Persona 4: Dancing All Night
|Persona 4: Dancing All Night|
|File:Persona 4 Dancing All Night North American cover.jpg
North American cover art.
|Series||Megami Tensei (Main)
Persona 4: Dancing All Night (ペルソナ４ ダンシングオールナイト Perusona 4: Danshingu Ōru Naito?) is a 2015 rhythm game developed and published by Atlus for the PlayStation Vita. It is a spinoff of the Persona series, which in itself is a subset of the Megami Tensei series, and features the cast of Persona 4.
The story is retold to the player by Margaret, and takes place roughly a month after the epilogue of Persona 4 Golden. Since then, Rise Kujikawa has returned to the world of entertainment, and is teaching her friends from Inaba how to dance so they can act as her backup dancers in a live performance at the Love Meets Bonds Festival. Yu Narukami, now living in the city, meets up with Rise and Naoto Shirogane to practice, but they are informed by festival producer Kyoka Uchimizu that Rise's friends will no longer be performing and that Rise will instead be singing alongside her junior idol Kanami Mashita. Kanami arrives shortly thereafter, and they deduce that the change is due to the sudden disappearance of Kanami's idol group "Kanamin Kitchen," whom Ochimizu produces. This reminds Naoto of a recent rumor she had heard, stating "at midnight, if you see a video of a deceased idol playing on the LMB site, you are transported to the 'other side' and will never wake up again." The three view the website to test the rumor, and they are pulled into the world of the "Midnight Stage," a realm in the collective unconsciousness isolated from the TV World, where the Shadows are being bound and controlled by an unknown entity's song under the guise of forming a “bond” with them.
Unable to perform aggressive acts with his persona, Yu uses his own song and dance to communicate with the Shadows, expressing his emotions and feelings. This breaks the entity’s control over the Shadows, causing them to fade away, and it reveals it has taken Kanamin Kitchen hostage before sending the three back to the real world. The next day, Yosuke, Chie, Yukiko, Kanji and Teddie arrive and are briefed on the situation. At Rise's request, Yu formally reinstates the Investigation Team to rescue the missing idols. During a mid-day photo shoot, Kanami is almost pulled into the Midnight Stage, but Ochimizu pushes her aside and is pulled in instead, with the Investigation Team in pursuit.
The Investigation Team reawakens in the Midnight Stage and split up into two groups to find Ochimizu and the missing idols. Over time, all four idols are located, with the entity preying on each of their weaknesses to force a bond with them, turning them into Shadow-like beings, before being freed by the Investigation Team. Each time, they find a dressing room with a note detailing a person’s inner thoughts before encountering Ochimizu, who promises to keep the idols safe. The Investigation Team begins to deduce that the world is somehow tied to Yuko Osada, an idol who committed suicide years prior, and that the shadows inhabiting the world were forcibly removed from the people who watched the cursed video.
Meanwhile, in the real world, Kanami is attacked by a fan believing her blood will lift the video’s curse, but is rescued by Ryotaro Dojima, who arrived with his daughter Nanako to see the festival. With no one else to turn to, Kanami asks for their help, and Dojima agrees to look into it, being concerned for Yu and his friends’ safety. Bringing Nanako along with her to dance practice, Kanami finds that Nanako is a natural dancer, and the Agency decides to have the two of them perform on stage together at the LMB Fest. Later, Dojima’s research determines that most people who watched the video have fallen into comas, exhibiting signs of apathy syndrome, and that Yuko Osada was managed by Ochimizu prior to her death. As they practice, Kanami continues to suffer frequent headaches and flashes of memories she didn’t know she had. After she and Nanako perform at the festival, she suffers a mental breakdown and retreats to her dressing room, where a phone call from Dojima reveals that she used to look up to Yuko Osada, but was traumatized by being the one to witness Yuko commit suicide, repressing all memory of both her and the incident. Kanami falls into despair as she is pulled by the entity into the Midnight Stage.
In the Midnight Stage, Ochimizu tells the others to leave and gives herself up to the entity, transforming into a Shadow, but Yu and the others manage to restore her. She explains that the song Kanamin Kitchen was meant to perform, “Calystegia”, was the last song Yuko wrote before her passing, and that the entity is using a reversed version of the song to control the shadows. The entity emerges, appearing to be Kanami’s Shadow, and reveals that it has pulled Kanami and the entire LMB audience into the Midnight Stage, planning to form bonds with them to grow immensely powerful. Shadow Kanami attempts to do the same to Kanami, but she is freed by the encouragement of the Investigation team, Ochimizu and Kanamin Kitchen. However, while they were distracted, Shadow Kanami manages to force her bonds on the whole audience, revealing its true identity as Mikuratana-no-Kami, the embodiment of human desire for bonds with others. Using the power of Kanamin Kitchen’s hearts, Rise’s persona is transformed into a giant stage, and they use their dance to convey the true meaning of bonds to the entity. Finally understanding, Mikuratana-no-Kami agrees to free all the shadows and the audience, returning everyone to the real world. They arrive back just in time for the last performance of the festival, and Kanami performs Calystegia on stage in Yuko’s memory, accompanied by Kanamin Kitchen and the Investigation Team.
In a post-credits scene, Rise worries about her comeback, but is encouraged by her friends and Kanami, and decides to have her friends perform on stage with her one last time. As Margaret finishes the story, she tells the player to share it with someone else, and states that the Investigation Team will have many more adventures to come.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night was announced alongside Persona 5 and Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth during an Atlus event in Japan on November 24, 2013. The game was originally announced as being developed by the combination of Atlus and Dingo, the latter being chosen for their work in the similar gameplay of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA series, although Dingo was later dropped from the project after the game's development staff was reshuffled. A North American release was later announced for 2015. During Tokyo Game Show 2014, it was announced that the Japanese version would also be released in 2015, when it was previously announced to be released in Fall 2014. On June 28, 2015, it was announced that NIS America would be publishing the game in Europe in Fall 2015. Following this announcement, Bandai Namco announced on their official Twitter account that the game would also be released in Australia and New Zealand on November 5, 2015.
The soundtrack was supervised and directed by series regular, Shoji Meguro, with original compositions by Ryota Koduka. The game features over 30 tracks, including remixes of previous songs in the franchise by well known musicians such as Tetsuya Komuro, Daisuke Asakura, Shinichi Osawa, Towa Tei, DE DE MOUSE, NARASAKI, Banvox, Norihiko Hibino, Yuu Miyake, Akira Yamaoka, and Lotus Juice. The game features multiple playable characters, including all eight members of Persona 4's Investigation Team, along with Nanako Dojima, Margaret and Kanami Mashita from Persona 4, the lattermost of who being playable for the first time. Additionally, the Persona 4 character Tohru Adachi and the Persona 4 Golden character Marie are available through downloadable content. An additional DLC track features Vocaloid character Hatsune Miku as a playable character.
The Japanese video game magazine Famitsu gave the game the review score 33 of 40, consisting of the sub-scores 8, 8, 8, and 9. Heath Hindman of PlayStation LifeStyle gave the game 8 out of 10, praising the soundtrack and unique feel of the game. The game sold 94,036 physical retail copies within its debut week of release within Japan, placing second within the Japanese software sales charts for that particular week. IGN awarded it 8.4 out of 10, saying "Persona 4: Dancing All Night highlights the wonderful music from the Persona series while building a solid story".
However, Heidi Kemps of GameSpot gave the game a 5 out of 10, and stated that "Dancing All Night might have sounded like a fun idea on paper, but it simply doesn’t hold a candle to better portable rhythm games." She also stated that the "story is disappointing, the gameplay is mediocre, and the only thing that really feels fun is playing dress-up with characters and their various outfits."
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