The difference between a good game and a great one is multiple high quality aspects. It isn’t just the gameplay, story, art or whatever that stands out, it’s all or at least multiple of these things. For Persona, a lot of people flock to the story and quirky elements, though sound has always been a delight. Naturally, the most logical spin-off is a rhythm game. Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection combines the quirky elements that people love, with the music they enjoy. With bold ideas paying off in the past, is it enough to transcend to non-fans or is it an excuse to use the name?
Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection makes the interesting choice of limiting the story. Considering the source games, Persona 3, 4 and 5, are all about story, these games settle for explaining the situation. It isn’t surprising, there is only so deep you can make a rhythm game(s), though it might be disappointing for long time fans.
Even if the core adventure is a bit lacking, there are a number of character specific events. Some are silly, such as the ones directed at their desire to dance or lack of experience, with others adding levity to the situation. These scenes will likely delight fans, with there being enough context for newcomers to immediately grasp the situation or their core personality.
Outside of story is a fairly straightforward journey. Players will have a small handful of songs, which can be played on a variety of difficulties, which unlock a new song, followed by another set being added. Every song starts with the ability to edit the main character, with cleared songs giving players the ability to edit the back up dancer. This is important, as Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection takes a lot from Hatsune Miku’s Project Diva series.
In addition to having a wide variety of songs and characters from the corresponding title, every song has a specific dance routine or animation. Even if there are predetermined dancers, their costume and look can be changed. This is though a variety of unlockable costumes and accessories, both of which come more with time than skill. These costumes range from school uniforms and basic glasses, to unusual looks and headphones. It’s enough to keep casual players playing and hardcore fans something to look forward to.
Where Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection takes a hit is gameplay. Similar to Project Diva, players need to watch multiple different locations and push the corresponding input. Where things get tricky is there is a lot of looking around and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Until you get use to noticing smaller details, such as the icon that indicates there is an input somewhere, it isn’t hard to miss a beat or fail to notice a note. As difficulty increases, so does the likelihood of it occurring.
There is a decent learning curve, with each difficulty adding a little more to each song, though it can be overwhelming at first. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to pass songs or even see the full routine. By being able to maintain a decent combo you’ll collect enough fever for the alternate dance and players can further decrease the difficulty by simply ignoring thumbstick inputs.
Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection is a good rhythm game, but not a particularly great one. The dances, costumes and events are solid, though gameplay could be a bit better. Between easy to miss inputs, occasionally hard to see prompts and asking thumbstick inputs makes it tricky. Not enough to ruin the experience, if anything it will all come with practice, though it is not as intuitive as Taiko no Tatsujin or DjMax. Even still, between the fun visuals, cute dances and returning to the beloved settings, there is enough to delight fans, even if it starts off rather bumpy.
[Editor’s Note: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]