It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody when I say that my game of the year is Persona 4: Dancing All Night, and it’s one that I’ve clocked dozens of hours on.
Persona 4 Golden, as many know, is my all-time favourite game and I’m always itching for more content revolving around the lovable and fantastically brought to life cast. In Dancing All Night, we see them looking into a rumour about the Midnight Stage and missing idol group Kanamin Kitchen – of course, the Investigation Team have plenty of experience when it comes to worlds on the other side of a screen and so it’s up to them to solve this case too. It might sound stupid on paper but the story is genuinely well-written, further develops the characters and bundles in the mix of humour and more serious tones perfectly, just as its predecessors have done.
I love seeing my favourite cast of characters back in action and I also enjoy rhythm games, and it’s undeniable that Persona 4 has an amazing OST so it’s great to see a few tracks return and a few more get remixed to create an outstanding track-listing that’s kept pulling me in time and time again. The visuals are colourful, detailed and entertaining to the point I’d get distracted and would miss a note or two – thankfully, you can watch the videos on their own too. The story is about 15 hours long and strutted along at a good pace, and I’ll definitely miss the cast if this is the last we see of them with Persona 5 releasing in 2016 – maybe we’ll see more of them though, I have hope!
All Night mode, the hardest difficulty, is the one I spend most time playing. I’ve managed to get perfect on a few tracks too alongside the beautiful Platinum trophy. I’ve purchased all the DLC bar two aesthetics packs but I’ll be getting those soon enough, and I wish more songs were going to be introduced but alas, it is not meant to be. I can’t get over how great it is to see my favourite characters in different genres of games, especially as they’re some of my favourites, and although some may complain about it, I find myself fully supporting it as the games remain of a high quality and they’re just absolute fun to play and become invested in.
There have been plenty of games in 2015 but this was a clear winner for me, although I absolutely loved games like Under Night In-Birth, The Witcher 3 and Steins;Gate, and whilst I’ll praise those games endlessly, Persona 4 Dancing All Night was the only game I could easily say was my definite favourite of the year. I realise some will say it’s biased but there’s nothing wrong in saying your favourite game of the year is the one that’s brought you the most joy, and given you more time with your favourite characters. Some will question how a rhythm game can be possibly anywhere near as good as a sprawling open-world adventure game but no matter how great those games are – and they’re bloody outstanding – none of them will mean to me what Persona 4, and what Persona 4 Dancing All Night mean to me.
I expected Persona 4 Dancing All Night to be my game of the year but even then it exceeded expectations and it actually came at the worst part of the year (well, of my life, actually) for me where, sadly, my cat passed away the same day I got the review code – my emotions were certainly conflicted and I wasn’t going to play it because I was an emotional wreck, but I figured if anything, I should take comfort in the world that I’ve taken comfort in many times before, and so I downloading it and got to playing and it really did help .Like all other Persona 4 games, this one holds a special place in my heart and I’ll be sure to revisit it time and time again.