Let's cut straight to the point: playing Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight has made us desperate for some kind of enhanced re-release of Persona 3 on PlayStation 4. The game's moody tone is brilliantly recreated in this dance-'em-up spin-off, and we'd absolutely love to revisit its blue-hued world in glorious high definition. Please don't make us beg, Atlus.
But enough of that, we're here to talk about Dancing in Moonlight. This is a rhythm title that takes the characters and music of Persona 3, resulting in an unsurprisingly stylish and effortlessly cool experience. With just six face buttons to press or hold, wrapping your head around the Persona Dancing basics is easy enough, but pump the difficulty up and things get very hard very quickly.
The game's steep difficulty curve forces you to practice, to the point where clearing stages on harder settings requires as much pure muscle memory as it does timing. Dancing in Moonlight can be brutal, but the 'easy' difficulty option makes for the perfect place to start, and you can stick to it for as long as you like.
As was the case with Persona 4: Dancing All Night, it kind of feels like the title's missing a difficulty setting between easy and normal -- the jump in difficulty between the two can be jarring if you're new to the series. It's our only real criticism of the Persona Dancing games, although you can tip the balance by applying both support and challenge modifiers to tweak the experience to your liking.
In order to unlock these modifiers, you need to spend some time with your party members. You see, instead of having a full-on story mode, Dancing in Moonlight opts for fully voiced social events (in both English and Japanese) that you gradually unlock as you play, and you can view them at any time. These bite-size scenarios fit the structure of the game a lot better than a long-winded story mode, allowing you to take a break from boogieing to check in on your buddies.
The events even give further insight into each character's personality, which is a nice touch. You can learn a little more about Mitsuru's day-to-day life, or Akihiko's hobbies. None of it is vital information, but it all neatly ties into Persona 3.
Chin-wagging with your mates also nets you a whole load of customisation items, which you can equip in between songs. Fans will no doubt appreciate many of the nods towards Persona titles both new and old, and there's undeniable fun to be had in dressing up your favourite characters in ridiculous costumes.
The real star of the show, however, is the soundtrack. As you'd expect, the overall music quality is superb, and there's a great range of tunes to play through. It's fantastic hearing some of Persona 3's best tracks remixed, and indeed, remastered, and the game ends up being a powerful reminder of how incredible Persona 3's music was all the way back in 2006. It's impressive to think that Atlus has now been pushing killer beats for over a decade.
And it's the brilliance of these tracks that keep you coming back. Dancing in Moonlight is horribly addictive -- especially when you're chasing a specific high score -- and finally nailing every note in a song is unbelievably rewarding. The mixture of relief and satisfaction that washes over you when a track has been perfected is almost unparalleled on PS4.
Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight has some of the best music on the PS4, and mastering its beats is immensely rewarding. It's a top tier rhythm game that's sure to strike a chord with fans of the PS2 classic, but more than anything, it's made us realise just how desperate we are for a Persona 3 remake or remaster.
If anyone's got any questions about the game or the review, let me know!
@ShogunRok How hard is the platinum?
Will I bleed from my fingers?
Bring on the P3p remake plz ;_;
@Fight_Teza_Fight Yeah you're gonna need some dedication, put it that way.
@JoeBlogs It's still an incredible game — I'd honestly argue that P3, P4, and P5 are all deserving of 10/10 — but it's a long one.
A hopeful part of me says... Maybe wait and see if Atlus ever announces a remaster or remake. The more realistic part of me says just go ahead and play it because it might never happen.
@ShogunRok oof. Found it impossible on vita with DAN. Hopefully these games are a bit more forgiving.
@ShogunRok I'm also still hopeful, but it'll probably never happen. Atlus did that fan survey a while back. One year ago? 2? I can't remember. It was after P5 released I think. Totally checked the box for P3 remake on that one. It needs it. It's still a great game, but it has not aged well even just comparing it to P4, let alone P5.
Great review as always Robert. I'm currently playing through the Persona series for the first time and I'm extremely excited about playing the rhythm spinoffs on my PS4. My question is about spoilers: Do these spinoffs reveal any major plot points from their respective games? I haven't played 3 or 4 and I'm only in the second dungeon in Persona 5. Any info would be appreciated... Thanks!!!
@CylonValis They do, I'm afraid. Both games reference the events of their respective parent game, and although characters never explicitly say "hey, spoilers, this thing happened!" they do mention details and story points that you wouldn't know about unless you've finished the game.
With that in mind I strongly recommend playing the games to the end before playing the Dancing games. Not just because of spoilers, but because they make a lot more sense if you do.
That's good to know. I'm finally graduating from college next week (😎) so I'll finally be able to burn through my somewhat embarrassing backlog. Thank you for the response! And thanks for the pretty damn great website as well.
@ShogunRok Hey just a quick question, do we know if the Vita versions are identical content wise?
@belmont As far as I know they are, yeah.
@ShogunRok Thanks! I guess I may get the Vita versions since they are cheaper.
Do you guys know how the DLC works with these two games? Since 3 and 5 get the same extra songs, I'd imagine the purchases transfer but I'm not entirely sure.
Completely forgot this is out next week! Nice reviews. Persona music so so very good.
@JoeBlogs Definitely worth it for the story and atmosphere alone. The gameplay isn't as refined as 4 or 5, but it's nevertheless a great experience!
I wanted this games but after Black Friday I can't spend more in games but I will get them later
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