2015's quirky spin-off Persona 4: Dancing All Night was a pretty cool portable rhythm game and now, it's available for PS4 along with 2 brand new dance games based on Persona 3 and Persona 5 in one convenient collection.
Before I discuss the individual games, allow me to explain just what Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection is. Basically, it includes an uprezzed version of Persona 4: Dancing All Night and the new Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight. For the unfamiliar, the core gameplay of all three of these games involves tapping or holding six buttons whenever icons cross their respective nodes. You can also perform scratches by tiling the analog stick but other than that, it's incredibly simple and accessible to play. That being said, the challenge can get pretty intense on certain songs, especially if you decide to ramp up the difficulty setting. Being able to master songs while entering Fever mode only to watch your character dance with a partner is super-satisfying albeit simplistic.
With the basics out of the way, I'd like to discuss some odds and ends about this collection then I'll dive into the included games. On the plus side, these three games combined contain a ton of content. If you purchase the whole package, you can play through loads of familiar and remixed tracks from their respective games, dance with dozens of awesome characters, and unlock a ridiculous amount of content. I'll explain more game-specific features in a bit but for now, I'll just say that gradually unlocking everything contained within these games is a treat and it will require a lot of rhythm game skills as well as time to see and do absolutely everything.
On the other end of the equation, there are plenty of downsides to this collection to keep in mind. For starters, I found it exceptionally difficult to play on my big screen TV as the button nodes are dotted around the perimeter of the screen so my eyes frequently struggled to keep up with the prompts. I then decided to play it on a small monitor and found the gameplay to be much easier. It's definitely made for smaller screens. Also, considering this is on a major console, I expected there to be some sort of multiplayer component but there is none. I don't know about you but dancing by myself often pales in comparison to dancing with a partner.
Finally, allow me to discuss the individual games. I'll start with Persona 4: Dancing All Night because after all, it is the first in the series.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
This is the game that started it all. It was clearly made for the Vita but the visuals look fantastic on the big screen. Plus, the selection of music is near-perfect with plenty of energetic and familiar melodies that feel like they were made for a rhythm game. What makes Persona 4: Dancing All Night stand out is the fact that it includes a full-fledged story mode where you watch characters interact then occasionally dance. I personally found some of the scenes to go on for too long but I can't hold that against the game because I know many fans will appreciate watching the cast of characters discuss the minutiae of what's going on. Overall, this was a great Vita game and it's just as great on PlayStation 4 although it's still the same game so if you already own it then it may not be worth getting again.
Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
Here's where things start to turn from great to mediocre. Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight took the gameplay of Persona 4: Dancing All Night and basically slapped a Persona 3 skin on it complete with different music and characters. One dramatic change is that the story mode is gone and instead, you unlock social events where you can watch characters interact upon completing certain tasks. They sort of act like achievements in a way. In the end, Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight feels more like a comprehensive expansion pack than it does a whole game. With the exact same gameplay and only new music and characters, it's a generally disappointing experience.
Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
To my surprise, Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight is basically the exact same game as Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight except with different songs, characters, etc. It has identical menu items and modes so it's essentially just more of the same. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing but I was expecting something fresh and exciting. I should mention that both this and Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight make use of PlayStation VR by allowing you to enter certain characters' rooms and although this is cool for those who want to virtually hang out with their favourite characters, there really isn't any way to actually play anything in VR. I also want to discuss the quality of the music. Whereas the tracks in Persona 4: Dancing All Night are fantastic, these other 2 games contain some pretty lame remixes that simply don't live up to the original versions. This is especially true in Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight as I felt they butchered many of the tunes.
Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection is merely an expanded version of Persona 4: Dancing All Night with no substantial changes or additional modes. It's still fun but there's no denying that Atlus could have provided many more reasons to hit the dance floor.
- + Contains loads of awesome music and familiar characters to delight Persona fans
- + Gameplay is accessible yet tricky
- + Lots of rewarding content to unlock
- - Dancing in Moonlight and Starlight feel more like expansion packs than full games
- - Gameplay doesn't adapt well to big screens
- - Some remixes are lame / no multiplayer