Persona 5: Dancing Star Night is not appearing outside of Japan until early 2019, but if there are some people who can not stand the thought of waiting, there is good news! This game is exceptionally easy to play, whether or not you understand the language.
Where Persona 4: Dancing All Night was a rhythm game with visual novel elements, Persona 5: Dancing Star Night is more straightforward. The visual novel Commu events will give rewards regardless of the “answers” people provide during the segments, so even though you will miss out on some delightful banter, you will get the extra cosmetic items, supports and challenges. The music segments are easy to understand, with the button prompts clearly labeled with the respective buttons in the UI and the circles directing you to “scratch” by rubbing the touchpad or moving an analog stick saying “Fever” or “Scratch.” Even the tutorials, which are in Japanese, easily display what to do.
Navigating Persona 5: Dancing Star Night’s menus is rather easy. Not all of them are in English, but many of the important ones are. The main menu, for example, lists the sections as Dancing!, Tutorial, Commu, Collection, Config and System. The Tutorial section is in Japanese, listing all of the tips telling you how to play, and Commu is the section where all the visual novel events can be found. Collection lets you look at the characters, change their outfits, hear their vocal clips, see actions and visit their VR rooms if you have unlocked them. Config and System also are in Japanese, though it is fairly easy to change volumes and make adjustments.
The Dancing section, where people will spend most of their time, has lots of English in it. When you go to pick a song, almost all of the tracks have English named. There are a few exceptions, like “Hoshi to Bokura to,” which uses kanji and hiragana. However, you can hear snippets and have some idea of what you are in for before you pick a song. The Easy, Normal and Hard difficulty levels are clearly shown at the top of the screen. Once you pick a song, you see who the main dancer and partner is. Selecting the main character lets you change their outfit. Customization items are in Japanese, but you see what they are when selected. Once people are set, you can customize your gameplay with support buffs that make it easier or challenges that make it harder with Play Custom, adjust the options and choose the Game Mode. The “grades” for correct inputs are “perfect,” “great,” “good” and “miss,” with the rest of the rubric at the end offering clear explanations and a graph showing your score over time.
I would say the only real language barrier comes when finding out the unlock criteria for the Commu events and things like different challenges and supports. Each person has their own requirements. While many of these things will be unlocked while you play without obviously setting them, ones like examples that require you to fail a song within 10 seconds, not scratch at all during a song or change note speed, may not be obvious.
At least for characters, it is easy to help. Ryuji’s eight conversations require you to get cumulative max combos, with the first requiring 800 and the last needing 17,000. Morgana’s mostly require you to unlock challenges, but the sixth and eighth ranks require you to have three and five challenges applied to a song you have cleared. Ann is tied to costumes, with you applying one costume for her first event and needing to have cleared songs with 70 different costumes for her final conversation. Yusuke demands perfection, and you have to gotten over 1,000 Perfect cumulative notes for his first event, with his final event unlocking after 20,000 cumulative Perfect notes have been accrued. Makoto is a bit odd, as her first conversation requires you to have one support set for a song, then you have to clear songs with 5, 10, 15, and 20 accessories. After that, you have to set every support for a song you clear, and the final two conversations require 30 and 50 accessories. Futaba wants you to play music, with her first event opening after you have played three songs and her last showing up after playing songs 57 times. Haru cares about Brilliant ratings on songs, which comes if you clear it with only perfect and great notes. You need to get five Brilliants for her first event, and eventually earn 47 Brilliants for her eighth. Finally, Caroline and Justine’s segments unlock after you earn other people’s Commu segments, with the first open right away and the last showing up after you see 47 other events.
If you can not wait to play Persona 5: Dancing Star Night, it is a good choice for importing. Yes, you will miss out on 64 conversations between characters if you get a Japanese copy and do not know the language. But, if you are looking for a solid music game with 25 songs from Persona 5 and quite a few costumes and accessories, this is an option. Not to mention, you can get “Groovy,” “One Moment” and “Dance!” DLC songs for free. Most of the important text you need to play is already translated, and that which is not is fairly easy to work out as you play. The only real obstacle comes when unlocking Commu events, but I found I acquired most of those during regular play.
Persona 5: Dancing Star Night is available for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in Japan. They will come to North America and Europe in early 2019.