Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight (Review) PS Vita

Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight (Review) PS Vita
Review Score:

Developed by Atlus, Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight is a rhythm game that stars the main cast of the role-playing game Persona 3, which launched on the Playstation 2 back in 2006.  The player – who takes on the role of an unnamed protagonist – is whisked away with the P3 cast (i.e. Akihiko, Junpei, Yukari, etc.) to a dream realm only known as ‘Club Velvet’. The player is reintroduced to Elizabeth; a young, charismatic woman who incidentally occupied the Velvet Room in Persona 3. Elizabeth explains in minimal detail that the dream world was created to help the player prepare for a future event, which can only be achieved by learning how to dance. From there, the player is sent to the VIP room where they can speak to characters and practice dancing.

P3: Dancing in Moonlight has two different game modes available – ‘Dancing’ and ‘Social’. Dancing mode plays like the ‘Free Dance’ mode from P4: Dancing All Night. The game starts out with four songs (i.e. Mass Destruction (P3 + PSP ver.), When The Moon Reaches for the Stars (Hideki Naganuma Remix), Soul Phrase and Wiping All Out (ATLUS Kozuka Remix)), which the player can choose at random. A specific character is assigned to each song. When a song is completed, the player can assign a second dancer (where applicable) during the song’s ‘Fever Time’ segments. Additional dancers can be unlocked for certain songs, but only if the songs in question have been played on the ‘normal’ and ‘hard’ difficulty settings.

Social Mode is where the player can participate in voice-acted ‘social’ scenarios involving Elizabeth and the P3 cast. Each character has eight Social scenarios that can be viewed after they have been unlocked. However, the player must complete a variety of tasks before they can access these social segments. For example: some tasks may be as simple as changing a dancer’s outfit to hitting a specific note combo during play. Some of the more advanced tasks require the player to complete a song without missing a note, among other things. After completing five scenarios, the player will be invited to visit their friend’s room inside Iwatodai Dorm. From there, the player can do some basic exploring from a first-person perspective. Any items found inside the room can be inspected by the player.

Eli-P (i.e. Elizabeth) is responsible for organizing a ‘Treasure Hunt’ for the three remaining Social events. This mini game involves searching for special ‘Prize Cards’, which will reward the player with accessories and costumes when found. A special sound effect is heard when a Prize Card is recovered, making them easy to identity. The Treasure Hunt ends when all the cards have been found.

Gameplay involves hitting a series of buttons in rhythm to the song being played. Musical notes speed up the playfield from its center, where they make contact with six icons. Each icon represents a button press — Up, Down, Left Triangle, X and Circle – and divided into a half circle, boarding the screen adjacent to each other. The beats themselves are identified by different icons, which determine how the player presses each button. For example: the Basic, Blue and Star-like notes can be cleared with a single button press, while the Green notes require certain buttons to be held down for a specific amount of time. The Purple notes (as known as ‘Unison Notes’) require the player to press two buttons simultaneously. Lastly are ‘Double Notes’, which are blue, interconnected notes identified with the letter ‘D’. These notes can be cleared by pressing the corresponding buttons twice.

The game uses a ‘Fever’ meter that increases when the player clears something called ‘Fever Rings’. When this meter reaches at least three stocks, the player has a chance to enter what is called ‘Fever Time’. When this happens, the player is given a gameplay advantage. For example: being slightly off-beat with a note – and not hitting it perfectly – will not ‘break’ the player’s combo. The game will continue on like nothing happened. In addition, a support dancer will join the player on stage for a short period of time, if one was chosen before the game started.

Another feature is the ‘Hyper Gauge’, which represents the emotions of the audience. Located in the top-left corner of the screen, this gauge contains five different colors, which are: Red, Yellow, White and Green. As soon as the meter fills to maximum, it will start flashing with an array of colors. The contents of this meter will either increase (or decrease) based on how many notes the player lands (or misses). If the player misses too many notes, the meter will begin to deplete and the screen will start to dim. If the meter empties, the game will end and the player will have to start over.

Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight is guaranteed to offer hours of enjoyment.  It also does a great job of catering to the fans. There are unexpected nods to certain events that happened in the main series, as well as subtle ‘hints’ that imply a possible, future adventure could be on its way for Atlus’ critically-acclaimed, JRPG series. With that aside, fans of the Shin Megami Tenshi series – and rhythm games in general- will find that Dancing in Moonlight is a solid entry in the music rhythm genre, and a great addition to the PS Vita’s vast library of games.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: PS Vita
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $39.99

Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight Official Website:

Review Score
Impressive graphics and character animations.
A great election of Rrmastered songs from the Persona series.
While simple in its execution, the gameplay becomes more challenging as the player progresses through the game.
Dancing in Moonlight is a solid entry in the music rhythm genre.

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