Persona is a spin-off from the Shin Megami Tensei brand. While the Shin Megami Tensei games are known for their difficulty, Persona games were a lot easier in comparison to them. The series took off in a great way with Persona 3 and 4 on the PS2 and since then, it has managed to keep climbing the ranks in popularity all over the world. Persona also has its fair share of spin-offs including a dungeon RPG, fighting, and a rhythm game.
The first Persona Dancing spin-off featured events from Person 4, and it was actually a decent rhythm game offering an alternative to the story-focused RPG gameplay. It brought back the characters that fans have known from the series into a rhythmic dance battle. While Persona 4 Dancing was a fun little spin-off, it was never as popular as the fighting games. Fast forward to 2018 and Atlus has now 2 more Persona Dancing games in their lineup. After playing both, it is obvious there are some cut corners here compared to Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
First of all, the biggest disappointment with the game is the lack of a proper story mode. Sure, as a spin-off or filler, there is not much to go on when it comes to the story elements. Still, it could have elevated the appeal of the game somewhat, even if mostly in term of the fan service. So with the story now gone, all you are left with is a simple rhythm game with an average gameplay. The other offline modes limit themselves to just social interactions with the cast where you have limited choice of interactivity. It does make for a cool PlayStation VR showcase though since the game support VR during in this gameplay mode.
Playing the two new Persona Dancing games together, there are no visible changes between both of them. Persona 3 and Persona 5 all start with the same story structure where the cast of each game gets transported to the Velvet Room. You are then explained the game’s rules by the Velvet room assistants which correspond to each entry in the series. So in Persona 5, you get the Twins, while in Persona 3, you get Elizabeth. The tutorial is pretty much the same between both games. If you have the Endless Night Collection, you will get a separate icon for each Persona Dancing game.
Some of the things that I liked were how each of the Persona games offered their own unique flavor. This is not just for the cast; the menu design resembles their mainline counterparts. In Persona 5, you get the same stylish menu while Persona 3 maintains the classic design. It is a neat little attention to detail for a game which shouldn’t have mattered, but it was still kept here. The song selection is also nice with popular tracks making the cut. It is not going to please everyone, but I felt like it was more than enough between the two games.
Customization is also something that is optional but helps to add some replay value to the otherwise lackluster gameplay modes. You can replay a song with a different character with customization added on top. It can also result in some hilarious character costumes. The choreography and dancing animations look great, and it was carefully planned around each character’s personality so every dance move feels unique to them. It never feels like a bunch of random dance moves are given to characters with a song.
What I hated was how limited the game overall feels. The social gameplay mode is just plain boring, even if you are a big fan of the Persona games. You can talk with the characters and have some limited interactions with them but that’s it. You unlock more conversations by completing the songs. I guess this will be a much more immersive experience for the PlayStation VR mode, but if you play it without a headset, it doesn’t really hold up that well. After you get done with the social events, the only choice left is to play through the songs again and try to improve your rank and unlock new customization. Overall, it doesn’t feel like a good amount of content is here if we talk about each game individually.
I also had issues with the gameplay. It feels too chaotic at times. There are many moves to keep track of and the system is honestly not that great or offers any depth. It does get the job done, but it never feels satisfying. On the positive side, the song is always well acted and of course, it would be a disservice to mention how good the soundtrack is in Persona 5. There is a total of 26 songs to play in the game including the opening theme which is a different version styled in the same way as the core Persona 5 game.
It is hard to recommend these new Persona Dancing games, even as a spin-off. There is content that feels like it was cut compared to its predecessor, and the priorities have changed now. More emphasis gets placed on the song selection and dancing itself, but there is no effort made to improve the rhythmic gameplay or make it more fun. Therefore, you can feel stuck with a game that had great potential but ends up merely being good. If I had to rate each title individually, this would receive a lower score.
Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection is mainly appealing for only fans of the series. Unlike the other Persona spin-offs, it is hard to feel like this collection offers anything satisfying to newcomers. But if you love the soundtrack and want to dance through the songs, this is basically as good as it gets. It also makes for a good test for the PlayStation VR, so if you have one and want to play through the social events, this is not a bad deal at all.
Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Test your rhythm gameplay skills with the ultimate Persona Dancing bundle! Includes: Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight, Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, & Persona 4: Dancing All Night!
Final Score - 8/10
Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection should satisfy all your musical needs as a fan of the series, but the gameplay is not exactly that great. The story in the two new Persona Dancing games is also terrible so strictly as a rhythm game, they are not that good. Taken as a whole, this collection offers substantial value bringing all the modern Persona Dancing games together.