Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Review – Murder Mystery Returns

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Monokuma returns in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair and starts another High School class with his murderous ways and a new mystery solving story. Does the game get a passing grade, or should it just drop out now?

Read our review to find out.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc introduced us to Hope’s Peak Academy. A high school that only allows the best of the best to attend. Each student is an Ultimate in some category and destined for greatness, if they can graduate. The Ultimate categories include gymnastics, being a Yakuza, affluency, music and being the Ultimate Princess, to name a few. With fifteen total students, the diversity of the group is pretty vast and covers just about every walk of life.

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You get to play as Hajime Hinata. Upon arriving on your first day of school, some of your memories are lost and you have no clue as to what you are the ultimate of. When you meet up with the other fourteen students, all of you pass out and wake up on a beach on a tropical island with no idea how you got there.

Enter Usami, a new character that wants everyone to get along and live a peaceful happy life, free of violence and confrontation. She wants nothing more than everyone to be friends and live together harmoniously, free of strife, living in a land of rainbows and cute stuffed animals. The field trip to this tropical island is so that the students can get to know each other and forge a friendship that is strong and fruitful.

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Just when you think that the Danganronpa series has taken a cutesy turn down a friendly path, Monokuma, Hope’s Peak Academy’s evil school principal, makes his triumphant return and deals with the cute little rabbit in his own way, turning her into Monomi, his new little sister who no longer looks cute.

Monokuma announces that their friendly school trip is now the killing school trip. With all of their recent memories erased, and not even knowing how long they’ve been at this high school, Monokuma announces that they will be stuck on this abandoned island paradise for life or until one of them can get away with murdering another student, at which point all but the murderer will be executed and the murderer graduates. We now return to the regularly scheduled murderous Danganronpa series. And so begins the roller coaster ride of hope and despair that is Danganronpa 2.

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We aren’t allowed to talk about what transpires after Chapter one, but we can say that Monokuma is still the same terrifying bear that we all have came to know and love/despise? The story is just as entertaining and as well written as the game’s first entry, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing as to whodunnit. The new protagonist, as well as the entire cast of characters, are just as memorable as before, and seeing their murdered corpses just might make you emotional at times. The move to a new setting does a great job of keeping the game fresh and the graphic novel style of story telling works just as well this time around.

The island chain (there are five total islands) gives you plenty to walk around and look at, even though walking is optional. You can use the map to jump from point to point b, but the E-handbook, your journal and guide for all things Danganronpa, has a cute new feature that wasn’t there before. There is an e-pet for you to look after and the amount of walking you do determines the growth of this pet. Your steps are counted and each step helps progress the life of your pet. Be sure to check on your pet often, as it tends to get messy and leaves piles of stuff lying around that needs cleaned up.

Interesting group of characters

Interesting group of characters

The game is separated into two styles of gameplay. There’s the Daily Life of socializing and investigating once someone is murdered, and then the Class Trial to determine who the guilty or blackened character is. Socializing and spending time with each character will unlock Hope Fragments which can then be used to unlock skills that will help in the class trial.

The Class Trial, in which players must determine the identity of a culprit, features the same aspects as the previous game, but with new gameplay elements. The Nonstop Debate, in which players look for contradictions in the students’ discussion and shoot relevant weak points with “Truth Bullets” that contradict them, now includes blue-colored weak points which must be shot with evidence that indicates someone is speaking the truth. Hangman’s Gambit now requires players to combine matching letters coming in from both sides of the screen before they collide into incorrect matches. Combined letters may then either be destroyed, or used to spell out the clue.

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Hangman’s Gambit

Rebuttal Showdowns take place when a student attempts to refute the player’s logic. In these sections, players must slash apart their opponent’s argument to gain dominance in the conversation and reveal new information, before using a “Truth Sword” to strike through the correct weak point when it appears. Bullet Time Battle, now known as Panic Talk Action, is mostly unchanged from the previous game, in which players press buttons in time to the music to shoot down arguments, albeit players must now spell out a phrase in the correct order at the end.

Finally, the Closing Argument, in which players fill out a comic strip depicting the events of a crime, is adjusted so that players fill out each page at a time using available stock, as opposed to having access to all the pages and pieces. All of the changes and additions work well to redefine the Class Trial, and the tutorials do a great job of guiding you on how to use the updated system.

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The Closing Argument

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is a fun and dark game that’s geared towards the adult gamer. This is definitely not a child’s game as the humor, while witty and entertaining, is full of sexual innuendos, while the story itself is full of death and violence. This is a murder mystery game, with plenty of murder to go around.

Developer Spike ChunSoft did a great job on this sequel and stayed true to the formula of the first game. If you own a Vita, you should own both the original title and this sequel.

9

 

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