When Danganronpa; Trigger Happy Havoc graced my PS Vita I’ll admit to feeling a bit confused by it all at first, in the end I couldn’t get enough of that crazy little bear, so when they opportunity to review the sequel came up I jumped at the chance.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has released just Seven months after the first game came out and feels more like an expansion, but trust me that’s a good thing. If you are new to Danganronpa the following will help explain it for you. The game is a visual-novel-style game about high school students who are locked in a location together and told that they must kill one another, in order to graduate from the school students will need to get away with the murder, it’s the job of the other students to gather evidence before taking part in a class trial to try and determine who the killer is, if they are wrong all the students die and the killer walks free.
D2 starts in a very familiar fashion to the first game; you meet your character, who this time is Hajime Hinata. He has been given a chance to join the school as one of the ‘ultimate’ students. Before Hajime has a chance to get used to life in the school he and the other students are transported to a tropical island where they are greeted by their new teacher, a rabbit named Usami. All seems well as they are told they are on a school trip just to get to know everyone. You’ll spend the first 45 minutes or getting introduced to your classmates, of course they are all ‘ultimates’ in their fields. There is an Ultimate Nurse, Yakuza, Cook and ahem… Breeder. Each of them have very unique looks and attitudes, some are very serious and driven whereas other are well, just a bit mental.
It’s not long before you discover that you are not actually on a cool holiday to make friends, from nowhere the evil Monokuma arrives on the scene to tell them some ‘great’ news. To escape this paradise the students will need to kill each other and get away with it! (I’m sure I’ve been here before). Of course none of the students are aware that everyone’s favourite psycho bear is pretty powerful, and thanks to his MonoBeasts (A set of huge mechanical robots that will destroy you in an instant) the students realise he is serious. One of the Ultimate’s has a theory about what is happening, buts that’s all I’m going to say on the story.
Just like the original the game is played across three modes, Daily Life, Deadly Life and the class trial. Daily life allows you to explore the island interact with the other students and level your character up, which is very simple to do, each time you interact with the island you’ll earn XP and eventually level up. You’ll be able to upgrade yourself over time to allow you character to perform better during the class trials. Within the handbook you are given at the start up the game there is a ‘pet’ for you to look after. Although you can fast track around the island you are advised to walk everywhere as it is good for your pet, you’ll have to keep an eye on it as it needs cleaning and you can also give it presents.
Eventually a murder will take place which means the game will move into Deadly Life, which is when the game becomes really interesting; you’ll need to begin investigating the murder so that when the class trial begins you are prepared with evidence. Much like the first game you’ll go around the island looking for evidence, each time you find something relevant it will be added to your handbook as a Truth Bullet which can be used during the class trial. Once you have found everything you can Monokuma will let you know by beginning the class trial.
There have been some improvements to the class trial this year thanks to a couple of new mini-games to play during the trail. The trail starts with a debate in which you’ll need to make use of your Truth bullets to counter the different student’s arguments, before moving on to Hangman’s Gambit which requires you to work out the missing letters from inside Hajime’s mind. No game is complete without a bit of Rhythm action so thankfully we have Bullet Time Battle, in this mode a character refuses to give up a certain position, whether it is admitting to being the culprit, defending a character, or refusing evidence, the player must negate the assertions by engaging in a B.T.B. The players must “lock-on” to the character’s assertions and obliterate them with bullets, while staying in rhythm. The better you perform the quicker the mode becomes but once you take down your opponent’s influence gauge, you must present the right Truth Bullet to the contradicting argument your opponent made. There is also a closing argument, a rebuttal showdown and a random snowboarding mode called Logic Dive. They are all quite good fun once you get used to them and give the game a completely different pace. There is no real consequence of making mistakes as you can just reload from the last save but if you can discover who the killer was in the different chapters you’ll feel pretty pleased with yourself.
The Danganronpa series has given my Vita a lease of life; both games have given hours of entertainment. At first I thought they were too similar but as time went on you’ll realise the games have their own uniqueness to them. The characters will stick in your mind, as will the wonderful art in the game, you’ll find yourself rolling your eyes at some of the sexual innuendos, but the game does a great job of generating suspense and the class trials are a lot of fun. I’d definitely recommend picking up the first game before playing this just so the story lines up nicely, if you decided not to I’d at least read what happens before.
MLG Rating: 9/10 Format: PlayStation Vita Release Date: 05/09/2014
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Danganronpa 2 by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 6 weeks on a PlayStation Vita. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.