Developed by:ATLUS Published by:ATLUS Genre(s):
  • Rhythm
  • Platform:
  • Handhelds
  • Sony
  • Cost:$49.99 ESRB Rating:TEEN Players:1 Release date:September 29, 2015 Reviewed on:PSVita

    Persona 4: Dancing All Night

    The wait is finally over. Persona 4 fans rejoice as the continuation of our favorite group of teenage friends with extraordinary powers and deductive skills is upon us! But if you are expecting another social JRPG, think again. ATLUS has decided to release a rhythm game as fan service for all of us Persona lovers out there. So does Persona 4: Dancing All Night (P4D) hold up to our expectations, despite the change of genres? Is there a story mode? Is the game even fun? The answer to all of those questions is an unequivocal YES!

    The story follows a month or two after the end of Person 4. Rise is attempting to return to Idol status (basically a pop music star) and has the great idea of inviting her old group of friends to act as backup dancers for a big concert festival scheduled to happen in the city. While practicing, they hear rumors of a mysterious online video that only plays at midnight on the main website for the concert. Once a user watches the video, they are transported to another realm, seemingly never to return. Apparently, the rumors were true as most of the rival idol group, Kanamin Kitchen, has up and disappeared. Now it’s up to Rise and her friends to band together and use their Personas to save their rivals, the festival, and ultimately the world.

    There are a couple of game modes to choose from at the start, though since we started with the story, let’s go over that one first. This mode is broken up into separate story lines as the team splits up to investigate and search for the members of Kanamin Kitchen. What they soon discover is that the shadow monsters (the game’s antagonists) can only be defeated through dancing. That’s right; in order to save those who’ve been taken, Rise and the gang will have to bust a move. And while it sounds silly to dance battle evil, it actually works for P4D’s lengthy story mode. Spanning about ten hours long, those who stick with it will come to appreciate all of the work the developers put in to making the narrative matter.

    If you were expecting a rebranded Hatsune Miku rhythm game, think again. The similarities end at the two being the same genre. The characters we’ve grown to love look amazing. ATLUS really took the time to make them shine with high quality 3D renders and well animated dancing that looks amazing on both the Vita and the PS TV. The backgrounds are also lush with details that represent both the real and shadow world amazingly. As you engage in a dance battle with the shadows, the dancing doesn’t change if you make mistakes. When you hit the notes correctly, though, the dancing seen in the background seem as if it is an extension of your button presses, which makes for a more engrossing game.

    Going further into the gameplay, being a music game, one has to expect onscreen button prompts. In P4D’s case they are clear and concise, although correctly following them does take a bit of getting used to. There are only six buttons used for the rhythm aspect of the game, set in two semi-circles: Up, Left, Down on the D-Pad and Triangle, Circle, and X. The prompts come from the middle of the screen and fan out to either side of these circles, alerting you to press the corresponding button in time with the music. There’s also a scratch mechanism that utilizes the analogue sticks; you just have to press one of them in any direction to scratch. Again, it can be a bit tricky at first, especially if you try to use the touch screen controls over the buttons. That said, once you’ve gotten the hand of things you’ll be set for life. It’s kind of like learning to ride your bike, except with music and monsters. There are two tutorials available in-game that you can always refer back to if things get too tough though.

    As you complete levels, you’ll gain in-game currency to use for costumes, accessories, and power-ups. The costumes and accessories are aesthetic only and do not change the gameplay in anyway. The power-ups, however, do. They can make the game easier at a cost of in-game money and score, or harder which will give you a higher score and more money. Most will probably up the ante as the game defaults to “easy” (a song’s difficulty can’t be changed until you’ve played it once). That isn’t necessarily true for the free mode, which lets you dance till your heart’s content. An unlockable extra-hard mode called Dance All Night is also worth checking out. That is, if you don’t mind the excessive hair pulling as you succumb to frustration…you know, in a good way.

    There are 27 total songs in the P4D. 19 are unique, while the others are remixes. All the songs are from Persona 4, obviously, and most are head boppingly well done. Yes…I said “boppingly”. I found myself humming time and again as I replayed songs for a higher score; my aim not soley on bettering my rank on the online leaderboards as I enjoyed the music. DLC, both free and paid, will be available at launch with more coming down the pipe. Some DLC are just songs with videos attached, like the title and credit sequences from the Persona 4 anime, while others introduce new playable characters. Basically you have plenty of reasons to keep P4D off the shelf.

    I’ll admit, Persona 4: Dancing All Night is not for everyone. Not everyone wants to sit through a ten hour story mode of a rhythm game. I’d still recommend this to anyone as the game is rather entertaining. For Persona 4 fans out there who want to see their favorite characters in a new adventure, this should be a no brainer. I’m excited and glad ATLUS ventured out of the RPG box and went way out in left field to the rhythm genre. It’s definitely a Japanese/niche game, but I’m ecstatic that they localized and released this to the United States and Europe. Give it a try. If you enjoyed Persona 4, you’ll have a great time with Dancing All Night!



    Takes getting used to, but only a song or two before you are hitting all the notes. The story mode is surprisingly deep.



    I'm always amazed at what the PS Vita can accomplish. Definitely the best graphics I've seen in a Vita game in a long time.



    The music is superb and catchier than most pop music out today.

    Replay Value:


    I'm still coming back in hopes of besting my best performances!

    Final Score:


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