As a fan of the Persona series and the Vita, the announcement of Persona 4 Dancing All Night was warmly welcomed by myself and many others. The fact that it is a rhythm game and canon to the Persona 4 story is a bit out there, but not anything off-putting. So when I finally got a chance to sit down and play a few songs of Persona 4 Dancing All Night I asked myself “Can this really be a good time?” and now, almost twelve hours later I find myself answering that question with two words: “you bet.”
Persona 4 Dancing All Night sees the return of the loved Persona 4 Investigation Team and friends, both new and old, as they must dance their way to reveal the truth of what is known as the midnight stage. As Rise Kujikawa is set to make an explosive comeback into the showbiz world of idols there is an urban legend that’s got everyone worried: “go to a certain website at midnight and you’ll see a strange video. Those who watch it get taken away to the ‘other side,’ never to return.” It’s with this quick introduction that Persona 4 Dancing All Night will then throw you head first into a mystery that needs solving and songs that need to be danced to, and within minutes you will fall in love with it.
The story of Persona 4 Dancing All Night is one that honestly caught me by surprise. Now as a Persona game you can and would expect a high standard of storytelling, and the good news is that this is certainly the case with Persona 4 Dancing All Night. For those new to the Persona series then your be glad to hear that Persona 4 Dancing All Night does a great job at keeping things engaging, compelling and surprising throughout your playthrough. Towards the middle of the story I felt things slow down a bit and began to lose interest, only for Persona 4 Dancing All Night to slap me at that moment with an engaging plot reveal. From there-on until the end I was paying full attention as the Investigation Team and friends solved the chase of the midnight stage.
The story mode for Persona 4 Dancing All Night last eight chapters, with a few extras hidden away, and will take around seven to ten hours depending on your reading speed. The story mode is overall a fantastic addition to Persona 4 Dancing All Night as it gives it an edge over other rhythm games on the market in my eyes. Not only that but once again, it is a solid story experience that it worth going through. Take note though however that you will need to finish the story to unlock all the songs and some extras for Free Dance mode.
Gameplay within Persona 4 Dancing All Night is made up of notes and scratches that you need to hit throughout the many songs you’ll play. All of the gameplay within Persona 4 Dancing All Night is within the songs, with the only other section being the visual novel style scenes with characters to explain the story as you go. As you play a song you’ll need to use both the D-Pad and the buttons to hit the notes at the right moment as they move along the screen.
The scratches are rings that move in the same way across the screen but in order to pick them up you need to use the left or right thumb stick to ‘scratch’ and get the point. Now the good thing is you can leave these if you want but it is worth grabbing them as they can count towards your combo and therefore help you get better scores. You’ll also see rings now and again with ‘Fever’ on them which are multicoloured and should be picked up as enough of them will unleash Fever Mode which not only gives you a score boost but also can bring in a second character to help boost the performance further.
How well you perform is also a key part of Persona 4 Dancing All Night as to pass a song you need to not only make it to the end but also ensure the audience is enjoying themselves enough. As you hit notes, scratches, and unleash fever mode the audience will get hyped up and enjoy the show, as shown by the on-screen icons at top. If you miss too many notes or don’t perform well enough, it’s lights out for your time in the spotlight.
Thankfully though a handful of items can be set before songs to help make your life a bit easier, or harder if you so wish, and boost your reward at the end of the song. In fact there are a lot of items to be picked up throughout the game along with outfits and other customisation options to which can be used in the game’s Free Dance mode.
In all however that is as far as the gameplay for Persona 4 Dancing All Night goes. It’s a rhythm game through and through but that is not a bad thing at all. As I said earlier the story within Persona 4 Dancing All Night is solid and the dancing gameplay is fun and addictive which to be honest is all Persona 4 Dancing All Night needs to do. It offers just the right amount of everything and never makes you feel like the end is out of reach. It’s a Persona game at it’s core with an awesome twist mixed in for your enjoyment.
It should also be noted just how beautiful Persona 4 Dancing All Night is on the Vita. From the stunning 3D models of the characters and stages that play out in the background of the songs to the 2D artwork that brings them to life in the cutscenes. Even down to the animated hand drawn anime cutscenes that play now and again the production value on Persona 4 Dancing All Night is solid, keeping a standard throughout the whole game that never drops in both style and class.
Persona 4 Dancing All Night is simply put a joy to look at as it is just so smooth and clear. Not only that but, as you would expect for a rhythm game the soundtrack is a whole new level of awesome. With your favorite sounds from Persona 4 all together, remixes and all, to create a super interesting and enjoyable tracklist. If nothing else make sure to give the soundtrack a listen to regardless if you’re a long-term fan of the Persona series or new on the block.
And lastly it is worth taking a moment to point out that not only is Persona 4 Dancing All Night a beautiful looking and sounding game but also a game that runs perfectly on the Vita. With next to no load times and not a single drop in frames at any point, Persona 4 Dancing All Night is a strong game that makes sure not to waste any potential.
All in all, Persona 4 Dancing All Night is in a class of it’s own. Though there might be things that are not to everyone’s taste, such as the combo icon being a bit big for my own liking, there really isn’t anything that rules nor breaks the experience. A Persona game and a rhythm game in part, both are performed without fault and work together to create a simply amazing game that should be part of every Vita owners collection. From the story to the free dance mode, to the unlocks and soundtrack. Every element of Persona 4 Dancing All Night is brilliant without question and is a game that I think I won’t be putting down for some time.
If you’re a fan of Persona, rhythm games or even just on the fence about this one make sure to pick up Persona 4 Dancing All Night as it will be truly worth your attention and give you hours of fun.