The Persona series have almost seen it all. RPGs, Fighting games, dungeon crawlers. One of gaming’s most beloved protagonists have literally seen it all, and now apparently they will see some more through the release of the latest game from the series, Persona 4: Dancing All Night. The name can hardly go wrong here, since it basically explains the premise of what you will be doing for the next day or two. And you will enjoy every single minute of it.
Dancing All Night opens with the story facing a return of fan favourite, and also mine, Rise Kujikawa, who will be back on the stage for a welcome back concert. For this concert to happen though, Rise chose to have her group of friends join her on stage for this concert. This kicks off the game’s introduction storyline, which features a lot of dialogue between Rise and her manager and her friends, preparing you (and Yu, Persona pun intended) for what’s to come. Which, as mentioned above, is dancing, and a whole heck of a lot of dancing. The story also features villains, which are once again defeated through the power of dance, so at the end of the day, it’s all good really.
This is because the main gameplay mechanics in the game is to keep your character or characters dancing to the music by tapping the appropriate face buttons on time to the prompt on screen. There is not much more to the game, in terms of gameplay, but it definitely is much more to behold. First off, the characters dancing in the background are very well done, moving to the beat and in sync, not like some poor imitation game which barely manages to keep up with the rhythm. Second of all, the dancing is not affected at all by your performance, be it solid or poor as hell, so unlike guitar hero, where you will get boos, dirty looks and even wrong chord strikes, the only reaction in Dancing All Night which signals your poor performance is someone shouting at you to up your game. It feels fresh that your own mates in the game are cheering you up, so it would be in your best interests not to let them down.
Since this is a game which depends heavily on music, it must have a more than decent tracklist to keep players hooked. Thankfully, the answer to this non-question is a resounding yes, thanks to the great soundtrack of the game, but given the quality of the score of recent Persona games, this should not come as a surprise but on the contrary as something that has to be in the game. Dancing All Night features original songs from other Persona games, remixes to existing songs as well as introduces new tracks specifically for the game, which in itself creates a mix of familiarity and novelty within the songs to entice both new and old players alike. Atlus really takes care of details like these to maximize appeal for veterans while keeping a fresh approach in order to attract new adopters.
As always with the Persona series, the characters give a feeling to the game which is not conveyed to the player through any other game. Gamers are able to sympathize with the gang so well it almost feels that you are part of the same group of people, and start treating them as your own friends. Or am I the only one who does that? Seriously? Dammit. The characters, even the new ones such as the Kanamin Kitchen crew feel very realistic due to their different behaviours, and help the story settle in more than it would have done without them.
The only problem I have found with the game, if I have to be completely honest, is the fact that they changed Rise a little. Her looks have not changed that much, or maybe the graphic style used in Dancing All Night makes her look a little different than Arena Ultimax, but what bothers me the most is the voice. Not only they have not retained the same voice actor as the last game, but her new voice does not fit her very well. It is just my opinion in the end, but the voice actor in Ultimax was a much better fit than the new voice actor is, no offence to anyone obviously.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night is a proof to the fact that games developed upon stupidly famous Michael Jackson music videos are a secret to success. Jokes apart, Atlus have done an amazing job once again to create a spin-off with the same characters, same setting and same tone into a completely different genre and mood for that sort, and still make it work. The writers for the series have definitely done a very good job on this game, and with Persona 5 on the horizon, I really cannot wait to see what more they can come up with!
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.