It’s been an increasingly common trend in Japanese games, especially with publisher Atlus, to include a soundtrack with game releases, and not just in special limited editions. Why? These are the types of games people spend lots of time with and truly grow to love, and even when not playing the JRPGs and such themselves, fans want to keep reliving those moments through the games’ musical themes.
It’s this fostered attachment to a game’s signature tunes that makes a game like Persona 4: Dancing All Night possible.
Dancing All Night takes this bond one step further, building around these meaningful tracks and their associated fond memories, while carefully placing a new narrative around them to complement but not overpower the original experience. While the game’s 20-hour story mode would be gargantuan for most titles, it’s a concentrated morsel by Persona standards, a sampler tray of character interactions that evokes the adventures of old rather than attempting to continue characters’ development in the way seen in Persona 4 Arena.
It’s designed to put you back in the frame of mind you were in when you first heard “Heartbeat, Heartbreak” or “Time To Make History,” then let you lose yourself in the notes and melodies. In the songs themselves, whether in story mode or elsewhere, one of your favorite characters — because in Persona, they’re all your favorite characters — is always there in the middle of the screen, sporting a wide grin as if to say “I’ve got your back again, old friend” even for one more fleeting moment.
With Dancing All Night, these evanescent minutes of nostalgic comfort are at your fingertips. The game sports almost three dozen tracks, with a few more available as downloadable content, and the selection’s fairly comprehensive. There are costumes to unlock, dancing partners to swap in and out and items to make chasing those high scores just a bit easier. It’s a full-featured game in addition to a prescription-free treatment for Persona 4 withdrawal, but it’s clear where its true purpose lies.
It lies in getting the Junes theme stuck in your head once again. In sighing one more time at Teddie’s abysmal attempts at wordplay. In seeing your old pals save the day just like they used to do, but with a little less stress and a little more camaraderie this time around.
Stay tuned; we’ll have more Persona 4: Dancing All Night coverage between now and the game’s release on September 29. (Oh, and if you’re interested in this game’s soundtrack, it and some other goodies can be found in the game’s collector’s edition.)