There are very few games out there that would suit a rhythmic game based on their soundtrack. The Persona franchise is perfect for this immortalisation as their soundtracks have all been incredibly memorable and so catchy you’ll find yourself humming and singing them long after you’ve stopped playing. The Persona 3 and 5 Endless Night Collection comes in two variations, the PS4 and the PS Vita editions. The main difference is that the PS4 version contains a remastered download of Persona 4: Dancing All Night, a game that was previously exclusive to the PS Vita.
So, whether you’re a Persona fan or new to the franchise – if you enjoy rhythmic games such as Hatsune Miku, Rock Band, FF Theatrhytm, or even Osu, you need to check these games out.
What do you get?
As previously mentioned, the PS4 version of the collection contains:
• Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight
• Persona 4: Dancing All Night
• Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
The PS Vita version contains:
• Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight
• Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
• A huge collection of Shin Megami Tensei-inspired costumes
The PS Vita version of the collection is cheaper and doesn’t contain Persona 4: Dancing All Night for the simple reason that the game is already available on the platform. I imagine most people who will be interested in this collection will already own the missing title on the Vita anyway – as I do.
Alternatively, you can just purchase a collection of Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight on both platforms with no extras. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at each of the games…
Okay, just to throw this out there, seeing the modernisation of the characters from Persona 3 and 4 on the PS4 sparks up the desire to get a full-on remaster of their respective JRPG games on Sony’s console. Especially when you jump into VR, which I’ll talk about later as there is PSVR support surprisingly. Personally, I’ve not played Persona 3, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Persona 4 however, I must have spent over 150 hours on the Golden version on Vita, not to mention the 195 hours it took to complete Persona 5 last year! As a franchise, it used to be rather a niche series, but Persona 5 almost went mainstream with its massive – and well deserved – success last year.
In terms of this collection though, Persona 4: Dancing All Night is the odd one out, so let’s talk about Persona 3 and 5 first. In these games the story is irrelevant. You’ve basically been brought to Club Velvet against your will, following the events which happened in their respective games. As such, if you’ve not played either of the games yet, there may be some mild spoilers as they discuss things that have happened previously. Outside of that, you unlock ‘social moments’ between the various characters through completing certain ‘tasks’. These have requirements such as ‘complete X amount of songs with Y character’ or ‘Hit X amount of perfects in total’ etc… It’s all very arcade-like with no set structure other than having to complete a block of songs before the next block is unlocked.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night actually has a story that you progress through and must follow in order to unlock more songs. Personally, I like the arcade feel of Persona 3 and 5 but Persona 4 seems like a much more fleshed-out game in that you actually have a purpose. In terms of the actual gameplay – it’s identical to the new games, other than the mandatory long-winded story, rather than the quick-action setup of the new games along with their optional social segments. I feel people will be on the fence regarding which they prefer, do you enjoy bypassing events and dancing the night away, or do you prefer following a story with a plot that is segregated by dancing segments?
If I was to compare the experience, I would say Persona 4 feels like Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X whereas the other two are like Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone (Let’s see how many people get those references).
The core gameplay mechanic is the same across all platforms and all games. You’re shown six icons on the screen in an arc on both sides. These relate to Up, Left, and Down on the D-pad and Triangle, Circle, and Cross. All you have to do is press the right button, or buttons, as the ‘notes’ move onto the target on the screen. This may sound easy but as the difficulty increases, it can get quite frantic. Alternatively, if you own the PS Vita versions of either game, you can simply tap the screen in the required space should you wish to do that instead of using the buttons.
Another prompt you’re given is called ‘scratches’. These are hit by flicking either analogue stick or hitting L1/R1. These differ from your usual button prompts as missing these won’t affect your combo but they will increase it by one, should you successfully hit them. You’ll also be presented with scratches which are labelled ‘Frenzy’. If you collect enough of these before a Frenzy segment in the timeline, another character will come on stage and dance along with you, thus increasing your overall score.
As far as the mechanics go, I’ve played all three games on both the PS4 and the PS Vita and they are all operating with very tight controls. On the PS Vita, I prefer using the buttons over the touchscreen, but both methods worked perfectly with no issues at all. One thing I would say is that I actually had more fun on the Vita than I did on the PS4, this is because of the size of the screen. On the TV, everything looks great and perfect in terms of the visuals, but if you have a big TV then you’re always looking around to ensure you see all the ‘notes’ flying about. On the Vita, I found it much easier to see everything all at once, thus leading to getting more points and fewer mistakes.
The Persona series is well known for its amazing soundtracks and these game’s do not disappoint. Not only will you get to dance along to the most memorable songs from all three games, but you’ll also get to experience some new remixes which have been recorded specifically for them. Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight stands out here as it includes tracks from Persona 3 FES, Persona 3 Portable, and Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. However, Persona 5 surprised me with ‘Rivers in the Desert’ being sang live at Persona Super Live P-Sound Bomb!!!! in 2017. This track has you playing along whilst showing the live video in the background, including dancers dressed as the characters from the game!
Upon completing a song, you have a chance to re-watch your replay and see where you went wrong, or simply watch back a ‘perfect run’ of it. This is great as you don’t want to watch what’s going on whilst playing the game unless you want to lose.
There is also a tonne of customisations to unlock as you play through and complete each of the songs and social segments. Each character has a bunch of different costumes and accessories which you can swap and change whenever you want. These can either be set to random, per-song, or memory. Random and per-song are obvious, if set to remember the costume then whatever song that character appears in, be it as a Frenzy support or main, they will be wearing what you set them to. Don’t judge me but in Persona 5, all the ladies are wearing corsets and clown noses…
Another rather interesting option is the way you can customise the actual song. As you progress and unlock more social segments (everything revolves around these), you unlock new ‘gameplay modifiers’. These vary from offering an advantage like hitting a note as ‘good’ doesn’t break your combo, to negatives such as the notes coming in at varying speeds. Enabling negatives increases your post-dance bonus, enabling positives will reduce it.
Persona 3 and 5 both have very limited PSVR support. It’s very limited in that you can only go to the ‘collections’ menu and pick a character you wish to dance in front of you. You can dress these up however you wish, pick from various poses, zoom in and out whilst rotating them, and freeze them should you want too. That’s about it in regards to the VR support. It’s mildly disappointing but a nice bonus extra that they didn’t have to add. Although I will say that seeing the characters up close in VR is amazing as there are no ghosting or quality issues, they look great! It’s a similar bonus feature that we’ve seen in previous Hatsune Miku games.
What I would have liked would have been the chance to watch back a full song in VR, like in Hatsune Miku. So, even if we can’t play along, at least let us pick our favourite song and watch the group dance it out as if we’re sat there watching them. As it is though, it’s a very limited mode which is great the first time you jump into it yet lacks an appeal to use it more than once if I’m being honest. Gamers who don’t own a PSVR headset aren’t really missing out this time around.
Cross-save and Languages
Persona 3 and 5 both support Cross-save functionality. This means that if you pick up both the PS Vita and PS4 version of the game, you can share the same save file and continue playing on whatever device you choose. There is no online or local Multiplayer but there are online leaderboards which again, are shared across platforms.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night does NOT support Cross-play but it does come with a new platinum trophy. So if you own it on the Vita already, you can get another one.
In terms of languages, all games come with both the English and Japanese voices for you to swap between.
Visually, the entire collection is visually stunning on both the PS Vita and the PlayStation 4. I acquired both versions to do a comparison of them and I can’t see any differences, they all run at full speed with no slowdowns, they all contain the same songs and modes, except PSVR, and all the games look great on both platforms. The only difference mechanically is that on the Vita version, you can touch the screen instead of pressing the buttons if you wish, and on the PS4 we have the optional PSVR mode.
Also, one thing I absolutely adored was the visuals of the menus within each of the games. They all have their own style, with Persona 5 returning to the sharp and funky visuals we saw in the main RPG. As soon as I booted up Persona 5, as it was the first one I wanted to play, I instantly fell in love with the game all over again, so much that I’ve just re-ordered Persona 5 so I can play through it once more.
In regards to the music, I don’t really think I have to say anything here – the soundtracks are amazing. The best songs have been chosen from each of the games and a few remixes have been thrown in as well. The fact we can just sit back and watch the performance once you’ve completed it is an extra bonus, especially when you’ve dressed everyone up to how you chose. One thing which did annoy me was the constant talking whilst dancing. Well, not constant but the team are a chatty bunch! Thankfully you can shut them up in the menu during dance sequences as well as turn off the noise upon hitting the notes should you wish to silence them too.
The Persona 3 and 5 Endless Night Collection is both a visual and audio masterpiece wrapped within a game. All three games look stunning on both the PS4 and PS Vita as well as run perfectly regardless of the massive power advantage the console has over the handheld. Persona 4 comes with a story and an actual plot yet the others skip that and takes you straight to the main reason people play these games, the awesome dancing! Either way, both styles work really well and offer enough exposition to keep you engaged between dance-sessions.
If you’re a fan of rhythmic games, the Persona 3 and 5 Endless Night Collection needs to be in YOUR collection. You’ll be unable to stop yourself from ‘Dancing All Night within the Moon and Starlight!’
Persona 3 and 5 Endless Night Collection£89.99
Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight9.0/10
Persona 4: Dancing All Night8.5/10
Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight9.0/10
- - Looks and sounds amazing with the memorable soundtracks along with familiar visuals
- - Very easy to pick up and play, yet hard to master
- - All fully voiced in both English and Japanese
- - Cross-save function and runs perfectly on all systems
- - Double platinum in regards to Persona 4: Dancing All Night
- - The difficulty does spike when you get to certain songs
- - The removal of the 'story' from 3 and 5 could upset some people
- - The PSVR support should have offered a bit more in my opinion