Review Code Provided By Atlus/Sega
Written By Jared Kernop (@Kohaku233)
Avaliable On: PSVita, Playstation 4 (Played On PS4)
At first glance Persona 3: Dancing In Moonlight leaves a very good impression. It features a phenomenal soundtrack of classic Persona 3 tracks along with some absolutely incredible remixes it also plays extremely well and is a rhythm game that can be enjoyed by anyone. However, when you look a bit deeper you notice a game that suffers from a number of frankly disappointing issues that truly brings down what should otherwise be a celebration of the music and characters of one of the most prolific JRPG series of all time.
Persona 3: Dancing In Moonlight is split into two modes: Dancing and Social.
Dancing is the primary rhythm game and where players will be spending most of their time. It features a structure very similar to most rhythm games and has players tapping, or holding notes that fly from the center of the screen towards each of the buttons marked on the screen. Persona 3 also incorporates scratching which is done with a flick of the right analog stick. Scratching can thankfully be set to the R1 and L1 and it works way better as the right analog stick setup feels awkward to use and can lead to some unnecessary frustration.
Minus the small issue with scratching Persona 3: DIM might be one of the most accessible rhythm games in a long while. On top of 3 different difficulties as you complete certain tasks (which are thankfully shown to you) you unlock modifiers that can either increase or decrease the difficulty. The modifiers range from no-fail to changing the note speed mid song to even failing the song if a combo is stopped. Each modifier can also adds or subtracts from your final score which mean score hunters can try for a top spot on the leaderboard.
Rather than a traditional story mode Persona 3: DIM has a unique take on story. Called Social it focuses on a set of smaller stories about each individual characters rather than a large overarching story. There is techincally a main story about the cast of Persona 3 and Persona 5 engaging in a ball to see who the best dancers are however it is probably the weakest of the story archs. While on the surface the social system sounds fine the way in which you unlock story content is one of the biggest issues with the game. Each of the characters has 5 (later expanded into 8) parts, each of which require certain criteria like total combos, number of songs played, etc. Early on beating the criteria is easy however getting the full story of each character will require loads of unnecessary grinding and since it makes up a large portion of the game it turns what should be an enjoyable rhythm game into a slog. Thankfully, the stories for each character are extremely well written and very well voiced and you have the option of either a Japanese or English dub for the dialog which is a nice inclusion.
Being a music game the biggest bright spot is the music. Persona 3: DIM has some phenomenal songs from the original game and FES as well as the 3 films released later. The remixes by artists like Lotus Juice and Hideki Naganuma are also fantastic and I can guarantee at least one of the tracks will get stuck in your head. The only problem with the soundtrack is it’s short consisting of only 25 tracks. DLC is expected to added later but the game really could have used at least a few more tracks.
Visuals usually don’t matter in a rhythm game but even so Persona 3: Dancing In Moonlight is gorgeous. Characters models are sharp and expressive, the choreography is phenomenal, and the menus sport the signature style Persona 3 is known for. The audio quality is also top notch and headphones or a great sound system are absoutely recommended.
Persona 3: Dancing In Moonlight clearly had a lot of love for it’s source material but the unnecessary repetition required to enjoy everything the game has to offer coupled with the rather short setlist makes this a really tough sell at $60. Fans of Persona 3 should check it out but just wait for a price drop before hitting the dance floor.
Overall Score: 3 Out Of 5 (Decent)