The Ninjabot

Persona 4 Dancing All Night Review: I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Teddie

Posted on October 23, 2015 at 10:59 pm by Victor Chaves


Yes, that is right, this is a review for a game that is based off a JRPG, is a rhythm game, and is also exclusive for the Vita; you can’t get much more niche than that. Persona 4: Dancing All Night is a music rhythm game in the style of the Hatsune Miku rhythm games where you can have characters from Persona 4 dance to music that was remixed from Persona 4. If you played Persona 4 and Persona Q, you absolutely already got Dancing All Night, and you are just reading this review to confirm that, yes, Persona 4: Dancing All Night is a fantastic game.

Legendary Soundtrack

The number one question is the quality of the music, and of course if you enjoyed any of Persona 4’s music then you 100% need to buy this game. The music, although remixed, retains a familiarity that works to not only attract, but to be memorable. Think of it this way, when making a soundtrack for a game, the composer is writing for the sake of functioning in a game. However, when composing for a game that is about music, the composer is more focused on making something way more listenable without the context of mashing buttons on a controller. It’s why although I adore the soundtrack to the third and fourth Persona games, Dancing All Night transcends to the point of not needing a game to be more enjoyable. Consider that songs on Rock Band don’t need the game itself to be enjoyable, but that the songs are enjoyable in and of themselves. That is Persona 4 Dancing All Night‘s soundtrack.

That isn’t to say the original tracks for Persona 4 didn’t tap my feet, but the new remixes by Akira Yamaoka (of Silent Hill fame) among other remixers serve to elevate the already fantastic qualities of the original pieces, like adding cheese to an already amazing hamburger. It’s hard to quantify why I love Dancing All Night’s music so much, as there are so many tropes that it incorporates including dubstep, the typical house music build and drop, and random raps, and despite all that I still enjoy each piece whole heartedly. As I’m typing this I’m listening to the soundtrack and jamming out to the point of distraction. Naturally you should check out the soundtrack online, as everyone’s tastes are different. Consider also that this is Japanese composed music with mostly English lyrics, it has been my experience that some may not enjoy that.

Hot Thumbs Make Hot Heels

The gameplay itself is simple, six buttons to press in time with icons that move from the middle to the outside of the screen. The sticks can be used to do a scratch sound that is totally optional, but serves to add a bit to the depth of the experience. The mechanics serve well enough, but one issue may be the fact that the area to concentrate on notes is too wide. Games like Dance Dance Revolution or Rock Band have you concentrating in a small area of the screen, but Dancing All Night offers the challenge of having to swing your eyes left and right in order to see all the notes and survive. The game isn’t unfair as to drop a surprise note on the left when you’re concentrating on a complicated sequence on the right, but the need to hop back and forth does detract a bit from the groove.

There is a story mode, which is sort of the worst part of Persona 4: Dancing All Night. It’s set in the style of a visual novel (imagine just dialog boxes for dozens of minutes, then a dance, and another dozen minutes of talking) where the gang is helping their old friend Rise with her comeback performance, except they get sucked into another dimension and dance to save other people who were captured. The characters themselves are endearing (I like how Naoto seems to have visually grown up), but there isn’t any real character development at all. The story only gets interesting near the end when the slow-dripping mystery finally resolves, but several hours of humdrum story didn’t make this revelation any sort of “worth it”.

Fireworks in your Hand

But you don’t play Persona 4: Dancing All Night for the story right? It’s not Persona 4: Reading All Night; you are interested in the music, characters, and the dancing. What I haven’t addressed yet is how great the visuals are. Environments filled with dancers, moving stages, and all sorts of flair gathers up to be just as interesting as the music itself. It’s easy to notice that the characters dances are choreographed with care so as to reflect their personality, which makes watching them boogie a total delight if you’re a fan of the series. The go-to examples are Nanako and Kanji, where Nanako being a cute little girl dances as children often do, simple and communicating a fun feeling while Kanji literally punches a wall and has a wide stance to act as tough as possible (in spite of his soft preferences).

There are other fun little things like other characters joining in the dance with you, and calling your persona at the end of a song to do a quick jam session. You can also buy some silly and fun costumes, although some are a bit too risqué. Rise dancing in a swimsuit doesn’t feel right.

Final Thoughts

As I’ve stated before, if you aren’t already in the super niche category of Persona 4+Persona 4 Music Lover+rhythm gamer, then you are probably not interested. If you are that person, then the only reason you don’t have Persona 4 Dancing All Night is because you already spent money on Persona Q. Wherever you fall, it is because Dancing All Night is some of the most fun and entertainment I have had in a rhythm game for a long time, that I suggest you listen to the soundtrack and decide then if you’d be interested. If you’re not, whatever. I’ll just be here cutting up ALL the rugs.

Presentation: 9

Gameplay: 6

Replay: 10


Follow Victor on Twitter @fake_brasilian to see him dancin’, groovin’, and movin’.

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