Game franchises taking a new and unexpected direction for their spinoffs isn’t anything new; just look at Mario Party and Super Smash Bros., for instance. Still, when Persona 4: Dancing All Night was announced, I admit I was a little taken aback. I never actually got around to trying that one, but with sequels spanning the casts from Persona 3 and 5 launching on PS4, along with a remastered version of Dancing All Night, I’ve had the opportunity to boogie down. You can purchase each title individually, but as a whole they’re called the Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection, and they’re similar enough that we’re going to address the set as a whole.
While Dancing All Night has something of an overarching plot, Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight are focused almost entirely on rhythm game action. Each title has the cast of their respective RPG get together and boogie down to tunes from the series. Between tracks, characters can interact with one another in skit format; in Moonlight and Starlight, this is essentially the entirety of the story, such as it is.
I found the overall experience was somewhat comparable to the Project Diva series of Hatsune Miku titles. Icons fly to the edges of the screen, you press their respective button, successfully doing so produces better results as your characters gyrate around like John Travolta. There’s around 25 songs per game with varying difficulty levels, so there’s a fair amount of content here if you end up enjoying the way things work.
As mentioned, you can purchase each game individually, but they’re all so similar that if you think you’ll enjoy this sort of gameplay it’s probably best to drop $100 or so for the Endless Night Collection. Between the three games, it’s probably easiest to recommend Persona 4: Dancing All Night thanks to its more significant plot. It’s certainly not because I think Kanji is the best character in the series. No sir. In terms of actual music, Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight gets my vote, but there’s something to be said for the way that the genres differ between each game what with P3’s hip-hop, P4’s pop and P5’s smooth jazz.
From a presentation perspective, well, it’s a rhythm game. You’re basically watching music videos. The choreography, such as it is, tends to be fairly interesting, though between the three games I found P3 fell short compared to the others; there’s something to be said for the “Fever” mechanic that changes up each song’s performance as well. You’re here for the music, of course, and the Persona series is known for its fantastic soundtrack so there’s nothing to complain about on that end. If you’ve got a PSVR, by the way, it’s compatible with P3 and P5, so knock your headset-clad self out.
If you’re a Persona fan looking for another hit of those games’ fantastic storylines, well…you can sort of get that with Persona 4: Dancing All Night, but that’s not the point here. Instead, fans of the spicy soundtrack from the Persona series are going to have a great time getting down with the Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection. The gameplay is simple enough and doesn’t vary much between games, but there’s a pretty huge chunk of music and moves to enjoy between these three titles.