The Persona 4 crew are back once more, and this time they’re preparing for Rise’s comeback into show business. Unfortunately, rumours about a video appearing at midnight on the Love Meets Bonds festival website sends everything spiraling downward once more. Let’s dance!
Even before Emma posted her review of Persona 4: Dancing all Night (P4:DAN for short), I had been eagerly awaiting the game. It was thanks to a generous friend that I finally got to play it, and here I am finally reviewing it. So let’s get on with our second review of P4:DAN!
A month after the events of Persona 4 Golden, Rise and her agency are planning for her comeback concert. To set the stage for this, they are putting on the Love Meets Bonds festival. Along with Kanamin Kitchen, the concert will feature Rise performing with the rest of the Persona 4 gang. However, rumours have started spreading that a mysterious video appears at midnight on the Love Meets Bonds festival website. After almost all of the members of Kanamin Kitchen go missing, the Investigation Team gets back together to get to the bottom of this latest mystery.
Cutscenes play out in your typical, overly-long Persona fashion. The main cutscenes are in a visual novel style, with occasional full-blown cutscenes coming up on occasion. If you aren’t used to Persona games, the length of the cutscenes will probably start to drag after awhile. When you do finally get through the massive blocks of cutscenes, you’re greeted with a single song to play through. This is how the game goes all the way up until you reach the end.
For the gameplay itself, you are presented with a layout of 6 buttons to press. On top of those six buttons, you also have the “scratch” rings. To match the notes, you’ll need to press the right button at the right time as they come onto the screen. Do it with the correct timing and you’ll get a combo. If you’re able to get a full combo – including all of the scratch rings – you’ll get a score bonus at the end. The scratch rings can basically be thought of as just another note to hit, though on occasion you’ll get a Fever Bond ring instead.
Fever Bonds is a special mode that has another member, either of choice or at random, appear on the screen. Comboing during this period will grant a huge score boost, with the majority of your points coming in during these times. At first it can be a bit distracting to suddenly have everything on screen start to be a bit flashier, but you do eventually get used to it.
Should you not want to do the story mode, or if you’ve already completed it, then there’s the option to do Free Dance. Free Dance will let you play on one of three difficulties (at least at first), and you can choose from all of the songs you’ve unlocked. Completing Story Mode grants you a couple extra songs to play as well. If the difficulty of Hard isn’t enough for you, then the fourth difficulty available to unlock is All Night. This difficulty is absolutely brutal, and to complete the songs here you’ll have to be exceptionally good at the game. Unfortunately, while you can choose your partner once you have completed a song once, you can’t choose who your main dancer is. While likely a move to conserve space (so they didn’t have to program every character for every song), it was a bit disappointing to not be able to just play as Naoto for every song.
If you want to add even more difficulty to the game – or lower the difficulty – then there are items you can purchase with the money you earn from completing songs. Some of these items will really test you, though some of the supposedly “adds difficulty” ones I actually found made the game easier. Namely, I found the one that reversed the button inputs – and then beyond that, the one that “randomized” the directions – really didn’t add much difficulty. This was especially true if you learned the songs with these settings on, drilling them into your muscle memory instead of the regular inputs.
Unfortunately, P4:DAN does have a bit of a lack of song variety. While likely a move for space conservation, there was definitely some songs I felt deserved an inclusion instead of remix #4 of a song. When it comes down to it, Dancing All Night features a lot of the same songs simply remixed over and over. While I’d like to hold out hope that they’ll go back and add more songs as DLC (would love I’ll Face Myself), I highly doubt it will ever happen, especially at this point in the game’s life.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night does come out as a quite competent rhythm game. With that said, the story mode can drag on a fair bit, and it does feel like there’s a general lack in the song variety available. With that said, if you’re looking for a decent rhythm game to pick up on the Vita, then this may be up your alley. Fans of Persona 4 will find their favourites here, though they may not find their favourite songs. You may want to wait for a price drop though, as the current asking price of around $40 USD is still a bit steep for what you get I feel.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night Review Score
Poor Naoto gets hosed on what songs she has access to as the main dancer. And hey, at least Nanako is still adorable, even if I’m absolutely terrible at the Junes song.
You can find Emma’s review here.