Persona 4: Dancing All Night User Review!
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Our favorite students from Yasogami High, best known to their fans as the Investigation Team, are ready to take on more shadows, as they make their way to the Midnight Stage in Persona 4: Dancing All Night. It is so exciting to be greeted by the characters that we formed such a bond with in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 on the PlayStation 2 or in the later release on the PlayStation Vita, Persona 4: Golden.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night offers up more than a dancing rhythm game experience with the inclusion of a story mode. Let’s face it; a Persona game is not a Persona game without the inclusion of a story to bump the kickass soundtrack to. However, being that this is a rhythm game, the story mode was not necessarily needed, but it proved to be a much welcomed inclusion.
The story line relates to the narrative of Persona 4. Rise is going to dance onstage, with another idol group, Kanamin Kitchen, at the Love Meets Bonds Festival. Teaching her fellow Investigation Team how to strut their stuff, they will be joining her for a dance onstage. There is a mysterious urban legend going around concerning the official website for the Love Meets Bonds Festival. If anyone watches it at midnight, they are greeted by a strange video that plays on its own and features an idol dancing, who is known to be dead. Those who watch the video to its end are taken away to the “other side” and are said to never awake. It’s up to the Investigation Team, Yu, Rise, Chie, Yosuke, Yukiko, Teddie, Naoto, and Kanji, to bring them back. Instead of fighting shadows from the Midnight Channel, they use their personas to fight them using their dance moves on the Midnight Stage.
The people sucked into the “other side” are vulnerable because they seek something that they lack in life, a bond. They all want a special attachment to another who understands their wants and needs, and accepts them for who they truly are, since they fear rejection if they show their true self. The story mode proved that it did not fall victim to the conundrums of adding modes to games just as fillers.
Taking the game for more than a test-drive on both the PlayStation Vita and the PlayStation TV, it handled very well on both systems. There are six buttons that the player will utilize in their rhythm-tapping quest. The songs offer up occasional blue rings that utilize the analogs for a scratching effect. There is also the occasional “Fever Ring” that offers up more than just enhanced psychedelic-like graphics, but also the ability to have another one of the characters join up onstage, which completely does its share in enhancing the excitement of the gameplay experience.
The song’s difficulty is displayed as a star-rating. The difficulty level can range from a one star, up to 15 stars. There are three different difficulty levels, easy, normal, and hard. With the various difficulty rankings and levels, there is a sweet spot for any type of player, whether you are here to enjoy the show, or want one hell of a ride.
The characters’ moves include a variety of delightful dancing styles that will please the eye. They include moves we have seen and know and each character has their own dancing style that fits their individual charisma. The choreography for each character is a perfect fit to their personalities and adds their charm to songs they dance to.The songs that we know and love from Persona 4 are mixed and remixed to offer an entirely new experience with our favorite characters dancing along. Most of the game’s sumptuous delight lies in the soundtrack and the familiar faces that we are absolutely smitten with from Persona 4.
The songs are not too long and not too short, but rather provide the perfect length to fulfill a positive player experience. They hit that spot in the fans of the series that remained with us, after experiencing the original game. Being remixed, adds a special touch to the game that amps up the new feel, while tying into the nostalgic impact for a complete and positive Persona ambiance.
The Choreography mode allows the player to sit back and enjoy the moves of their favorite characters to their favorite songs. This mode, coupled with the ability to watch a replay of the last stage performance, allows for time to reflect on how to perfect the moves. Plus, a score collection of all the songs makes finding which songs need to be improved upon much easier.
The game’s fulfillment lies in the Free Dance mode that allows for all the dance time the player desires to indulge in. Just as expected from a music game, as more songs that are played, more songs are unlocked. Not only are more songs unlocked, but various partners to dance with, offering up many combinations to please the eye and offer a more customized stage feel.
Shopping with the game’s mail order television program, Tanaka’s Amazing Commodities, proves to be insanely addictive. Every item demands to be purchased. These are used to customize the characters with items bought, using their P$, which is the in-game currency earned by dancing in both the Free Dance and Story modes. There is much fun added to the Free Dance mode where the characters can be dressed into the fresh new gear and accessories, including their swimsuits and Gag Glasses that are fun to play around with. Players will find themselves constantly revisiting this mode to get their dancing fix in to bump up their score, to gain more P$, and to enjoy the soundtrack.
After completing both the Story and Free Dance modes, the players will be wanting more songs. Being that the story line is about Rise’s comeback to the stage as an idol, where is the inclusion of “True Story”? It would have been great to have both the original versions of the songs, along with their remixes. This would offer double the track list at launch and, while the remixes are amazing, so are the songs’ original versions. There are about 20 songs to begin with, plus one more available at launch, and downloadable tracks and costumes to follow, after the game’s release.
Other modes offer up even more to do. A favorite would be the Sound Player in the Collection section that allows songs to be added to a play list to bump the soundtrack anywhere and everywhere. Plus, there is a database of graphics and videos collected throughout the Story mode for later enjoyment.
Now, can a newcomer of the series and a devoted fan walk away from Persona 4: Dancing All Night with a fulfilling experience? The answer to that would be, “Absolutely!” The characters and story line are introduced in a manner that will be completely understood by a Persona newbie. Teddie takes the role of a teacher and provides a tutorial that quickly equips the player with the knowledge to polish up the proficiency needed for song mastery.
For those who hold a special place in their hearts for the series, Persona 4: Dancing All Night is truly a love song dedicated to the fans that the series has cached over the years since Persona 4 originally launched. While it was quite humorous to see the characters dance for the first time, among other things we will not mention, as not to spoil anything, it all comes together beautifully and quickly fits in to the scheme and narrative.
The songs will flood the player’s heart and mind with that nostalgic feeling that reminds us why we fell completely in love with the series to begin with. It is a great way to relive that experience once again and completely open the doors to the recently arrived.
Overall, the game truly touches the heart and soul of dedicated fans and still offers room in its stockpile of enthusiasts for more additions. We also welcome you with open-arms. Persona 4: Dancing All Night officially releases on September 29, 2015 and it is definitely a must-have title for the PlayStation Vita and/or the PlayStation TV owner and fulfills its promise of offering a mind-blowing Persona music-rhythm experience.
Click “play” above for the full video review!