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Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight Review – Stealing your heart

It’s a true extension of the story, told through surprisingly fun and challenging gameplay.

persona 5 starlight review
Image: Josh Knowles / KnowTechie
The Good
This game has the right mix of challenge and fun
The fact that the Persona 5 story is extended within this game is pretty neat, as I'm fairly sure the series has had only one other post-game extension with the Arena titles
The music is the bee's knees
The Bad
The learning curve is a bit steep
Scratches and way more important than the game leads you to believe...
The music is great, but because of how the awesome soundtrack is so chill, it doesn't translate to dancing super great
8.5
Overall

Persona 5 was, and still is, one of the best PlayStation 4 games out on the market. Featuring a very real and engaging story, the ending of the game (if you got the real true ending) wraps up everything with a pretty little bow but leaves the future of the protagonists up in the air. It’s those type of open-ended games that Atlus uses to expand their Persona universes and they did in an incredibly unexpected way, with a rhythm game.

Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight picks up the story of the original game sometime after the end of the tale. The Phantom Thieves are pulled into the velvet room to, well, dance for the Wardens. Surprisingly, this gives Joker and crew time to catch up and reminisce about their lives and adventures, while also busting out crazy dance moves to awesome remixes of some of the best songs from Persona 5.

It’s a true extension of the story, told through surprisingly fun and challenging gameplay.

Gameplay in Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight

persona 5 dancing in the starlight review

Image: Josh Knowles / KnowTechie

The core gameplay of Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight is exactly what you expect. You hit the corresponding buttons on the controller, timed to the visual and audio cues and earn points and nifty little special dance spots. Simple enough, right? You would think, but the overall elements of the actual rhythm aspects of the game and the rewards for completing progressively more challenging parts add a much-needed aspect to what you’d expect in a rhythm game.

The game mechanics have you pressing buttons on the dpad and face buttons in a way that is fairly different from games like Guitar Hero or more traditional dance-based games. Those awards for getting those high scores? Getting chances to chitchat with the Phantom Thieves while in the Velvet Room and get a chance to expand the story of Persona 5.

The game is rather difficult, but that isn’t a bad thing

I honestly found that the gameplay to be very difficult. Not in a way that I couldn’t enjoy the game, as the difficulty options were quite forgiving. As anyone that has played a rhythm game knows, however, the harder the game gets, the more you feel like you are part of the song itself. I can do some of the mid-range difficulty songs with some struggles.

Fortunately, playing on training wheels level difficulty in Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight allows me to enjoy the fantastically animated dance areas and characters. Really, they look even better than they did in Persona 5 itself.

persona 5 dancing in the starlight review

Image: Josh Knowles / KnowTechie

The songs of Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight

Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight features a lot to be impressed with, but the real ultimate star of the show is truly the music itself. Yes, Persona 5 has an incredible soundtrack. However, Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight takes those incredible songs and remixes and rearranges them in ways that were honestly surprisingly pleasant.

While not every song is as good as the original, some of the best songs from the game were given some awesome treatment. Even better, Rivers in the Desert is one of the first songs you get access to and the song is the shit. In fact, almost everything you see and hear in Dancing in the Starlight is masterfully crafted.

Now, of course, Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight came out alongside Persona 3: Dancing in the Moonlight. While both games are similar in gameplay, Persona 3 has the stronger vibes of a rhythm game. This is partially due to Persona 5 having a smooth jazzy soundtrack that isn’t so much dance music as it is beats to relax/study too. Persona 5 has the leverage on visuals, however and is easier to play because of this.

The fun thing about Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight is that the game is meant to appeal to so many different groups of people. Persona fans? Check! Rhythm game fans? Yup. People that like good things? You’d better believe it!

I will be playing Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight and Persona 3: Dancing in the Moonlight for the considerable future when I want to get in and play something quickly but only have a few minutes. The extension of the Persona 5 story is just what the doctor ordered and overall it’s a great, but challenging experience!

Go and get your hands on it, you’ll never see it coming.

Persona 5: Dancing in the Starlight is available December 4 on PlayStation 4.


A sample unit was provided to KnowTechie for the purpose of this review.


Editors’ Recommendations:

The Good
This game has the right mix of challenge and fun
The fact that the Persona 5 story is extended within this game is pretty neat, as I'm fairly sure the series has had only one other post-game extension with the Arena titles
The music is the bee's knees
The Bad
The learning curve is a bit steep
Scratches and way more important than the game leads you to believe...
The music is great, but because of how the awesome soundtrack is so chill, it doesn't translate to dancing super great
8.5
Overall
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