When a new threat threatens to drag in the people they care about, the heroes of Persona 4 must jump in to save the day by...uh, dancing. It's...well, unconventional to say the least, but Dancing All Night makes a decent reasoning for it, while still attempting to stay fairly serious, despite the premise.
Taking place over a series of chapters, the Investigation Team arrive to join their friend Yu, living in the city, to find out why members of a popular idol group (based around a kitchen theme) are vanishing, and end up being forced to dance to show what truly lies in their hearts (oh, yes, it's certainly the cheesiest Persona plot to date) in a rhythm game that has you press six different buttons to the beat of a guide on-screen. In addition, there are rings that appear on the screen for you to 'scratch' with the analog stick at the right time - doing so isn't necessary, but will earn bonus points, extend your combo, and give little duets of dance as other people join in. It's a fun little bonus to see another team member join in to dance as the two groove along the dance floor, made just a little silly by the high stakes that they are fighting for as you hear cries of "Yeah, you've really got some moves!" in the background.
The story takes some time to get going. Similar to the fighting game, Persona 4: Arena, there's a heavy emphasis on plot despite the shift in genres. Gameplay almost takes a backseat to the story being told through fully-voiced characters, and may make some people a little weary who just want to get to the dancing. Showing the plot from a variety of points of view, it's a suprisingly long plot to get through for a rhythm game.
That said, there's a mode that simply allows you to pick dancers and music and just try to get the highest score and combo possible on different difficulties. What's more, you can purchase items and customizable costumes using money earned from completing songs, to make your characters 'pop' that much more. There are a number of extra songs to pick from, lots of costumes to purchase, and in general if you enjoy the gameplay you'll be spending a lot of time checking out the different combinations of characters while trying to perfect some of the much tougher difficulties.
Of course, music plays a big part in this game, and fans of Persona 4 will be pleased to see many favourites here, remixed and changed up with different tempos, beats, and styles. I've definitely found some favourites in the soundtrack, and I expect many to find the same. There are over thirty tracks to pick from, and some of them have some well-known Japanese musicians attached to their remixed composition, so there's some good work here, not just a couple changes here or there with too many of un-touched songs filling the bulk of it.
My biggest problem with Persona 4: Dancing All Night is just that there's not enough of it. I would've liked to see more modes to play through, or more to do than just going through the story and score chasing, but what is there is good. Obviously the game's only really for fans of Persona 4; it's unlikely anyone else will know what the heck is going on. But as a rhythm game, Dancing All Night certainly delivers in its promise with some good mechanics and good music - with a plot to boot.