Persona 4 is for Atlus what Final Fantasy VII was for Square Enix - just a damn masterpiece that fans can't get enough of. What Atlus did that Square has had trouble doing, however, is meeting that desire for more without making the spin offs...meh. Like Persona 4 Arena, Persona 4: Dancing All Night gives fans of Persona 4 the "more" that we constantly crave while maintaining the quality for which the Persona sub-series is so well known by adding "rhythm game" to the list along with "JRPG" and "fighting game."
One of the aspects of Persona 4: Dancing All Night that helps it succeed so smashingly is that it capitalizes on one of the original game's greatest strengths - its soundtrack. The soundtrack for Persona 4 is legitimately god tier, and this game takes that amazing soundtrack and mixes it with the storytelling and characterization that made us all fall in love with Persona 4 in the first place. Not only does it include the most iconic songs from Persona 4, but each song has a handful of truly stellar remixes. These remixes sometimes accentuate the original song's genre, and they sometimes change the genre for an all new feel, giving you choices ranging from soft and melodic ballads all the way to legit dubstep. The musical arrangement for this game really goes above and beyond, even compare to other series' spin-off rhythm games.
As was the case with Persona 4 Arena, the actual gameplay, while very well done, actually takes a back seat to the story. If you're familiar with Persona's long and plot-driven dialogue sequences, then you know what to expect; those fill up the space between rhythm sequences and deliver a story that would be right at home in an entirely new Persona game. The story follows Kanamin Kitchen, a quintet of idols with the same agency as Risette, and the Love Meets Bonds festival in which they both perform, making Risette's return to idol stardom after a hiatus following the events of Persona 4. Being a Persona game, nothing goes quite according to plan, and next thing you know, people are disappearing into some "other world" filled with Shadows.
Truthfully, you probably won't play this if you haven't already played Persona 4, and if you've played Persona 4, there's not a whole lot new that I can tell you. Take out the combat and dungeon crawling from Persona 4 and put rhythm gameplay à la Hatsune Miku in its place, and you've got Dancing All Night. The writing, voice acting, and art design are all the same high caliber that one would expect from Persona, and visually, the game is pretty much identical to Persona 4 Golden in terms of graphics. The sound, however, as one would expect from a rhythm game, is simply out of this world. I've got the Persona 4 soundtrack from my PS2 copy, but I'd love to get myself a copy of the Persona 4: Dancing All Night OST at some point.
As a rhythm game, Persona 4: Dancing All Night is damn good. As a continuation of Persona 4, it's absolutely incredible. It's not the best rhythm game I've ever played, but it's up there, and it's definitely got the best story of any rhythm game I've ever played. Vita collectors, Persona fans, and rhythm game fans, take heed - this is not a game that you want to miss. The Vita has a lot of DAMN good games, and this one is right at home with the best of them.
My Rating - 5 Neps
I'm Mr. Deck
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach history at a high school in central North Carolina; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.