Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
Medium: Digital/Disc/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No

It doesn?t seem like there?d be much reason for me to enjoy Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight. After all, I?ve never been able to get into the Persona games (despite the fact that Persona 4 Golden is considered one of the Vita?s essential games), and I?ve never been great at rhythm games. You wouldn?t think that combining the two would somehow make me any more interested in either.

And yet, for some reason, I totally get P3D?s charms.

I mean, I probably don?t get them to the same extent that my colleague/our resident Persona fan, Dustin, would. I can?t tell you how faithfully this game portrays Persona 3?s characters, nor can I compare the story here to the one in P3.

What I can, however, say, is that having (presumably) fleshed-out characters who interact with each other as part of an easy-to-grasp storyline adds something to rhythm games I didn?t know I was missing. I mean, not to take anything away from Musynx or Hatsune Miku, but at the end of the day, those games are just song after song after song, with nothing deeper than that. In P3D, by contrast, songs unlock short cutscenes, which give the whole thing a little more narrative weight than you?d usually expect from a rhythm game. On top of that, P3D?s developers recognize that the point of a rhythm game is the music, so the cutscenes are kept short — long enough to tell a story, but not so long that you feel like you?re playing a visual novel with rhythm elements.

To be sure, however, what matters most in a game of this nature is the music, and on that front…well, I?ll confess that here?s where some knowledge of Persona 3 would?ve come in handy. After all, P3D?s songs all come from Persona 3, either in original or remixed form, so I assume that having some knowledge of the original would have enhanced my experience.

Not by much, though. I mean, I can?t say that any of the songs here are going to be added to my regular Spotify rotation any time soon, but I can say that they?re generally fun and upbeat enough to be enjoyable to play. Moreover, P3D recognizes that not everyone has the same aptitude when it comes to rhythm games, so it makes sure that the easier difficulty is challenging without being impossible (while, of course, making the harder difficulty levels hard enough to challenge even rhythm game veterans).

Would my enjoyment of Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight been greater if I went into it knowing and loving Persona 3 already? Possibly. But I can?t help but think that it?s a good sign that this game appeals to someone like me, who wouldn?t be able to tell you the first thing about the original.

Atlus provided us with an Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: B+