Persona 4: Dancing All Night

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Dancing All Night is the latest in the Persona 4 game series. This time Yu Narukami and the rest of the Investigation Team have to dance and get their grooves on in order to solve another mystery and rescue missing teen Idols. Will Dancing All Night boogie its way into our hearts, or will it be left all by itself on the dance floor?

Presentation:

Dancing All Night, much like Persona 4, Q, and the Ultimax games, continues the tradition of being incredibly beautiful to look at. The backgrounds during the dancing segments are incredibly bright, and colorful. At times, you really have to pay attention to the rhythm markers because they can get lost in all the effects happening in the background! If you have played any of the Persona games, the presentation remains familiar, with background images and gorgeous character art for the conversations. There is A LOT of dialog in the story mode, but most of it is voiced by the cast from Persona 4: Golden, minus Laura Bailey as Rise. Due to scheduling issues, Rise in Dancing All Night is voiced by Ashley Burch, the same VA that played Rei in Persona Q, and Tiny Tina in Borderlands 2. The Persona games have always had some of the most detailed character art, and Dancing All persona4dancingallnight-riseNight is no different. Atlus really knows how to artfully create  characters ranging from beautiful to terrifying, or even freakish. While the art looks great, you will be seeing a lot of the same backgrounds over and over during Story Mode, but mixed into it are really well done anime cutscenes, which are pleasures to watch when they randomly pop up.

Gameplay:

If you have played games like Elite Beat Agents, Hatsune Miku, or any other rhythm games, you will know what to expect with Dancing All Night.  You have to time button presses in order to net points and clear levels. Each song has a specific character that will dance to it and if the player keeps their score high enough throughout the level, a “FEVER” gauge will fill, and at points during the song, an additional character will come on stage to dance along with the level’s dancer. This doesn’t affect the gameplay at all, but simply adds to the visuals on the screen. The characters will talk to each other while they are both on stage, and they will also call out to the cast off stage, but you will hear the same lines over and over again.  More lines of this would have helped. Coming from a very deep and complex RPG series, it is somewhat disappointing that there aren’t any RPG elements incorporated into Dancing All Night.In Final Fantasy Theatrythem there was a blend of
RPG elements with the rhythm genre; there are levels of Story Mode that lead up to what in an RPG would equate to the boss fight. However, in Dancing All Night, the levels play out exactly like any other, which is a bummer when you think of the crazy and intricate boss fights from the other Persona games. Adding some sort of variety to the more important story levels would have done a lot to hit the larger story elements home, and be something to look forward to.

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Story:

Dancing All Night comes with a good amount of content straight out of the box. There are 2 main game modes:  Story mode and Free Dance. Story mode is what you would guess. The story mode is 8 chapters long with an additional special chapter, and will last you about 6 or so hours, depending on if you skip any dialog and just play the rhythm levels. With 29 tracks and 4 difficulty levels for each of them, there is a lot of dancing you have access to without having to spend anything extra. There are additional songs that are available for people to purchase off the Playstation Store that range between 1 and 2 dollars. There is also an in-game shop that lets you buy additional costumes and accessories for the cast for use in the Free Dance mode, using the in game currency you accumulate from completing levels, with DLC costumes available of the Playstation Store for actual money as well.

Final Thoughts:

Persona 4: Dancing All Night is a strange beast when it comes to talking about who it is geared for. It is obviously a nod towards lovers of Persona 4 and its soundtrack, but it is such a far departure from where the RPG’s source material comes from, that I’m not sure how well it will resonate with that group. On the other hand, the strange story and setting may be a turn-off for fans of rhythm games, who would not be affected by the fan-service of getting more of the P4 Investigation Team. While I do hope that if this series continues they add in some RPG elements with it, I enjoyed my time with Persona 4: Dancing All Night. It is a solid title for the Vita and Playstation TV. If you are a Persona 4 die-hard, I think you will get your money’s worth out of this title.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night gets a 7.5/10 !

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Written by: Scott White

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