more invested, Persona fan-base.
So, the story may take you, depending on how fast one can reading, 8-13 hours, depending if you are more into the story or just getting through it as quickly as possible. With a story to boot that gives you a sense of what connections really mean and the facades we where when around others, it will be a Persona game that is for sure worth picking up. While the 3DS platform did not get some of this love, they were treated to another awesome Persona entry. If you own a Vita or a looking to get one, then you cannot miss this game! It is a must have and one of now two awesome Persona entries for the PS Vita. While I do not have a ranking system, I cannot recommend this game more than i already have been. If you have played it what do you think about this entry?