Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)

Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro, PS Vita
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Optional (P3D & P5D)
  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
  • Cross-Buy No
  • Cross-Save Yes (P3D & P5D)
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
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Title: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (23.76 GB) – Full Collection
Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight (9.60 GB)
Persona 4: Dancing in Moonlight (9.61 GB)
Persona 4: Dancing all Night (4.55 GB) – Only available as part of the bundle
Release Date: December 4, 2018
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
Original MSRP: $99.99 (US), £TBD (UK) – Full Collection
$59.99 (US) – Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight
$59.99 (US) – Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: TBD
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Editor’s Note:
The Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection includes the following PlayStation 4 games:

  • Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight – also available on its own for $59.99
  • Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight – also available on its own for $59.99
  • Persona 4: Dancing All Night

This review also includes the Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection for the Vita ($69.99) which consists of:

  • Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight – also available on its own for $39.99
  • Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight – also available on its own for $39.99

Gameplay:
When Atlus first announced a rhythm game spinoff for Persona 4, I was excited as a fan of the game and the music. The game they released was a good time and was evidently successful enough that Atlus has now given similar rhythm game spinoff treatment to Persona 3 and Persona 5 (sorry fans of the older Persona games). Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight are basically the same game, just reskinned with the proper cast and songs, so this review will cover both at once.

The bundle I was sent for review also includes a port of Persona 4 Dancing All Night, the progenitor of this miniseries. Oddly enough, the game is not available as a standalone purchase so I won’t cover it too much. Outside of being a little prettier on PS4, it’s the same game that released on the Vita. I already have a review that you can read here if you want my thoughts on that game.

With P4D being well received, P3D and P5D use pretty much the same basic gameplay. As with most rhythm games, the basic objective is to hit the proper notes with the proper timing. However, unlike most rhythm games which feature notes scrolling in a single direction, Persona Dancing has notes radiating outward from the center of the screen. Notes can reach either side of the screen to note the proper timing.

In theory this would make it a very difficult game but in practice I was able to get used to the system without much trouble. Notes are accompanied by a ring that can help guide you toward the proper timing and you quickly get used to scanning the screen in the right places for the notes.

Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)

In addition to the normal and hold notes, Persona Dancing also has scratch notes. These can be hit by using the analogue sticks, touch pad, or L1/R1 (if enabled in the settings). Hitting certain scratch notes can fill up Fever time, which activates at a set time to give a minor gameplay bonus and allow a guest character join the dance.

For the most part I enjoy how Persona 3/5 Dancing plays. The songs are charted pretty well, though there were one or two places where I didn’t care for it. These were usually on the song bridge on lower difficulties where they’re trying to keep from over charting. This was only on a few songs though and the rest were good, though for a seasoned rhythm gamer they do tend to be a little on the easier side.

Unlike P4D, these games don’t have a full story mode included. Instead, there are a series of eight social vignettes with each character. Unlocked by meeting different in-game requirements, these vignettes are short little conversations with the characters of the game, usually focused on that character’s thoughts on dancing or just general fooling around. After some of the later ones, you can also explore that character’s room, searching for a hidden card.

They also give the basic setup for the game: after hearing about how the cast of Persona 4 resolved the events of P4D with dancing, Elizabeth and Caroline/Justine got into an argument about whose group would have resolved it better. Unable to come to a conclusion, each velvet room helper gathered their respective cast in a dream where they could show their stuff dancing but where they’ll forget all about it in the morning.

Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)

The little social scenes are pretty fun, especially if you’re coming into the game familiar with the characters. I loved the ones in P5D, as it was basically an excuse to see more of the characters I already like. Having not played Persona 3 yet, I enjoyed the P3D scenes but wasn’t able to get into them as much. They mostly assume you’ve played the RPGs and know the characters.

While I’ll get into the specifics of the music more in the appropriate section, song lists are basically content for a rhythm game and much like P4D, P3/5D are a little limited. Each has twenty-five songs in the base game, but a number of songs are doubled up with both normal and remixed versions – and one song is even included a third time as a live performance version in one of the games.

That’s not a ton of songs, but it’ll still take a few hours to play through them all. And there’s also a lot of unlockable content in the form of costumes and accessories to customize the characters, and song modifiers which can make songs easier or harder for fewer or more points at the end. All told it took me a little shy of ten hours to unlock everything, though I knew how to do it all from the Japanese version. High score chasing can give it some replayability, if that’s the kind of gamer you are.

Optional PlayStation VR Content

Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)

Visuals:
I’ve often said that the designers at Atlus have an impeccable sense of style and the Persona Dancing games are no exception. Everything from the menus to the animation and character designs are on point. The anime-style cel-shading is beautiful and suited to the game and series. Even the 2D animation used for the opening themes is fantastic.

The characters look great and it’s especially cool to see the Persona 3 cast with modern graphic capabilities, a huge step up from their PS2 or PSP incarnations or the 3DS spinoffs. The fantastic costumes and accessories are icing on the cake with some really fun and interesting pieces.

Even the accessories are worn correctly, for example where one set of headphones or a mask will be moved to where it makes sense based on a hat or helmet you also have on the character. A small detail but a great one nonetheless.

And the animations are wonderful too. There’s a good sense of each character’s personality in their dancing style whether it’s Haru’s ballet inspired dancing or Akihiko incorporating his fighting style into his dance moves. Fever sections are even better when a guest character jumps in for some partner dancing. I loved watching Futaba and Ryuji ‘dancing’ together in a dorky and hilarious way, for example.

Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)

Audio:
Music is an important and integral part of a music game. I loved the music in Persona 5 and I continue to love it when it’s front and center here. The songs themselves are catchy as all get-out, especially with some of the new remixes of old favorites from the RPGs.

The one place the game is lacking is in quantity. Twenty-five songs put the Persona Dancing games on the low-end of music games, especially if you’re looking at getting just one of the games at full price. Some of the songs are included twice, as a remixed version, though in practice many of the remixes have a different enough feel to not make it matter much. And the songs are mostly full length songs as opposed to the minute-thirty that some of the more arcadey rhythm games provide.

Outside music, the games are good in the as-expected kind of way. You can change the note sound effects to a few different kinds in the menus. The non-dancing cast of characters also talk and provide encouragement during songs, which is fun and I didn’t find it distracting. That can be turned off as well. Finally, character voices (both for the vignettes and the song-encouragement) can be set to either English or Japanese.

Online/Multiplayer:
The only online component is a per-song leaderboard. Unfortunately, much like Persona 4 Dancing, my scores didn’t always seem to upload. Uploading is off by default but even when I had it on, it seemed like there may be some delay in the leaderboards updating. Sadly, the ability to watch the replay of others on the leaderboards doesn’t seem to be included in P3D or P5D. It’s a strange omission of something that was in P4D even on the Vita.

Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)Review: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection (PS4/PSVR/PSV/PSTV)
Left: image while using VR in the viewer mode.

Conclusion:
There’s a lot to love about the Persona Dancing games. Great music, animations, collectibles, and especially presentation help buoy an otherwise pretty standard music game. As always, I enjoyed more time with the characters I fell in love with in the lengthy RPGs and while a rhythm game seems like a weird flex for the series, the games work very well. The great amount of modifiers are my favorite feature while the small tracklist (pre-DLC) is the largest sticking point.

If you’re missing hanging out with the Phantom Thieves or the members of SEES, and would like to do it in a music game setting, I’d recommend the Persona Dancing games. If you’re not a Persona fan and just interested in the rhythm game part, there’s probably less of a draw. That said, I think the games hit the rhythm elements solidly enough and are fun on their own. Now, where can Atlus spinoff the Persona series next?

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature and the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson

A longtime PlayStation fan who enjoys JRPGs and rhythm games when he’s not tweeting about his parrot.

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