First Thoughts on the Persona Dancing Games

So, many years ago, I bought and played the “Persona 4 Dancing All Night” game. I liked it. It seems that other people liked it too, or at least enough that they released dancing games for the other two modern Persona games, “Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight” and “Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight”. I decided that I’d buy them for the PS4, and decided to get the collection that included both games as well as the digital download of Dancing All Night. So far, I’ve played pretty much all of the S-links that I really want to do in the new games, and so only have the grinding cleaning up to do, so I’m about to replay Dancing All Night and see what I think of it.

The big difference between the new games and Dancing All Night is that the new games don’t have an actual or set story. Instead, they use the ludicrous but good enough premise that after the events in Dancing All Night Margaret, Elizabeth and Lavenza got arguing over which guest would be the most inspiring with dancing, and so Elizabeth and Lavenza gathered all of the characters from the other two games together in a dream to dance and prove which team is better. Spoiler Alert: Both teams “win”. Anyway, that premise is most explored in Lavenza and Elizabeth’s specific Social Links, and if you manage to see all of their links — earned by seeing the links of the other characters — you unlock them as dancers. The others have their own links that unlock various things like costumes, accessories, and Support and Challenge modifiers.

The Support and Challenge modifiers are a great idea, and fit into the philosophy of these games about, for the most part, letting you play the game how you want without having to feel like you’re losing out. You can unlock all of Elizabeth or Lavenza’s scenes without having to see everyone’s scenes, and get most of the costumes and even most of the other characters without having to pull off anything really difficult. The Support and Challenge modifiers allow you to customize your experience, with Support modifiers making it easier — like having Good results not break combos — and Challenge modifiers making it easier. But you can combine these modifiers in almost any way you want — the game won’t let you take modifiers that conflict with each other, like making it so that you can miss on scratches but then have scratches automatically succeed — to really customize the experience. The modifiers change your score — Support decreases it while Challenge increases it — but unlike Dancing All Night where you needed points to purchase new things points seem to be solely for show here. As stated, you unlock those things in the new games by advancing links and doing things in-game.

I’m not sure if I like the change to accomplishments rather than points. The problem with accomplishments is that it tends to force you to do things you don’t really want to do. The biggest examples of this, oddly, are some of the easiest ones to get: use a certain number of costumes or accessories. All you have to do is do dances and keep changing accessories and costumes, so it’s a relatively simple grind … but it means that you have to select outfits and even characters that you wouldn’t do otherwise just to advance the link. This forces you into doing things that you don’t find as enjoyable just to finish the links. It seems to me that the points system, while still grindy, allowed you to grind more with dance experiences that you more enjoyed than what happened here.

I’ve finished all of the links that I cared about in both Dancing in Moonlight and Dancing in Starlight, but still have some to finish. In the first one, I have the two really grindy ones where you need to get a high Max Combo number and need to get a lot of Perfects — Akihiko’s and Aigis’ — left, as well as Ken’s where you need to clear tracks with Brilliant’s and Junpei’s where you need to use a lot of accessories. In Dancing in Starlight, I have the last two links cleared, and so only need to finish Ryuji’s (Combos) and Yusuke’s (Perfects). But since I don’t really care about them I’m going to move on to replaying Dancing All Night and might come back to them later.

For the most part, I found Dancing in Moonlight to be more difficult than Dancing in Starlight. The dances seem more complicated, even on “Easy”, especially Mitsuru’s. That being said, the dances and character models seem more appealing in Dancing in Moonlight, especially Mitsuru. I’m not sure which game I prefer. Both are fun, but right now I find Mitsuru and Elizabeth more interesting than the characters in Dancing in Starlight, which makes me lean towards that one.

And let me end on a hint: if you want to clear the links that require playing a lot of tracks, there aren’t enough tracks on “Easy” to do that, so the easiest way to do that is to unlock the highest difficulty and then start there and work your way through all the tracks without hitting a single button, letting them fail. The link only requires you to start it, not finish it successfully, and on the highest difficulty levels you’ll fail it in seconds. And one of the modifiers requires you to fail a dance in under ten seconds, so you’d clear that at the same time. It’s boring, but faster than actually trying to complete the tracks.

2 Responses to “First Thoughts on the Persona Dancing Games”

  1. Things vs Experiences | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] the experiences and have the memories, but nothing else. On the other hand, if I spend $100 on the Persona Dancing games, I now own those games. I can play them every night if I want to. I can put them aside for months […]

  2. What I Finished, What I Played in 2018 | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] also managed to get more Persona time in, with the Persona 3 and Persona 5 dancing games, as well as replaying the story mode of Persona 4 dancing game. For dancing games, they were […]

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