Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Publisher: Spike Chunsoft, NIS America
Platform: Playstation Portable, Playstation Vita
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair – Review
For every successful game, sequels are bound to happen. This is the same in the case of the Danganronpa franchise. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, the sequel of Danganronpa: Trigger Havoc, retains most of the original concepts that are present in its predecessor and includes even more gameplay elements that make the game more enjoyable. So sit back, enjoy the various conversation and complots and make sure you don’t fall into despair!
Standing aside of the previous game, its sequel introduces a similar kind of story. A set amount of students around Japan have been chosen to enter the Hope’s Peak Academy. Each of these students have a certain talent that made them stand out above the others in certain fields of skills. Thanks to these talents, they have been scouted to become graduates of the academy and will be offered a scholarship that will help them set their future lives into a good direction.
These students are called the Ultimates, and each have their own unique personality to them. This makes them very likeable and makes you want to learn more about them. One of these students is called Hajime Hinata, a student who doesn’t have a particular talent. This makes him wonder about why the academy has chosen him, but is still pleased with the fact that a high rated school like the Hope’s Peak Academy has scouted him.
However, after finally entering the school of his dreams, he stands before a door that seems out of place, it even looks more like a door that floats in his sub-conscience. Without him noticing, he already entered the classroom door and meets his fellow students. None of his classmates know how exactly they entered the classroom, when all of the sudden a small pink rabid like stuffed animal called Usami appears out of nowhere and tells the students that they will go on a fieldtrip together.
Suddenly they are transported to an unknown uninhabited island. Not understanding what is occurring at the moment, the students explore what is available on the island, and they find out that they are the only ones the island although there are various buildings well kept. After they all gather together, Usami appears before them and explains what they are doing on the island, telling them to “live together peacefully and have fun”. No one understands why this is occurring exactly, but eventually come to terms with it and decide to have fun without worrying too much. It is then that everything takes a turn for the bad.
On one of the screens that are scattered across the island, a sinister presence tells the students to gather at the grand statue on the island. When everybody comes together, they see a black/white bear similar to Usami standing before them. This bear is the same antagonist as the previous game, called Monokuma. He says that a normal school trip is way too boring for his tastes, and changes the school rules to a game of death. He tells the students that only one of them can leave the island, if and only if (s)he is the only one still living. This means that in order to leave the island, the students need to kill themselves. This shocks them quite a bit and makes them mistrust each other.
The rules imply that if a person gets killed, the students will get enough time to investigate the crime scene in order to research and find potential hints as of who murdered the victim. After the investigation is done, a class trial will be held in which every students needs to participate. By making arguments and agreeing with each other’s statements, they will need to unmask the killer and vote for him. If they voted for the correct person, only the killer will be punished with death. If they voted wrong, every person will be executed except for the killer. If this is the case, the killer will get the permission to leave the island.
The graphics aren’t really impressive. The game looks and feels much like a typical anime-styled visual novel. You’ll mostly only be watching dialogues accompanied with character portraits. The art style of Danganronpa 2 looks pretty nice. Each character looks very unique, which goes well with their personalities. The graphics fulfill their job just fine.
If you are familiar with the previous game, you’ll notice that the music in this installment is also pretty nice. Each tune is very catchy and capture the feel of the game pretty good. Aside from the normal music, the sound effects also make you feel like you are in an important debate. Each time you pose an argument to another student, you’ll feel the excitement through the sound effects alone.
The game is fully voiced in Japanese and in English, however there is no option available to switch between them except when starting the story from the beginning.
Danganronpa 2’s game play is divided between two big parts: one being the daily lives of the students, and the other being the solving of a murder. In the daily life part, you’ll be mostly talking with all your colleagues in order to learn more about them and improving your friendship with them. By doing this you’ll feel more connected with the characters in the game and will improve or decrease your liking of them. By becoming more friendly with the various characters, you’ll gain Hope Fragments. These fragments will allow you to purchase a couple of skills that will help you with the other part of the game. Aside from that, you are also able to give presents to other students in exchange for more development with the characters.
The other part of the game is when a murder finally occurs. The purpose of this game is to find out who the killer is through the exchange of arguments. After the discovering of a dead body, you’ll enter Investigation mode. When in this mode, you’ll need to investigate all the places around you that have something to do with the murder. By doing this, you’ll discover all kinds of hints and proof of who the killer could be. Your classmates also help you in the investigation, so talking to them also delivers you hints and proof. When you are done with the investigation, you’ll finally enter the Class Trial part of the game. During the Class Trial you’ll begin giving arguments to your opponents (your fellow students) in the form of all kinds of mini games.
The Nonstop Debate is where the students will give assertions. Certain phrases will be highlighted, which function as the weak points and will be refuted by the use of your Truth Bullets, which are the different kinds of evidence that you collected during the Investigation part of the game. In contrast with this mini-game, Nonstop Consent functions as the opposite, where you’ll be firing Truth Bullets in order to back a fellow student up.
In the Hangman’s Gambit, the player must remember certain words or clues to further the trial along. Inside the main character’s mind, certain letters will start floating around. You’ll need to select two of the same letters in order to fuse them and fill in the keyword that you are looking for. When the player completes the word, the trial resumes.
In the Panic Talk Battle (or for short P.T.B) mini-game, you’ll be playing a rhythm game. When a student is cornered and doesn’t want to admit his or her crime, you must take down the opponent’s Shielded Heart and state your final argument.
The Rebuttal Showdown mini-game requires the player to give counter arguments after exploiting a weak point. Instead of a bullet, you’ll need to use a Truth Blade in order to slash through the opponent’s argument. This is pretty similar to the Nonstop Debate.
Next up you’ll have the Logic Dive. This mini-game requires the players to steer down on a snowboard and avoiding pitfalls, sometimes accompanied with the choice of multiple routes based on a question given, eventually arriving at a logical conclusion.
Finally we have the Closing Argument. In this small mini-game, you’ll need to wrap up the murder together in the form of a comic book. Some pages lack certain panels, and require you to fill them up with a couple of images.
If you happen to fail in any of the mini-games, the others students will suspect you of being the killer and then it is game over. All these mini-games make the game less repetitive and certainly make for a nerve-wrecking experience. Each Class Trial takes very long, and goes very fast making you concentrate non-stop. You’ll definitely enjoy these trials, as the unmasking of a killer makes for a satisfying conclusion and interesting story.
The game is certainly something to look for. This type of mystery game requires you to stay sharp and absorbs you in the story. There is nothing more satisfying than uncovering a killer and this will keep you playing for a quite a long time. There isn’t really something that makes this game less fun. If you are a mystery fanatic, or even if you aren’t one, you should definitely try out this game.