Persona 4: Dancing All Night
With the imminent soon to put Kanji, Yukiko, Teddie and co into retirement, Atlus has squeezed one more title out of its mystery-solving teenagers: a rhythm-action dance game that should, in theory, be a cheery send-off.
Tradition insists otherwise, however. An overlong, horrifically paced story mode gives the team another supernatural mystery to solve, this time involving the members of an idol pop group who have been kidnapped and taken into a shadow world. Here, enemies are immune to a style duffing up, but a confident dance performance will see them off. Luckily, the Investigation Team have spent their summer holidays practising for a stage performance, and have developed some pretty nifty dance moves.
Occasionally, you’ll actually get to use them. The balance of rug-cutting to yarn-spinning is tipped towards the latter: it’s almost half an hour before you first set foot on a dancefloor, and a few minutes later you’re tapping through reams of dialogue again. As a work of fan service, and one last opportunity to spend some time in the company of a likeable cast, it seems fair enough. But it’s a poor fit for a rhythm game, one that might have been better subtitled Hit enough special rainbow-coloured scratch markers and a partner will jump on stage to briefly throw shapes. Even when dancing alone you’re offered noisy words of encouragement from all your offscreen pals
Thankfully, Free Mode strips things back to the bare essentials: select song, difficulty, dancer and partner, and away you go. Doing so exposes the limited song selection – just 27 are on offer, and there are duplicates too, with remixes from the likes of Akira Yamaoka ( and Yu Miyake ( More songs, and characters, are available as DLC, and there’s plenty of replay value in the higher difficulty tiers, but it’s hardly a generous offering. Suddenly that overlong story mode makes a little more sense.
Once the beat drops, however, concerns subside. This is a novel rhythm-action system, in which icons fly out from the centre of the screen in one of six directions. Differently coloured icons signal simultaneous or sustained presses, while a blue ring signals a ‘scratch’, triggered with a flick of an analogue stick. It can be difficult at times to pick out beat markers amid the technicolour stage backgrounds and frantic choreography, but the gleeful enthusiasm of the performances means you won’t be frowning for long.
Not for everyone, will suit players who love rhythm action enough to overlook a lack of content, or who love enough to forgive the length and leaden pace of its script. The few whose tastes lie in the centre of that small Venn diagram will see this as the highest form of fan service, and a playful leaving do for the Investigation Squad.