By Steve Baltimore / December 19th, 2018
|Title||Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection|
|Release Date||December 4th, 2018|
|Platform||PlayStation 4, Vita|
The time has finally come to check out the latest two entries in the Persona Dancing series. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight and Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight have both arrived on the PlayStation 4 and Vita. I was also able to check the port of Persona 4: Dancing All Night since it was included in the Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection. Let’s see if this collection found its groove or just fell flat, shall we?
The story here is pretty basic. The Twin Wardens challenge their older sister Elizabeth to a contest in the Velvet Room while master Igor is away. They all heard that Margret’s guest had resolved an incident by dancing not too long ago. This of course leads to this contest between the two to see whose group is the best. Will the SEES team come out on top? Or will the Phantom Thieves steal everyone’s hearts?
The entire story is basically told with social link cut scenes. This isn’t really a bad thing, since your favorite characters still have some wonderful interactions with each other, the game is fully voiced, and you can even have that Japanese dub you always wanted! Just don’t go into these two expecting a story on the level of what you got with Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
I cannot speak for the Vita versions but the graphics are greatly improved on the PlayStation 4 this time around. Both Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight and Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight look fantastic and the upscale on Persona 4: Dancing All Night isn’t that bad either. All of the character models have been improved in the new games and the video packages that play during certain videos have been amped up as well. I mean the girls look fantastic in all of their new outfits, especially Ann! (Yes, I am biased.) All the games run really smooth at solid 60 fps and there is no slow down of any kind.
Any decent rhythm game worth its salt has to have an amazing tracklist. Thankfully all of the games in the Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection deliver here. We already know all the amazing tracks found in Persona 4: Dancing All Night so I will just be talking about tracks found in the two new games. Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight includes great remixes such a “Brand New Days (Yuyoyuppe Remix)” “Mass Destruction (Tetsuya Kobayashi Remix)” and “Kimi no Kioku (Atlus Meguro Remix).” There are some normal versions of your favorites as well such as “Burn my Dread” and “Brand New Days.” Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight is no slouch either with another amazing tracklist. This one includes “Last Surprise,” “Rivers in the Desert,” “Price” and tons of other great remixes as well. I know some were complaining about the amount of DLC tracks and while I think that is fair, I don’t think that Atlus skimped out on the main game just to have more DLC, because this is simply not the case here.
The gameplay is exactly the same as it was in Persona 4: Dancing All Night. Notes will fly from the center of the screen to the outer ring. There are set positions on the ring for three of the D-pad directions and three of the face buttons. You simply enter the proper command when the note is in the center of the position. The scratch notes are back as well. These are rings that start in the center of the screen and move outwards. You will need to either tap the analog sticks or use the top triggers to hit these notes when the ring lines up with the outer ring. You will not be penalized for missing these or not hitting them perfectly, but you will have to hit them all to perfect a track.
Players will need to look out for those Fever Rings as well. These are just like normal scratch notes but hitting three of them in a song section will trigger Fever Time. This brings out a partner to dance with you and really boosts your crowd score! Since I loved the last game I had blast here as well. I’m sure some would’ve liked to have seen the gameplay tweaked a bit more, but I go with the old saying “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” I really love all of the gameplay modifiers you can unlock here as well. These can make tracks easier or more difficult depending on which ones you use. Making a track easier will of course cost you some of your score while adding difficulty will boost it. These add a lot of replay value to every track here which is a great thing!
As I said before, the story here is told through social link cut scenes. These social links are unlocked by meeting various requirements while playing the game. Some unlock by hitting a certain amount of perfect rings, using a required amount of costumes or accessories and more. Upon viewing these scenes you will unlock a variety of things. These include costumes, accessories, modifiers, tracks and more. The only issue I had with this setup is some of these requirements are pretty grindy. I played for around 10 hours and there were some I wasn’t even half done with yet. I guess this was set this way to keep you playing, but I think adding more modifiers to gameplay would’ve been a better option.
I have to say, while I thought the story was a bit lacking and some of the unlocking felt like a grind, I had a wonderful time with the Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection. The gameplay is still rock solid, the characters and animations have improved over the last outing, and there is tons of replay value here. I loved all the playlists and the VR model viewer was a nice touch as well. I know folks may think the $99 price tag is a bit high, but that’s 33 bucks a game for three pretty great games, so I don’t really think that is too bad personally. If you’re a Persona fan this a must-own collection of titles, and if you’re just a fan of great rhythm games in general, you’ll find a lot to love here as well!
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
AtlusPersonaPersona 3: Dancing in MoonlightPersona 5: Dancing in Starlight