The beloved Persona series has seen more than its fair share of spin-offs over the years. 2012’s Persona 4 Arena was a solid fighting game, while 2015 saw the same characters taking to the dancefloor in Persona 4: Dancing All Night. The Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection continues the dancing theme with rhythm games based on the third and fifth entries in the series. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight and Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight come bundled with Dancing All Night for a wholesome package that’s sure to please Persona faithful, even if the individual offerings are a bit thin.
Including Dancing All Night with the Endless Night Collection may have been a poor decision because it highlights the shortcomings of Dancing in Starlight and Dancing in Moonlight. Dancing All Night features a fully-fledged story mode where the characters of Persona 4 go on an imaginative dance-related adventure. It provides decent reasoning as to why the characters are suddenly all dancers. The other two games offer nothing similar.
Instead of a story mode, Dancing in Starlight/Moonlight both start with an incredibly thin premise, presenting you with little more than “you’re here, now just dance” before letting you loose. As an alternative, there are Social scenes you unlock by completing milestones, like wearing 10 different accessories or hitting a certain amount of Perfect notes. These little vignettes are fun and engaging and the cosmetic items you unlock for watching them are a good enough incentive. However, they’re not a great substitute for Dancing All Night’s story mode. The scenes are enjoyable if you’re a fan of the characters, and they provide some nice downtime after a particularly challenging song, but they ultimately made me want a more connected throughline.
The rhythm portion of the game is mediocre at best. It’s a rudimentary system that uses six buttons to hit oncoming notes. They come in the form of singles, doubles, holds, or a quick double-tap. There are also DJ scratches that won't penalize you for missing but will reward you points for nailing. It’s a very straightforward rhythm game that isn’t going to thrill anyone with a lot of experience in the genre.
You can tweak your experience with gameplay modifiers to make it more or less complex. Unlocking them requires you to achieve certain milestones and they can make songs easier or harder. Support modifiers (like making the crowd hype meter climb automatically) make it harder to fail a song. Challenge modifiers (like making you incur a penalty when you miss a scratch note) require extra vigilance. Your score increases or decreases depending on which you play with. This adds interesting variables to consider and some sorely-needed depth.
Thankfully, the music is excellent. In typical Persona fashion, a unique fusion of genres and sounds will flood your senses with eternally funky beats and rhythms. You’ll hear everything from jazz to hip-hop to metal, with a lot of tracks mixing a blend of all three. The music is so enjoyable that hearing it ends up being more rewarding than playing the game. You get the itching feeling, particularly when you get to some of the more elaborate remixes, that the simple and boring nature of the rhythm game is letting down the amazing music.
If you’re a fan of Persona’s musical style, there’s more than enough to keep you entertained. All the tracks you know and love from the RPGs are all here. There are also a number of B-sides and even some live recordings. You’ll get a Perfect play of a song to watch once you beat it. I found myself putting these on in the background because the music is just so infectious.
Aside from the Social scenes, the only real incentive to keep playing is a constant stream of stylish cosmetics. The dress-up component that lets you put the myriad of unlockable glasses, outfits, and hats onto the various characters. The fact that this is one of the few reasons to keep playing through songs speaks to the Persona Dancing’s lack of variety of depth. It’s disappointing that a game with a lot of potential feels empty and underwhelming.
The Endless Night Collection comes bundled with Persona 4: Dancing All Night. This is the first time it’s seen a home console release, with the original only ever coming to PlayStation Vita. It’s a shame that it won’t be seeing a standalone release because it’s the densest game in the package. The lengthy and engaging story mode is a fun time that provides a nice background to the songs. The music is great and the mechanical offerings are identical to Dancing in Starlight/Moonlight. The only problem is that Dancing All Night looks significantly worse than the sharper and more vibrant games that were built for the PS4.
Dancing in Moonlight/Starlight both support VR, but I didn’t have access to this for the review. It would be fun to see the vibrant showcases that go alongside songs up close. Still, I can’t imagine it adds much. There’s also a weird mode where you can walk around the dorm rooms from Persona 3 or a very typical anime dress-up mode. If you really love the characters from these games and want to get all up in their faces then I guess this is for you.
Ultimately, Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection may seem like a dense package, but it’s actually surprisingly slight. These are passable rhythm games, at best, offering a few hours of great music and wholesome character moments. Unless you’re a huge fan of the series, there's not much here for you.
TechRaptor reviewed Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection on PlayStation 4 with a copy provided by the publisher.
Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection offers a solid dose of Persona that fans off the series are sure to love, but the content is a bit thin and the rhythm game is mediocre at best.
- Great Songs And Remixes
- Fun Character Scenes
- Ton Of Cosmetics To Play With
- No Story Mode
- Rhythm Game Is Mediocre At Best