Persona 4: Dancing All Night Hands-On Preview – Midnight Dance Battle

July 4, 2015 Written by Heath Hindman

persona-4-dancing-all-night-import-screens059

I’ve been dancing all week with Persona 4: Dancing All Night.

Step Your Game Up (Eh? Eh?)

Right away, I noticed an increase in challenge compared to most rhythm games. You wouldn’t expect it, given that this is a spinoff of a turn-based RPG (and therefore might not have a fan base ready to gobble up music games), but this game is no pushover.

I credit this mostly to the setup of button cues moving constantly in opposite directions, towards the edges of Vita’s wide screens. But in addition to keeping your eyes dancing, your thumbs will need to very quickly bounce back and forth between high and low — or rather, between sticks and buttons. Some notes need button pushes, others need flicks of a stick, which genre fans may have seen in Hatsune Miku.

Mai Waifu Ando Besto Furendozu

Obviously, the main appeal here is the Persona 4 characters, world, themes, and soundtrack. If you’re a fan of those — if you’ve considered a Persona 4 wallpaper at some point, drawn (or wished you could draw) some fan art, popped in the OST, or otherwise celebrated Persona 4 outside of simply playing the game, this game is very directly aimed at you. Atlus is just hoping that the music genre isn’t much of a barrier. And if it isn’t, there’s some real fun to be had.

Dancing All Night includes great songs from the RPG, and grants access right away to its charming, memorable characters. Free Dance allows players to bang out beats and unlock new songs, while Story Mode is…is a mode with a story. I guess I went into that sentence with different expectations or something.

Making any kind of progress gathers points and money, which can be spent on costumes, accessories, consumable items that can help you survive levels, and custom play modes. Some of those require more specific conditions, and clearing songs is the most common way to unlock new ones.

We Will Fight With Jazz

The story is pretty hilarious — I mean, it had to be, right? Some pop idols have been kidnapped and taken to the Midnight world… DUN DUN DUN! There’s a rumor of a TV station that goes live only at midnight, and shows images of dead idols. If you watch it, you vanish. DUN DUN DUNNNNN! The Persona 4 cast has to go to the Mayonaka Stage and figure out what’s going on. There are Shadows (enemies from Persona 4) which can’t be defeated with Personas because there’s a terrible voice suppressing Persona power.

But the Shadows like music!

There’s our ticket to victory, friends. The gang uses the power of music to out-groove the shadows. They can calm them down and defeat them, which involves you rocking the rhythm game. Do well enough and a Persona will a musical instrument will come out and put the final touches on things.

persona-4-dancing-all-night-article-screen1

How I feel after clearing a song.

 

 The story serves its purpose: fan service. We had to give the characters an excuse to interact with each other, solve problems, overcome adversity together, right? Since this is a music game, they also need an excuse to dance. Check and check right there. However goofy it may be, it serves its purpose and brings some smiles along with it. Good stuff.

Final Review Coming Soon

I really like what I’ve played so far. Hard mode is actually hard, and even Normal has taken me right to school, but that’s fine, because playing these songs and getting better is insanely fun. I’ve been mostly alternating between Story Mode and banging out songs on easy and normal difficulties.

All the while, I’m enjoying each character’s dance style and listening to these catchy tunes.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night is exclusive to the PlayStation Vita and expected to arrive in the west this fall. It was released in Japan on June 24.

persona-4-dancing-all-night-import-pa

The Japanese version of this game is available already, and can be easily imported to any Vita, because the system and its software are region free.