Review Code Provided By Atlus/Sega
Written By Jared Kernop (@Kohaku233)
Avaliable On: PSVita, Playstation 4 (Played On PS4)
During most of my time with Persona 5: Dancing In Starlight the word that kept popping in my head was a simple one: conflicted. It is both an extremely customizable, enjoyable, and very well put together rhythm game and it also contains some of the most unnecessary padding and repetition I have seen in a long time. It feels like it suffers from an identity crisis and it ultimately hurts the overall package.
Persona 5: Dancing In Starlight is split into two different modes: Dancing and what the game calls Social.
Dancing! is the primary mode of play and has you playing tracks from Persona 5 and Persona 5 The Animation. Gameplay is pretty standard as far as rhythm games go you have icons that represent notes and you tap, or hold notes as well as scratch notes with a flick of the right stick. Thankfully, you can map the scratch to the R1/L1 trigger which is the recommended thing to do as it can be awkward to flick the stick. Other than the issue with the scratching extremely works well and the amount of flexibilty offered is another highlight here.
Everything can be customized to an insane degree by completing certain tasks you can add support or challenge items don’t want to press scratch notes add a support to do it for you, want to fail after breaking a combo go ahead the amount of options and assists really means that this game can really be enjoyed by just about who has a sense of rhythm. The biggest problems with the game as far as gameplay goes is that the game can look very overwhelming at first like any rhythm game you do eventually adjust to it but it might be rough for the first few hours also some of the backgrounds can mix in with notes leading to a few unnecessary misses especially on higher difficulties.
While unusual for a rhythm game Persona 5: Dancing In Starlight has a rather large emphasis on story. Dubbed Social it focuses on a series of mini-stories for each character instead of a large overarching story which does allow each of the wonderful cast of characters time to shine. The biggest problem with the stories isn’t the actual content itself in fact far from it it’s the way you unlock each of the characters stories. Each of the characters has a criteria for unlocking the next part of their story. It doesn’t seem bad at first as you unlock most of the characters story segements pretty quickly at first but eventually to unlock the ending to each of the stories you are going to have grind to meet the criteria. It’s unnecessary and all it does is pad out the game.
Music is important in a rhythm game and thankfully this is an area which Persona 5 does so wonderfully. Each of the 25 tracks included are absoutely wonderful and include some stellar remixes. The tracks cover such a wide net what used to be a slow song is remixed into a thumping bass heavy track and sped up. You are guarenteed to have a least one track stuck in your head after playing. The biggest problem is how few tracks there the game comes with 25 tracks which would be fine but the amount of replaying required to unlock the story content means that a larger set list would have helped. DLC is shown to be added later which might help alleviate some of the repetition but it’s still rather unfortunate that a few more tracks weren’t added.
Visuals usually don’t matter in a rhythm game but even so Persona 5: Dancing In Starlight is gorgeous. Characters models are sharp and expressive, the choreography is phenomenal, and the menus sport the signature flair Persona 5 is know for. The voice acting is also top notch and you are given the option of either English or Japanese which is a nice bonus.
Persona 5: Dancing In Starlight is a game I wanted to enjoy more than I did. The phenomenal soundtrack and the here is so exceptional but for everything it does well it does something else poorly. Fans of the series should check it out at some point but it’s hard to recommend at full price especially when there are so many amazing rhythm games on PS4 and Vita already.
Overall Score: 3 Out Of 5 (Decent)