Persona 4: Dancing All Night -First Impressions-

I’ve spent a good long while with this game now…and while I can’t go into in-depth detail yet (You’ll have to wait for our upcoming review for that), I thought I’d give you all a few of my thoughts on the game. As I tend to do with Persona-based titles, I’m gonna be tag-teaming this preview/review with Ruben (Our P4AU review is here, as always). One thing to note: My experience on the Vita TV will be on the left, while Ruben’s experience on the Vita will be on the right. Now, let’s get some first impressions.

1: This is a rhythm ass rhythm game.

All things considered, it’s pretty straightforward as rhythm games go. There are six inputs in a circle surrounding the center of the screen. These correspond to up, down and left on the d-pad and triangle, circle and x. When the input crosses the corresponding part of the screen, you hit the button. notes where you hit two buttons at once are also in there, and notes where you hold buttons are also in there, as well as “scratch” notes that are based on you hitting the left or right joystick. These scratch notes are optional, and don’t affect your rating…though they DO give you the opportunity to enter “fever mode” that increases your score temporarily, and brings a guest dancer into the mix. Of course, like any rhythm game, if you fail a lot, you run the risk of dropping out. All in all, it’s a simple enough rhythm game without many bells and whistles to it.

To follow-up with what Brian said, it is a very straightforward rhythm game. I have a lot to say about it, but we’ll save that for the review. For now, what I can say is that this game, for a Persona fan, hits the right ideas on the head. If you’re a rhythm-game fan like me, this game does not offer too much challenge or variety to keep you going in the long run.

2: There’s a canon story mode.

I won’t go into the details of the story here, but I will tell you that yes, it is canon to the Persona franchise. It’s structured in the same way the P4AU story mode was, with branching paths following different characters at different points. Also like P4AU, it plays a lot like a visual novel interspersed with songs here and there. All your favorite characters come back, and they have jammin’ new Idol outfits. The basic setup has the Investigation Team joining Rise for her comeback at what they’re calling the “Love Meets Bonds” festival, where they’re all going to perform as dancers onstage. It’s a basic setup, but like any Persona game, it goes places.

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Thank god this game has a story mode, for it’s the main draw of the game in my opinion. There isn’t much more to say than what Brian said, but I’ll add that as far as choosing how hard the songs that you must perform go, you get to choose either “EASY” or “NORMAL”. If you think those aren’t challenging enough and you want to go higher, too bad{def}AKA. Me.{/def}. There will definitely be a lot more to talk about in our review about the story mode, for now just remember: “Bonds”.

3: There’s a lot of Persona music. 

There’s a solid mix of tracks in the game from throughout the Persona 4 “Franchise” (I.E. P4, Golden, Arena, Ultimax, Q, etc.) and a lot of the songs are also remixes of previously existing tracks from the games. In all, if you find yourself liking the previous game’s music, you’ll probably find some stuff you’ll like in there.

Boy, you’d better be a fan of Persona music, because it’s definitely all Persona music. While there are numerous tracks that I do enjoy quite a bit from the series, I felt that there was a lack of variety in style, as Persona music (not just in the “4” series either) likes to keep to a certain theme both instrumentally and vocally. Due to the decently sized library though, I do not find it difficult for even myself to find enough songs I enjoy to play for a good period of time.

4: The dance animations look Great. 

Somebody did a lot of mocap for this game, it’s clear that this wasn’t just some MMD animations put over video like Project Diva.

This is probably the most impressive part about the game. The characters’ models look fantastic for a dancing game, their motions are fluid and move to the music wonderfully. Sometimes I wish I could just set the game to auto-play and watch the dance instead{def}*hint* *hint* Future patch idea Atlus please.{/def}.

5: The game has the best damn opening of all time. 

Seriously. I can’t stop watching it and listening to it. It’s boppin’ as all hell.

While my favorite opening song in the franchise is probably the anime’s second opening key plus words, I have to say the visuals for this opening are definitely the best.

6: Console platform matters.

As a Playstation TV player, I wish there was a way to calibrate the game. As a Vita game, it’s a feature that wouldn’t be built into the game standard, but there’s a noticeable lag between the notes and the song on my TV.

I noticed that there was no calibration option in the game, while this might be introduced in a future patch{def}Not holding my breath.{/def} it’s definitely not necessary if playing on a handheld Vita. I can imagine though that since different TVs have different refresh rates that there would be some timing issues playing this game on a TV. For a game that’s advertised as being “Vita TV compatible” they didn’t think this part through too well.

Overall First Impression

I may have sounded a little harsh in the first section, but I honestly do like this game. There’s so much more to go into in the coming review, but this is overall just a fun game with a cast that we’ve all come to know and love.

We’ll see you guys later.

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