Persona 4: Dancing All Night
Reviewed on: PS Vita
Since PaRappa the Rapper I have strived to put my hands on anything rhythm related. From Gitaroo Man to Rock Band, my palms sweat with excitement at the idea of tapping/drumming/strumming rhythmically trying to keep up with the rapidly moving screens. Persona 4: Dancing All Night was absolutely no exception. Persona 4 embodies everything I love about a console based rhythm game sans instrument attachments. This is your classic rhythm game using only the buttons on your Vita to keep the music flowing.
The mechanics are simple to pick up and the multi-faceted cast from the Persona world keeps you intrigued and also helps offset the flashing lights and random explosions on screen while you crush each phase of the story and songs. Fans of rhythm games will find themselves quickly picking up the buttons and rhythm and the game difficulty scales well as you learn to handle the changing levels. The music, while not my preferred genre, is perfectly fitted to the style, rhythm, and challenge level of the game, having the game on my Vita is a blast as well, since this game plus headphones is almost too perfect.
While the rhythm mechanics and actual gameplay is incredible, the story is where the game can be picked apart. While I don’t require a game to be a Dickens novel to be entertaining, I also require the story to matter, and in this case it simply doesn’t. This is a rhythm game, and all I want to do is mash buttons and shake the system to the rhythm of the random techno and Jpop songs to weird imagery. Within ten minutes, not only was I tired of trying to mash my way past the story I couldn’t care less about but I was ready for more dancing. This isn’t to say there isn’t a story there, taking place shortly after Persona 4: Golden, Rise Kujikawa is back in the world of entertainment and is training her friends to help as back up dancers at the Love Meets Bonds festival, then for some reason you are warped to some sort of alternate dream dimension dealy where you are dancing to escape or something. Again about three minutes into the game the ol power mashing thumb came out to carry me past the needless story to my next rhythmic adventure. This created a sort of emotional rollercoaster that went from elation to disappointment as I finished a level and was then forced to view more story.
Aside from the obnoxious story, the game itself is a ton of fun. If you can sneak past the story (maybe wander off for a beer or soda in between games) you will thoroughly enjoy the actual rhythm game portion of Dancing All Night. If you’re looking for something to do with your PS Vita aside from playing PS1 ports and occasionally revisiting a cross-buy title then this is a great addition to your collection. You may even enjoy the story more than I did, I’m not opposed to thinking there are those out there that will get something from it, but I can definitely agree that a story in a rhythm game is unnecessary. Go forth, skip the story, rock some sick dance moves, and make your Vita worthwhile for a bit longer.