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Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight

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Overview

Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, also known as Persona 5: Dancing Star Night in Japan, is a rhythm game for the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita. The PS4 version of the game is also compatible with PlayStation VR in a limited manner.

Developed by Atlus’ P Studio, and simultaneously released alongside Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight, it is a spiritual successor to 2015’s Persona 4: Dancing All Night. The game features the characters and music of Persona 5, with all-new songs and remixes mixed in as well.

Story

Caroline and Justine welcoming the crew to Club Velvet.
Caroline and Justine welcoming the crew to Club Velvet.

Taking place after the finale of Persona 5, but before the protagonist returns back home, the Phantom Thieves of Hearts have been chained to the rhythm by the Twin Wardens, Caroline and Justine, and in order to earn their emancipation, they must break it down on the dance floor.

In reality, they’re holding a dance party as a means of determining who, out of the Velvet Room siblings, has the best guests of them all, and the guests of honor are happy to help. And in reality, the gang’s bodies are fast asleep, as the events take place in a dream (which also explains how they’re all able to pull off such impressive dance moves with little to no practice at all).

Game Modes

There are two different game modes in Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight.

Dancing!

The “Dancing!” mode is the equivalent of the “Free Dance” mode from Persona 4: Dancing All Night. This is where the player can choose which song they would like to perform, and on which difficulty.

Each song has a dance assigned to it, who cannot be changed. However, once the player has completed a song, they will get to choose which (if any) additional dancers will support the main one during the song’s “Fever Time” sections. To unlock additional partners for a specific song, all the player must do it play the song on a different difficulty level and reach the Fever Time portion of the song where a new dancer appears (clearing the song it not necessary, but obviously preferred).

In addendum, if the song is long enough and features two Fever Time sections, and the player has unlocked enough supporting acts, they can pick a different dancer for each, or if they so choose, the same one twice. This is a new feature in P5D, since previously in P4D, the latter was the only option.

Once a song has been chosen, the player can then customize their dancers’ appearance as they please.

At the outset only 4 out of the 25 playable songs are available, but more can be unlocked by simply clearing the songs on any difficulty, or by fulfilling various objectives, described inside the new “Social” mode.

Social

Makoto can relate to the twins' woes of not wanting to be left in the shadow of an older sister.
Makoto can relate to the twins’ woes of not wanting to be left in the shadow of an older sister.

Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight does not feature a traditional story mode. Replacing it is the Social mode (also known as the Commu mode in the Japanese version of the game) that allows the player to participate in numerous, fully-voiced Social Link-like event scenes with the Phantom Thieves, and the Twin Wardens, Caroline and Justine. These scenes are all varied, and feature everything from Haru and Makoto discussing their after-graduation plans, to Ann and Futaba sharing a moment talking about their favorite pop idols, some of whom might be familiar to the player.

To start with, each character (Caroline and Justine are counted as one) has 5 Social scenes that can be unlocked. To get access to them, the player must first complete different gameplay-related tasks, the requirements for which can be found under each of the characters’ profile pages. These tasks are different for each character, and they include everything from hitting notes swell enough and for enough times, to outfitting the performers with all sorts of costumes and gear that they will then be able to show off during their dance routines.

As an example, to unlock Futaba’s first Social scene, all the player must do is play (and not necessarily even clear) 3 songs in total. And then, to unlock her second and third scenes, they must play 7 and 15 songs, respectively. And so on, and so forth. Again, the detailed descriptions of these objectives can be found in the Social menu.

Once the player has seen all 5 Social scenes for any character, 3 more will become available for unlocking. This brings the amount of event scenes available for each character to 8 in total.

While scenes 1 through 5 usually have two or more people in them (plus the protagonist), the last 3 scenes are usually a little more heart-to-heart. This is emphasized by the fact that during a character’s sixth scene, the player character will be invited to their friend’s room (or in Morgana’s case, the protagonist’s own room at Cafe Leblanc). Here, after the scene is over, the player will then get the ability to explore, and poke around the room at their leisure from a first-person perspective, along with some basic movement controls. Also, whether it’s the Play-Storm-Σ game console in Ryuji’s room, or the wall-sized canvas in Yusuke’s, the player character will chime in and comment on what it is that they’re seeing exactly. Each time the player makes a new visit, the rooms will have changed around a little bit, giving them little snapshots of what their friends’ places are like in their various states of order, or more like in some of the crew’s cases, disorder.

Hanging out in Ryuji's room.
Hanging out in Ryuji’s room.

Additionally, Caroline and Justine have prepared a little treasure hunt for the 3 remaining scenes. Each time an event that takes place in someone’s room is over, the player can look around for a Prize Card left behind by the twins. If they manage to find one, they will be rewarded with various costumes, or accessories as prizes. They’re a little tougher to find every time, but the cards will always give off a slight sound effect that gets louder as the player gets closer, to make the hunt a little easier.

All Social scenes can be replayed from the menu, once they’ve been seen once. This includes the scenes 6 through 8, after which the treasure hunts take place. This can be useful because, in case the player cannot find one of the hidden Prize Cards during their first time through, they can return to the hunt later.

Gameplay

The core rhythm gameplay in Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight is near-identical to that of its predecessor, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, along with a few twists.

The goal is to hit the notes that appear as accurately as possible, and all to the rhythm of the song that’s being played. Once the player hits 5 notes in a row well enough, a combo streak will begin, which they will then want to keep up for as long as they can to get the highest score, and performance rating possible.

Notes fly from the center of the screen to its edges, where there are six icons waiting for their corresponding buttons (3 on each side). The default buttons are the: up, left, and down arrows on the left, and the triangle, circle and X buttons on the right side of the screen. If the player is playing on a PlayStation Vita, they can also use the front touchscreen to hit these notes. Both sets of three are connected by a line, which acts as the optimal hitting point for the “Rings“, which are explained later, down below.

Notes

It's harder to comprehend the existence of Morgana's dancing shoes, than of the talking cat himself.
It’s harder to comprehend the existence of Morgana’s dancing shoes, than of the talking cat himself.

There are four types of notes in P5D:

The basic yellow, and star-adorned notes are the most common, and these can be cleared with a single button press, as the note overlaps with the corresponding icon on the screen. To clear the green “Hold” notes the player must hold down a button, and then let it go after a short amount of time, all to the beat of the music. Purple “Unison” notes require the player to hit two different buttons simultaneously, one on the left, and one on the right: up and X, or down and circle, for example.

Double” notes are a new addition to the formula. Like the standard notes, they are yellow in color, but they’ve got the letter D imprinted on them, instead of a star. These notes appear in pairs of two, and always in a row, one after the other. If the player wishes to clear it, they have to make sure to clear the first section, since if they miss it, the second one becomes grayed out, and impossible to hit. Still, while the Double note consists of two notes, missing the pair only results in a single “Miss” in the scoring.

Rings

There are two types of Ring notes.

The blue ones are called “Scratches“, and they’re more common than their colorful counterpart, the “Fever Rings“. To make differentiating between the two even easier, they’ve also got their names written on them.

Yusuke performing inside Madarame's palace, one of the many dance stages in the game.
Yusuke performing inside Madarame’s palace, one of the many dance stages in the game.

Gameplay-wise the Rings are a little different from the standard notes. Any song can be cleared without hitting any of them, if that’s all the player wants to do, but to get the best score possible, and to witness the magnificence of Fever Time, they’re something the player will want to keep an eye on, also.

Depending on the player’s choice of platform, they can do one of many things to clear these rings. On the PlayStation 4, and while using a DualShock 4, they can be hit by flicking either of the analog sticks in any direction, or by scratching the controller’s touchpad. Additionally, in the options the L1 and R1 shoulder buttons can be enabled as a means of clearing them. If the player is on a Vita, all of these controls also apply there, but instead of the touchpad (which the Vita does not have), the front and rear touchscreens can be used.

Accurately clearing a blue Scratch gets the player an addition to their combo but missing one doesn’t cause an on-going streak to end, so this is not the end of the world. The Fever Rings are otherwise identical to the blue ones but hitting them also awards the player with a single stock of “Fever Meter“, one of the main ingredients necessary for entering Fever Time.

Fever Time

Futaba and Inari.
Futaba and Inari.

Once the player has amassed three stocks of Fever Meter by clearing at least three Fever Rings during the song, they have the chance of entering Fever Time, once they get to a predetermined section of the song (usually the chorus, or a drop).

During Fever Time, the player is rewarded with additional visual flares, and a gameplay advantage. The dance stages and backgrounds light up in colorful lights, an audience can be heard cheering, and even the borders of the screen will start flashing. The main dancer is also joined on-stage by a supporting dancer, if the player has chosen one, and the characters will then dance together for a short while. Still, there is a small performance-related twist to all this, which is explained under the “Hype Gauge” section.

In terms of mechanics, the player gets a benefit, as previously mentioned. Normally hitting a note slightly off-beat earns the player a “Good” rating for that specific note, and it also causes their combo streak to be broken. However, during Fever Time, the game won’t sweat the small things, meaning that this won’t happen, and the player can continue accruing a combo like nothing had happened.

Hype Gauge

This meter is located in the top-left corner of the screen. It’s decorated by three shadowy figures, symbolizing the people’s (or in this case the audience’s) opinion of the Phantom Thieves, and the better the player does, the more excited they become. It’s also a quick way for the player to get a feeling of how they’re doing during a song, and a grasp of how close they are to failing, if things are going poorly. For this, there are five different colors and states in which the gauge can be. Starting from worst to best the colors are: red, yellow, white, green, and finally the meter will start flashing in the colors of the rainbow once it hits its peak.

At the beginning of each song, the meter will start at its half-way mark, and depending on how many notes the player is or isn’t hitting, the meter will start to either increase or decrease. If the player misses enough notes, and the Hype Gauge nearly empty and thus red, the screen will start dim, and eventually they will be kicked out to the results screen, which naturally gets them the “Not Clear” performance rating. This rating can however also be doled to those who manage to reach the end of a song, but by simply scraping by.

Finally, the condition of the Hype Gauge also dictates what happens when the player enters Fever Time. Any self-respecting supporting dancers will not join the main one on-stage if the Hype Gauge is not at least green at the start of the Fever Time section (which are indicated on the timeline, at the bottom of the screen). Instead, the main dancer will have to continue holding it down all by themselves.

Difficulty

The four difficulty levels of Persona 4: Dancing All Night – Easy, Normal, Hard, and All Night – all make their return here. Like before, each difficulty has their own unique rhythm chart pattern assigned to them, and as would be expected, the higher the setting, the higher the complexity. This setting not only determines how many points are given out per hit, but also how many can be missed before the player fails the song.

While the unlocking the toughest setting, All Night, was unnecessarily convoluted back in P4D, it’s been made much more straightforward this time around. To unlock this ultimate challenge setting, all the player has to do is clear all 25 of the songs included in the game, on the difficulty setting of their choosing.

Scoring

There are multiple ways in which the player’s scoring and performance are tracked and evaluated in P5D.

Firstly, the ways in which notes can be hit. “Perfect“, meaning the player’s button press couldn’t have been better timed. “Great“, signals that they’ve been slightly off-mark, but only their numerical score is affected by this. “Good” earns the player the least amount of points, and also causes a potential combo streak to end. The player can also completely “Miss” a note, resulting in the same outcome as a Good hit, minus the points. Hitting a Ring note does not result in a rating, instead they are either hit on time (+1 to combo and points), hit (no effect on combo, and some points), or not hit at all (no effect on combo streak, and no points).

Perfect!
Perfect!

Once the player reaches the results screen, by way of clearing a song, or by failing it mid-way through, they will be given a performance rating. These ratings are as follows: “Not Clear“, “Stage Clear“, “Brilliant“, and the final, and best one being called “King Crazy“.

Not Clear is given out to those who fail the song, and those who reach the end with terrible button presses. Stage Clear and Brilliant are awarded when the player actually successfully finishes a song. The one they get depends on how well they’ve hit the notes, and at which state the Hype Gauge is by the end of the song.

King Crazy is only given out to those select few who manage to clear a song by hitting all the notes with at least a Great rating, and by scratching all of the Ring notes. If a player manages to clear a song with this, the highest rating, they will be awarded with a small stamp of a crown, placed next to the song title in the Dancing! menu.

Score of a numerical amount of points is also being kept by the game. During gameplay, the score can be seen in the top-right corner of the screen, and it’s also shown off during the results screen. This is not surfaced in the Dancing! menu, however. This means that if the player wants to see their score after the fact, they must dig deep into the Collection mode, located in the main menu. Here, there is also a leaderboard where the player can compare scores with people online. Although, since only the top 20 high scores are shown, if the player even wants to have a fighting chance of getting on the scoreboard, they will have to start using additional “Modifiers” to earn some extra points.

Modifiers

To give the player further options to customize their playing experience, there are also several gameplay-changing modifiers included in the game. These are separated into two different categories: Support and Challenge modifiers. The former help out the player, but also negatively impact their final score. The latter make songs even harder than before but can also boost the player’s score considerably.

Examples of Support modifiers:

  • Hype Gauge fills automatically
  • Song cannot be failed prematurely
  • If it’s on the correct side of the screen, any of the three buttons can be hit to clear a note

Examples of Challenge modifiers:

  • Speed at which notes approach wavers between fast and slow
  • Song ends immediately after a Good hit or a Miss
  • Notes disappear as they get approach their intended targets

Outfits & Accessories

Because President Tanaka has yet to corner the market between dream and reality, mind and matter, cosmetic items in this game are unlocked not by purchasing them using in-game currency, but by simply progressing through the game.

At your service!
At your service!

By spending time with the Phantom Thieves, and Caroline and Justine in the Social mode, the player is rewarded with a plethora of different outfits and accessories. Most of these items will be familiar to fans of the series, but there are several new ones included in the mix, as well.

Examples of the included costumes are the Phantom Thief outfits, seasonal clothing, Halloween and Christmas costumes, and swimsuits. Accessories include everything from animal ears to headphones, and lobsters to Yukiko’s favorite set of swirly glasses. As part of a collaboration between Sega properties, P5D also features items from the Yakuza series of games. Meanwhile, P3D features costumes from the Virtua Fighter franchise. These items are only available as paid content on the PlayStation Store.

To give the player more customization options, there’s been an increase in the number of item slots available for each character. Persona 4: Dancing All Night only featured three slots: one for a main outfit, and two additional accessory slots. P3D and P5D, on the other hand, include six total slots: body, head, two accessory slots, eye color, and hair color.

Another new feature in P3D is the ability to save pre-made loadouts. Up to eight different sets of outfits and accessories can be saved at a time, per character, and they can then be quickly switched between during the preparation period before a dance performance.

Dancers

The game has a total of 16 dancers, six of which are downloadable. Similarly to Persona 4: Dancing All Night, the characters are all locked to their individual song or songs. Each character has their own dancing style that is unique to them: Joker’s moves are pompous and fluid, like those of a master thief. And while Oracle’s routines are mixtures of several different styles, she’s taken a shine to tap-dancing of all things, especially.

Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight’s playable roster consists of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, and their partners in crime:

  • Ren Amamiya
  • Ryuji Sakamoto
  • Ann Takamaki
  • Morgana
  • Yusuke Kitagawa
  • Makoto Niijima
  • Futaba Sakura
  • Haru Okumura
  • Caroline and Justine
  • Elizabeth (Only available as a supporting dancer during Caroline and Justine’s dance routine.)

In addendum, more dancers can be bought as downloadable content, once they have been released:

  • Goro Akechi
  • Lavenza (Persona 5 end-game spoilers)
  • Labrys
  • Sho Minazuki
  • Shinjiro Aragaki
  • Theodore (In addition to having his own song, he is also available as a supporting dancer during Caroline and Justine’s dance routine in the standard version of the game, free of charge.)

Track List

Naturally, the protagonist gets the first dance.
Naturally, the protagonist gets the first dance.

The soundtrack of Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight is a collaboration between series’ main composer, Shoji Meguro, the numerous other music producers of Atlus, and a select few guest composers from Japan’s game and music industries.

The song list of Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight features 25 playable songs, and an additional 30 have been confirmed as downloadable content post-launch, bringing the total number of playable songs available for the game to 55.

An overview of the downloadable songs’ release schedule and pricing is located below the track list of songs included on the standard version of the game, but the exact details can be found on the games’ official websites, and on the PlayStation Store.

Song Title Dancer First Appearance
Beneath the Mask (KAIEN Remix) Haru Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
Blooming Villain Yusuke Persona 5
Blooming Villain (ATLUS Konishi Remix) Ryuji Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
GROOVY (Opening version) Music video* Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
Jaldabaoth ~ Our Beginning Everyone (-Caroline & Justine) Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
Keeper of Lust Ryuji Persona 5
Last Surprise

Group Performance:

Ann, Futaba, Haru, and Makoto

Persona 5
Last Surprise (Jazztronik Remix) Music video Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
Last Surprise (☆Taku Takahashi Remix) Futaba Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
Life Goes On Yusuke Persona 5
Life Will Change

Group Performance:

Morgana, Ren, Ryuji, and Yusuke

Persona 5
Life Will Change (ATLUS Meguro Remix) Caroline and Justine Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
One Nightbreak Music video Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
Price Makoto Persona 5
Rivers In the Desert Ren Persona 5
Rivers In the Desert (Mito Remix) Ann Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
Rivers In the Desert (PERSONA SUPER LIVE P-SOUND BOMB !!!! 2017) Music video Persona 5
Tokyo Daylight (ATLUS Kozuka Remix) Morgana Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There Ann Persona 5
Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There (Jazztronik Remix) Ren Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
When Mother Was There (ATLUS Kitajoh Remix) Futaba Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
The Whims of Fate (Yukihiro Fukutomi Remix) Makoto Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
Will Power (Shacho Remix) Haru Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
With the Stars and Us Music video Persona 5
With the Stars and Us (tofubeats Remix) Morgana Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight

*This song does not have a dancer assigned to it. Instead, a playable, but non-interactive music video plays in the background.

Downloadable Songs

Atlus has planned to release a total of 30 new songs as downloadable content, to further support the game after its launch. These songs include the downloadable dancers listed above, as well as playable music videos. The core gameplay remains the same between the two, although the music videos have none of the character customization available to them.

All downloadable dancers and playable music videos are supported by both, and all versions of Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, and Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight.

This means that even if the player owns both games, one on the Vita, and one on the PS4, and buys Akechi, for example, they can play as him in either game and on either platform, without having to make separate purchases of him for each game.

The release schedule for the Japanese versions of the games can be seen below.

Launch Day/May:

Song Title Price Format Description
Dance! Free MV* Theme song of Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
GROOVY Free MV Full version of the theme song of Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight.
More Than One Heart ¥350 MV Theme song of the first Persona 3 movie, “Spring of Birth”.
Our Moment Free MV Full version of the theme song of Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight.
Voice feat. Koromaru (ATLUS Tsuchiya Remix) ¥350 MV Remix of the song from Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, featuring an animated music video starring the canine member of S.E.E.S.

*MV, short for Music Video

June:

Song Title Price Format Description
The Battle for Everyone’s Souls ¥1000 Dance This song from Persona 3 features Shinjiro Aragaki as a playable dancer.
Beneath the Mask ¥800 Dance This song from Persona 5 features Lavenza as a playable dancer.
Break Out Of… (ATLUS Kitajoh Remix) ¥1000 Dance This song from Persona 4: Arena Ultimax features Sho Minazuki as a playable dancer.
Dream of Butterfly ¥250 MV Opening animation of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona.
Fate is in Our Hands ¥350 MV Theme song of the second Persona 3 movie, “Midsummer Knight’s Dream”.
Jika Net Tanaka feat. President Tanaka Free MV A remix of the theme song of the in-universe TV show “Tanaka’s Amazing Commodities”.
Let’s Go! Phoenix Ranger Featherman Free MV Theme song of the in-universe TV show.
Mass Destruction (PERSONA MUSIC FES 2013) ¥350 MV Live performance of the song from Persona 3.
Snow Queen (ATLUS Tsuchiya Remix) ¥300 MV Remix of the song from Revelations: Persona.
Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There Free MV Opening animation of Persona 5.
A Way of Life -Deep inside my mind Remix- ¥800 Dance This song from Persona 3 Portable features Theodore as a playable dancer.

July:

Song Title Price Format Description
The Battle for Everyone’s Souls (PERSONA SUPER LIVE P-SOUND BOMB !!!! 2017) ¥350 MV Live performance of the song from Persona 3.
BREAK IN TO BREAK OUT ¥350 MV Opening animation of “Persona 5 the Animation”.
Burn My Dread ¥250 MV Opening animation of Persona 3.
INFINITY ¥350 MV Non-credits version of the ending animation of “Persona 5 the Animation”.
Memories of You ¥300 MV Non-credits version of the end credits of Persona 3.
Opening ¥250 MV Opening animation of Persona 2: Innocent Sin.
P3 FES ¥250 MV Opening animation of Persona 3 FES.
Pursuing My True Self ¥250 MV Opening animation of Persona 4.
Shadow World ¥250 MV Opening animation of Persona 4 Golden.
Soul Phrase ¥250 MV Opening animation of Persona 3 Portable
Today ¥1000 Dance This song from Persona 4: Arena Ultimax features Labrys as a playable dancer.
unbreakable tie ¥250 MV Opening animation of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2- Innocent Sin.
The Whims of Fate (PERSONA SUPER LIVE P-SOUND BOMB !!!! 2017) ¥350 MV Live performance of the song from Persona 5.
Will Power ¥1000 Dance This song from Persona 5 features Goro Akechi as a playable dancer.

August:

Song Title Price Format Description
Best Friends ¥250 MV Opening animation of Persona 4 Arena.
Break Out Of… ¥250 MV Opening animation of Persona 4: Arena Ultimax.
changing me ¥300 MV Non-credits version of the end credits of Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth.
Heartful Cry (GAME SYMPHONY JAPAN 21st CONCERT ATLUS Special) ¥350 MV Live performance of the song from Persona 3 FES, as performed by the Tokyo Chamber Orchestra at the Persona series’ 20th anniversary concert.
Life Will Change (GAME SYMPHONY JAPAN 21st CONCERT ATLUS Special) ¥350 MV Live performance of the song from Persona 5, as performed by the Tokyo Chamber Orchestra at the Persona series’ 20th anniversary concert.
Maze of Life ¥250 MV Opening animation of Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth.

Special Editions

Persona Dancin’ All-Star Triple Pack

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  • PS4 disc of Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight
  • PS4 disc of Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
  • PS4 digital copy of Persona 4: Dancing All Night
  • 4-disc soundtrack featuring over 60 songs
  • Price: ¥16,880

Persona Dancin’ Deluxe Twin Plus

  • PSVita copy of Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight
  • PSVita copy of Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
  • Atlus Selection Assorted Costumes DLC Set (15 costumes)
  • 4-disc soundtrack featuring over 60 songs
  • Price: ¥15,780

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