Light theme

Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight review
Meh
by Pandsu

Persona 5 has one of the most unique, best soundtracks of recent memory, so a rhythm game based on that sounds pretty neat on the outset, especially if, like me, you are a fan of the genre. The problem is, however, that a large portion of this great soundtrack is more on the down-beat, chill side, which doesn't exactly lend itself well to high-energy rhythmic gameplay.
There are a few songs that work great in that context, such as the Opening Theme or battle music. But that would hardly be enough content for a whole rhythm game, leaving Atlus with the more low-key, mellow stuff that works amazingly in an RPG, but not really when isolated in this way.
Atlus tried to remedy this by remixing a majority of tracks to shoehorn them into this game, with pretty underwhelming results. These remixes are serviceable, especially if you only give them a single try here and there, but they really aren't anything I'd listen to outside of playing this game, let alone choose them over their originals, which makes the collection of music, even with the DLC added, a very mixed bag that mostly didn't feel worth my time. A pretty big issue in any music-centric game. Though I do realize how subjective that is, and your mileage may vary.
I just personally really disliked a lot of the remixes and only a small handful I actually found enjoyable.

Another thing that separates the good rhythm games from the bad ones is how those songs are being used and how they translate into gameplay.
While I do enjoy how the game inserted story, characterization, aesthetics and social features from the main game into the context of a more casual experience like this, that unfortunately remains the title's biggest strength.
When compared to, say, a Hatsune Miku: Project Diva, the dancing sequences playing in the background during stages (those that have them, which isn't the case for all of them, especially when talking about the DLC) also felt like Atlus put in a fairly small amount of effort and thought. Movements feel random and repeat often and don't often mesh with the songs that are being danced to. In the aforementioned Miku games you get song-specific sequences, all with their own environments, sometimes even telling a story, complete with unique dances designed specifically for any given song. Persona 5 Dancing just kind of feels like a cut-and-paste job in comparison.

The beat maps, for the lack of a better word, also aren't very satisfying. They aren't exactly off-beat or anything, but it doesn't feel like their placement or rhythm has been given much thought. I did feel similarly about the Miku games and think that Pop'n Music, Guitar Hero or the Osu/Elite Beat Agents games are a much better example of how to make you feel like you're really merging with the songs you're listening to.

All in all the game is playable and a decent encore to the story of the base game with a nice walk down memory lane when it comes to the soundtrack. The presentation outside of the actual choreographies is great and even during the main gameplay there is some charme to be found. There's also a nice sense of progression with how new songs, costumes and social interactions/story bits are unlocked.
Still, I felt like I was more-or-less wasting my time as I played it and when I judge this purely on the merits of a rhythm game, I can't help but highly recommend others mentioned in this review over this one.
«Boooring»