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Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection review
by GameItAll

If there is one thing that the Persona series gets a huge amount of praise for – it’s the music. The praise is rightfully so as the series has had huge concerts in Japan to celebrate the games, and what better way to help celebrate the music is to put the tunes and some of the best remixes into a Rhythm game.

It worked well for Persona 4 with the originally PSVita exclusive Persona 4: Dancing All Night, which at the time we reviewed a solid 8 out of 10 thanks to the catchy music, a great challenge and a great reason for the Persona characters to dance.

It’s been three years since then and now Atlus is coming back to the Dance scene and this time bringing the SEES and Phantom Thieves to the party in two separate games on PS4 and Vita, or as one giant collection which gives you the only way to play Dancing All Night on PS4. While the Persona 4: Dancing All Night port is exactly as it was on the Vita, only with better sound and visual quality, we’re going to focus our review on Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight.

Both Dancing in Moonlight and Dancing in Starlight have a similar story. The respective crew members of the SEES and Phantom Thieves are invited to Club Velvet in a dreamlike state and are greeted by their respective Velvet Room Attendees (Persona 3’s Elizabeth and Persona 5’s Caroline and Justine), the crew has been tasked to solve a bet that they can out dance the other team.

This is the only bit of story that you’ll get from the game that feel like it actually means something – unlike Persona 4: Dancing All Night’s full story which involves taking on the shadows of a JPop group. Both P3 and P5 dancing gives you something else that act more as fan service by introducing Social Links.

Social Links are unlocked by completing specific challenges for each character, from hitting a certain amount of notes perfectly, using challenge modifiers, or getting a brilliant or higher ranking on specific songs. Completing these task unlock a small cutscene that will have the leader character (Yuki or Ren – aka Joker) talk with the other team members about their dance and help them solve their various issues.

Social Links provide another bonus to the game as viewing these will unlock new content including clothes, accessories or modifiers. This differs from P4D by removing the store option to unlock content via money earned and gives completionist players plenty of reason to come back to songs and try higher difficulties to beat the challenges and unlock more.

The gameplay however remains largely the same as it did on the Vita. With players dancing to various songs from respective Persona Soundtrack (and several remixes), players will have to match the beat by a series of commands utilizing the Triangle, Circle and Cross (x) buttons on the right hand side, and the up, left, and down direction buttons on the left, there is also the Scratch which is done via the analog sticks. It takes a couple of songs to get used to the layout but with enough practice, pulling off Brilliant and even King Crazy rankings becomes a natural occurrence on easier levels.

If the game gets too easy, or if you want to make a certain aspect of the game easier, you can always add modifiers. These can both help and hinder your progress by changing the speed of the notes, how your fever meter fills and more. The modifiers also affects your score, with more helpful modifiers lowering your percentage while challenges raise the score, giving you plenty of reason to explore and play around with the selection.

The biggest thing that I notice with the two games is how distinct the music is, Persona 3 seems to have more of a hip-hop and dance club inspired tunes while Persona 5 is more jazzy. That being said, it still suffers from P4D’s issue of reused music, with the same song used at least twice with remixed variations. Although thanks to a better audio quality and a better mix of style – these remixes are probably the more enjoyable tunes in the game.

One bonus feature that they don’t mention a lot in the promotional aspects is that both games have are PSVR compatible in certain modes, specifically in the Collection area which gives you the ability to view characters in their unlocked costumes, and character rooms which are unlocked after completing specific tasks. While it does nothing for the dancing aspect of the game, it’s a nice additional feature for those with a PSVR headset.

While not much has really changed from Persona 4: Dancing All Night, P3D and P5D gives us just enough of an upgrade in presentation to be an improvement, and while the Story Mode is a missed feature thanks to a throwaway setup, the Social Links is a great way to keep track of progress and gives us more down-time with our favourites Persona characters – although a bit bittersweet for Persona 3 fans.

Based on the review copy of Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight provided by Atlus
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