Some time has passed since Persona 5 and the gang has graduated from high school. The gang suddenly finds themselves in the Velvet Room and gathered together once again. The twins greets them, claiming they're hosting a party and need them to dance as part of their next "rebirth". It turns out it was the twins' elder sister's idea renovate the room into the "Velvet Club" so that they could have a dance battle to find out who had the best Velvet Room guests. With all the time in world, the gang treats it as another request as the Phantom Thieves and decide to take on the challenge. It was a dream they were going to forget about anyway once they wake up.
It's not much of a post story really unlike P4D. I think it would have been better if the Phantom Thieves returned and the gang had to do dance battles with villains to "take their hearts". Something that would give you a goal to play through the songs similar to other rhythm games such as Osu Tatakae Ouendan or IdolM@ster games. I ended up using the trophies as goals instead.
As far as gameplay is concerned, this game is the same as Persona 3 Dancing Moon Night the other Persona rhythm game that got a simultaneous release. There's not really anything new since P4D. There are six buttons to tap to the beat and you use the touch pad to perform scratches and build up the fever gauge for team dance scenes. There is a new "double beat" note but it doesn't feel that special when you're really just tapping the same button twice.
I bought the PS4 version because I prefer games on the big screen and the scratch notes are actually harder to pull off on the DualShock 4 than on the PS Vita since it doesn't have a giant touch pad at the back. The good thing about P5D compared to other rhythm games is there is a whole myriad of options that let you make the game as easy or as hard as you want. In fact, it can be so easy you can get platinum in 16 hours.
I couldn't quite get into the Persona 5 music remixes... Don't get me wrong, I've always enjoyed the OSTs from the Persona series but I think P4D had the better remixes. I just didn't feel the beat for most of the remixes. There actually isn't that big a selection either with only 25 songs (P5 OST has 110 tracks) so just a few hours and you've played through them all. There were only a few songs I could get into such as Whims of Fate (Yukihiro Fukutomi Remix) because the beat actually felt right. The rest of the selection mostly feels... bland.
The only thing that might compell you to replay the songs is unlocking the chat events. You play songs, fulfil certain conditions (the game tells you what they are) such as finish a set number of songs and you can chat with one of your Phantom Thief friends which can be pretty entertaining. It's like a bunch of friends hanging out again, just getting to know each other and it's all new dialogue that wasn't in the RPG.
Once you've unlocked half the chat events (similar to ranking up Confidant relations) for a character, you get to hangout in a 3D model of their room which you'd never had the chance to in the original RPG so, another chance to learn about your favourite P5 characters. That and you get to do some card hunting that unlocks more fun dress-up items. You can even experience the chat and rooms in VR if you have the headset for it.
Game looks great and expressions are really lively. Probably better than Persona 4 Dancing All Night on the PS Vita. Maybe because it's on the big screen. Most of the dance stages are from the original game but they put some fun twists to them.
The 3D looks good but I think I would have preferred some event illustrations like P4D had. You also get to visit the Phantom Thieves' individual rooms as I mentioned earlier which I don't think you had the privilege of during the original RPG. You even get to visit the MC's own loft room so that will be a bit of nostalgia but without the cel-shading effect. I don't have a VR headset so I can't tell you what the VR experience is like.
Outside of the dance stages and the rooms, you're basically staring at the renovated Velvet Room whenver you're chatting with the gang or just the P5 coloured black and red menu mostly.
Dance animation, they are more or less the same - not really impressive to watch. It actually looks more like a musical than an actual dance or in Makoto's case, she's actually performing the Aikido martial art. I guess this was done on purpose since you don't expect the regular highschool graduate to be a pro dancer although it's kind of like Atlus decided to throw out the coolness of the original RPG in favour of silliness.
If you feel like casually hanging out with the Phantom Thief gang once more then Persona 5 Dancing Star Night might just be the game for you. Other than the dialogue events, it just feels kind of shallow compared to P4D where it had a full post story and various event scenes to enjoy. There's a real lack of content. All that stylishness and quality from the RPG seems to have fairly much dried out here with P5D.
- Character models look great and have lively expressions.
- Entertaining chat events.
- Myriad of options to make the game as easy or as hard as you want.
- Random accessories/outfit selection can be entertaining (and scary).
- VR headset support?
- It's not much of a post story.
- The song remixes of the OST are pretty bland.
- Scratch notes are actually harder on the DualShock 4 controller.
- Play songs, chat. Little else happens most of the time.
- Other than the dance stages, you're staring at the Velvet Room or menus most of the time.