First Impressions from a persona and music game fan.

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megabite10164

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#1  Edited By megabite10164

I intend to put up a user review but I don't want to put final impressions down. Because the game is so fresh I wanted to put something up for Dooders who might be looking for something.

Probably a 4 in the end. Played through all songs, part way through Story Mode, 4:19 with the game total.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night is a fantastic game for people who like the Persona series and/or people who like rhythm games. There are some problems I have with the design of the game itself since they changed styles (and the team) from the Project Diva style to this circular style. Call me a traditionalist but I believe charting the notes in any other way than a direct bar like DDR or Rock Band will provide an inferior gameplay experience. That holds true here but I will say that they added a bunch of options and modifiers to make it so that you can find something to help you read the weird expanding notechart of this game.

It's understandable why they would do this because while Project Diva did a better job creating a more unique gameplay style, it still has the same issue of direct bar games where you don't notice ANYTHING but the notechart. This circular style does exactly what they want by allowing/forcing the user to focus on the center of the screen for the notes but also focuses on the background animations as well. I've seen (and enjoyed) more video from this game than the 12 year's I've been playing the beatmania series. So this compromise in gameplay seems to make up for it by allowing the player to actually enjoy the visual design of the game while actually playing it.

Like all Persona games, it's soaked with style, character, and fantastic music. The characters all dance like you would believe them to. For example, Chie dances with a Kung Fu vibe while Naoto has a more precise ballet style. The remixes of the music are almost all home runs and there's a variety of musical genres that I wasn't expecting although the bulk is what you expect. Story mode is 99.9% visual novel and... It's not my cup of tea but whatever. Only a small amount of content is locked behind it's completion. The setup is kinda interesting with a view of how the business of idols work in Japan.

I would say it's not an instant purchase for most people. It took me about 4 hours to run through everything with a couple replays of favorite songs on hard. It's a good game but the notechart prevents me from just suggesting it to everyone. It's better if you are a fan of Persona than a fan of music games because of the decisions they made with the gameplay. This is 100% fan service but god damn it's great.

Also, I’m with Jeff. Miku should just say out.

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chroipahtz

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Update this after you unlock All Night mode. Interested to see if that changes things.

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megabite10164

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So concerning that, I will say there's a big improvement between Medium and Hard for the notecharts. Making it easier by forcing notes to be on the downbeat instead of the 8th or 16th note (or worse triplets) is unfortunate.

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ArtisanBreads

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I am not a rhythm game fan so not interested in the actual game, but have to say the soundtrack is excellent. I love the Persona 4 soundtrack and the remixes in here are outstanding.

Particular stand outs: Heaven (Norihiko Hibino Remix), Jika Netto Tanaka ~Urban Breeze Elegant Style~, Reasoning (推理) ("P4D" ver.), Dance Hymn of the Soul (Disco In Velvet Room).

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The game truly comes into its own on All Night difficulty with challenge items enabled. That's the core of the game to me, with Easy to Hard feeling a bit too basic in comparison.

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kmfrob

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I'm genuinely not trying to troll here or anything, but can somebody explain to me why the soundtrack for Persona 4 is held in such high regard? I know taste is subjective so it's impossible to state that any single person has great/poor music taste, but even so I did not find any of the game's tracks (other than perhaps Kanji's sauna tune) to be particularly great. In fact after a while, I had to turn the sound off and listen to something else because of the sheer repetitiveness and saccharine nature of it all. I can understand reverence for more orchestral scores like those you traditionally get in JRPGs, but a J-pop heavy soundtrack like this just bewilders me...

I lived in Japan for a couple of years and am a Japanese translator by trade so I have experience in learning to enjoy various Japanese quirks and sensibilities, but I've never been in a position where I could genuinely enjoy J-pop. Sure it is extremely evocative of modern Japan itself so its inclusion in the game makes sense, but I really can't bring myself to actually consider it great music when divorced from the actual game.

Anyway, again I genuinely am not here to troll, I am just curious as to what it is that people enjoy so much about it. I only recently played through the game for the first time so it's still fairly fresh in my mind. If you want, you can read my (decidedly mixed) feelings on the game here (I may have been a little overly harsh of it in writing this blog as I have come to realise there is much more to uncover by starting a New Game +).

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megabite10164

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I think there's two ways of looking at it, one you already answered to a certain point. Just for more background on me, I've never been to Japan, I'm already not a fan of JRPGs, I've listened to a large amount of Japanese music for an American but in comparison to someone who has lived in Japan (or Weebs) it's a very small amount.

I'm an American and Japanese music is weird. At it's core, Japanese music is based off pentatonic scales where as western music is based off a heptatonic scale. Sure western music has influenced Japanese music significantly but it's only been occurring recently and the pentatonic style is still very prevalent in nearly all forms of music coming out of Japan. (Look Example!) Asian Kung-Fu Generation appear almost identical to an American pop rock band, from instrumentation to song construction, but they sound extraordinarily different to someone who's only been listening to western music. That alone has an intrinsic value that makes me want to listen to it. Now back to Persona.

Persona 4 is the one JRPG I've played the most of (Besides Metal Gear) since Earthbound. One of the attractive values of Persona is that it has a contemporary setting and of course, that extends to the soundtrack. They also did something else that I would call interesting; almost all of the lyrics are in English. Sure it's not perfect English but in comparison to most Japanese Engrish I think about it's miles ahead of the pack. So we now have a story about high school students with high school problems backed by an soundtrack that sounds, at first listen, like western music. As an American I can relate to this way more than before. Now add in the fact that there's a constant uncertain tone to the story and now that Western music sounds a little bit more foreign. The music itself is almost always upbeat in comparison to the events that are transpiring around the team so almost every single aspect of the game is relatable to my culture but in reality, it runs just slightly parallel and I think that difference is what makes the Persona series resonate so much more to the American audience then the other SMT games. That also extends to the soundtrack.

I'm gonna bring it up in my review but there's a lot of parallels between Dancing All Night and Theaterhythm (Persona v. Final Fantasy) to be made and a mark for Dancing All Night is the contemporary music chosen for the series. You can appreciate the grandeur and emotional impact of "To Zanarkand" but you sure as hell can't jam out to it.

People like to jam.

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StarvingGamer

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@kmfrob said:

can somebody explain to me why the soundtrack for Persona 4 is held in such high regard?

@kmfrob said:

I know taste is subjective

Ayup.

Also personally, when I listen to music from a game, it also triggers emotional memories of the game itself. I can't hear Reach Out to the Truth without getting goosebumps and little endorphin rush. I loved every minute of playing Persona 4 and those feelings have been subconsciously intertwined with the music that I listened to for the 200+ hours it took me to beat it on PS2 and Vita.

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Teddie

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#9  Edited By Teddie
@starvinggamer said:

Also personally, when I listen to music from a game, it also triggers emotional memories of the game itself. I can't hear Reach Out to the Truth without getting goosebumps and little endorphin rush. I loved every minute of playing Persona 4 and those feelings have been subconsciously intertwined with the music that I listened to for the 200+ hours it took me to beat it on PS2 and Vita.

Yeah, I'd never want to listen to that 8 minute final boss track without having experiencing it in-game first, but because of the memories (that fight was an insane hour-long ordeal), it's still great to listen to even years later.

Also the way it transitions into Reach Out To The Truth is amazing. Reach Out To The Truth is amazing.

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Zeik

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#10  Edited By Zeik

@kmfrob: Honestly there's nothing more to say about it than the simple fact that I like it. The songs are catchy and enjoyable and I like listening to them. I even had them on my MP3 player for awhile and listened to the music well after I had finished the game. I never got tired of it. (Ironically I'd consider the sauna theme one of the weaker ones in the game though, lol)

It's not like I listen to j-pop normally (in fact I don't think I've listened to any j-pop outside of a game ever), nor am I super into all things Japanese (my love for Japan is almost exclusively video game related), but P3 and P4 have some of my favorite video game soundtracks ever. Part of that is of course because I really like those games, but that can't be the only reason, because there are plenty of games I love that I don't hold the soundtrack in as high a regard.

There's no deep hidden reason behind it, just for whatever reason there's something fundamental about the music that is endlessly pleasurable.

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FrostyRyan

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@megabite10164: Did you just call Metal Gear a JRPG series?

@kmfrob:If you understand that taste is subjective and music especially is very subjective then I don't understand why you'd even bother asking especially since you're in the minority tbh.

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@megabite10164 Cool man, interesting stuff. I never even realised that about Japanese music! It's cool to know! And I get the juxtaposition of the uneasiness that certain scenes in the game create vs. the largely upbeat nature of the music, it's just for me it created these almost two separate games that didn't entirely sit well together. But then again that is kinda the point of the game I guess. Still though that's an interesting take.

@zeik@starvinggamer Sure, look I get the nostalgia kick. In the same way that I can still (on occasion) become extremely moved by the music from FF6, 7 and 8, I get that your experiences with the game are intrinsically tied to your memories of playing Persona.

@frostyryan Because sometimes it's interesting to talk about taste. I like to hear about why other people might like something that I don't. And music is no different to any other subject. Otherwise why even bother having music criticism at all? I'm sorry but I really hate that attitude!

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Zeik

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#13  Edited By Zeik

@kmfrob: Like I said, I don't really think it is simply nostalgia. The music is one of the many reasons I fell in love with the game in the first place, not simply something that reminds me of that game. Nostalgia would be something like if I heard some music from Suikoden 2. Hearing tracks from that would bring back warm fuzzy feelings, but it's not the type of music that gets stuck in your head all day even when you're not playing. (Like right now. I've had "Time to Make History" stuck in my head since that quick look.)

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kmfrob

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@zeik: Haha not to get too deep into conversations about music in general, but I tend to dislike music that does stick in my head. It usually (and again I appreciate it's subjective) means to me that the music has little depth beyond its hook. Sure there's a real skill in creating catchy hooks, but I prefer music that unravels its layers over time. It's like with The Beatles... you can easily appreciate their songs at face value, but it's only when you start to uncover all the little overlays and harmonies that you understand the true genius of them (there's nothing subjective about that. If you don't like The Beatles, you're just wrong! ;)

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m1k3ines

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I'm at the age where I can't do All Night mode. I can do fine in the beginning of songs, but once I start to loose it I can never recover. I barely could do Extreme in the Miku games. I really enjoyed my time with Dancing All Night though.

Sucks how I won't be able to get the Miku DLC since I can't access the Japanese store page on an US vita.

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Zeik

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@kmfrob: I'm not really that much of a music conossieur, lol. I just listen to what sounds good, nothing more.

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So I'm having a lot of trouble with the UI in this game. Those purple stretched notes, specifically, just obscure way too much of everything else that if they start coming fast, I'm guaranteed to mess up. They had the same button prompts in those Hatsune Miku games, but those were presented so much better. Like, because those games use colours/symbols for the prompts, you can act more instinctively, but P4D wants you to be able to react purely on placement, which isn't working for me. Without the knowledge that this could play so much better, I'd be more into it, though. It's still a lot of fun, but I guess I'll have to keep practicing until the placement of the prompts becomes second nature.

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megabite10164

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Yeah that was my problem with it. There's so many modifiers from the store you can use to help. Try everything in addition to modifying the speed. It's easy enough to do in song.

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I will be picking it up, but not at full price. Gonna wait for a sale or something.

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Devil240Z

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Does it have any music from the anime(s)?

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#21  Edited By redyoshi

So I ended up getting this anyway because I have no self control. The blue scratch rings are killing me in harder sections. It's like they bunch together with the faint yellow rings from the notes and I feel like I'm going crosseyed. It's been fun though. I haven't even touched the story yet, mostly been messing around in free mode and unlocking stuff, and replaying my favorites. I really love the Heaven mix that they gave to Naoto.

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Syce300

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@devil240z: It looks like some of the anime openings and endings will be coming as DLC

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@kmfrob: The style of Persona's music, or at least their main themes, is intimately tied in my mind with the style of the games themselves. They both share having their own established style that's different and unique enough to be easily recognizeable. Persona just generally have a "sound" I enjoy.

Then there's the lyrics. While the pronunciation of the English in many of its songs can make it hard to tell what's sung without subtitles, once you have them you'll find the grammar and lyrics are surprisingly coherent, which I feel is a rare thing in all the J-pop I otherwise come across. The songs are also simple, and can be exactly what they are about to an almost comically blatant degree (looking at you Ying Yang), which I feel is just...fun!

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Then there's the appeal of this kind of pop in general, for me. I grew up with Nintendo and Amiga music and like electronic music in general. Not that that's what this is, but it elicits the same kind of calming, yet exciting sense of a clean, plur, utopia in me.

But then again Music and Food sort of inhabit the same place for me, in that while I can probably appreciate something with more layers of complexity, I favor simplicity.

Music for me is generally easily digestible 3 minute something pieces, sometimes to the point of being junk food (like this awesome crap that makes Persona music seem like Vivaldi). I'll appreciate any tune that gets my blood pumping, like any half decent meal that fills my stomach. It's just music after all.

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Devil240Z

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#24  Edited By Devil240Z

@syce300 said:

@devil240z: It looks like some of the anime openings and endings will be coming as DLC

AWWW SHIIIT. I might have to buy this then cause those songs are as good or better than the music from the actual game.

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#25  Edited By Teddie

Okay, so after getting competent at Normal difficulty, I figured the difficulty ramp would be similar to the Miku games (which seem to be my go-to comparison for rhythm games now). Which is to say, way faster, more complex, but with the benefit of the notes being completely in sync with the music. Now, P4D definitely got more complex on Hard but... these notes all feel like they have nothing to do with the song for me. I guess it's all synced to the actual beats of the music, but even playing "Specialist" on hard, the music still seems completely irrelevant despite not having vocals/general tune of the song (which I've been paying more attention to than whatever I'm probably meant to be listening for).

I'm still enjoying the story mode and normal difficulty though, but it's also depressing that I don't feel like I'm playing a rhythm game at all on any of the difficulties.

EDIT:

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Like, this is what I'm talking about. If you listen to the timing of the buttons, it doesn't match any part of the song I can hear at all about 70% of the time-- instead it sounds like the notes are forming an accompanyment to the main song that's entirely its own tune.

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j0lter

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I'm having a ridiculous amount of fun, especially the all night mode. The difficulty curves nicely and the songs are great. Totally worth the $50 for me!

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#27  Edited By Stefanten

@teddie: Completely agree, it feels like they wanted to do something different from the Project Diva games but the game ends up suffering from it. It's the same with how clearing songs work, the hype meter. Because the penalty for missing notes is so high on Hard difficulty, you have to stop focusing on trying to play with rhythm and just make sure you at least get a "good" rating on all notes which leads to sloppy, not fun gameplay. The obvious response to this would be "git gud" but the game is doing a terrible job of teaching me how.

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emfromthesea

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Do you folks play with the beat sound effects on or off? I find them super distracting and I think they detract from the songs, so I turned them off. At the same time, on the harder difficulties it can be hard to keep your beat without some sort of sound to indicate if I'm hitting the notes.

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Teddie

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It's the same with how clearing songs work, the hype meter. Because the penalty for missing notes is so high on Hard difficulty, you have to stop focusing on trying to play with rhythm and just make sure you at least get a "good" rating on all notes which leads to sloppy, not fun gameplay.

No Caption Provided

Yeah, the ranking system is pretty broken.

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fezz

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I haven't tried story mode yet, but I'm having a lot of fun just playing free dances. I'm trying to beat all the songs on hard now. I think it's weird that it will fail you even if you reach the end of the song.

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#31  Edited By CageySquid

@teddie: I played on Hard long enough to get the 50% Perfect trophy. 2 misses and that's a fail seems a bit ridiculous.

I'm glad I sprung for the Disco Fever box, the soundtrack is pretty great.

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#32 Efesell  Online

Yeah Hard mode is kinda bumming me out. You can be perfect the entire song and miss just a couple to lower the hype meter and then you've just wasted everything.

And for as much as I like most of these songs they're a bit too long to be repeating just because you goofed on one short part.

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megabite10164

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Review is up.

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Cav829

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I posted my own review since I had some free time and wanted to collect my thoughts. I had some similar thoughts as @megabite10164 but, but with maybe a slightly more positive impression. It's a fun little game, and I'm going to keep playing it even after finishing story mode and unlocking all songs and most unlockables. As Jeff and Jason said, the game certainly has heart. It's a good 3-4 star effort, more for Persona fans for sure than the hardcore rhythm game fan crowd.

If you do buy it, hold your nose and cough up the $4.99 for "Break Out Of..." It's easily the best DLC track out right now, and one of my top three favorites in the game.

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I just wish there was more stuff to buy in this game. It's too easy to make money. Also True Story (ATLUS Kozuka Remix) is ruining me on All Night mode, just have some huge mental block with this song.

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megabite10164

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Yeah it only took me a couple hours running songs on hard with modifiers to buy everything else from the store in one sweep. The store doesn't seem balanced for longevity.

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ch3burashka

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I bought the special edition which came with a DLC code. I was like, "Oh boy!" until I read it was for some costumes and one extra song. Feel a bit cheated, but there's plenty there as is. Apparently there's Adachi DLC.

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#38  Edited By Snigs

I just posted my review the game is certainly a case of YMMV dependent entirely on how much you enjoyed Persona 4 and if you want to see the gang back together again. Getting through the story mode is not hard at all and was pretty fun, but in the end everything @megabite10164 has said about the actual game portion of it is spot on. Coming to it as someone who loved P4 and as a JRPG fan whose rhythm game experience maxes out at playing a lot of Rock Band 3 at Medium difficulty Dancing All Night is still really fun. When it come to the story though, you can really can't go wrong with it... even though it's mostly a glorified visual novel. Much darker than I expected. Dojima is a total badass when you first meet him, and Nanako basically stole the show.

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Mortuss_Zero

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I loved it. I'm very glad I sprung for it instead of Rock Band 4. It's one of those games that actually gets me to come back to my vita every couple days. I enjoyed the story and the gameplay changes from the Project Diva series don't matter to me, as I never played any of them. I've gotten through everything on Hard, and I'm waiting a bit before tackling something harder than that.

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What's your favorite dance? I'm really into Naoto's version of Signs of Love. Also, Kanamin and Shadow World seems the most like a music video to me.

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