Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (PlayStation Vita)
Mystery adventure returns with more plot twists than before.
- Large cast of quirky characters.
- Interesting narrative and plot twists.
- Reams of text to wade through.
- Remains the same on a technical level.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is just as weird and wonder as it was the first time around. It often feels more like a novel than a game, but the story and characters make up for it.
Price$ 54.00 (AUD)
With fewer console quality titles coming to the, PlayStation Vita has become the home for smaller niche titles. One of those games, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, came out earlier in the year and told the story of students trapped in a school where they are picked off one by one. The game was popular enough for the sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, to come out just over six months later.
Welcome to the island
Like the first Danganronpa, most of the game time with the sequel is spent reading the in-game dialogue. The focus is foremost on the narrative, and interactivity comes second. Fortunately, the story packs in enough interesting characters and plot twists to keep the player engaged throughout the experience.
The premise of Danganronpa is that a group of elite students are invited to study at Hope’s Peak Academy. However, once inside the school they are forced to participate in a deadly game by Monokuma, a mysterious and mischievous bear of unknown origin. If anyone is to escape Hope’s Peak, they need to kill one of their fellow classmates and get away with it without being exposed in the subsequent class trial.
Danganronpa 2 comes with a new cast of odd and memorable characters, and the setting has been moved out of Hope’s Peak to a tropical island. Monokuma is still running the content and the same rules as before apply, though this time he is joined by Monomi, a rabbit that acts as Monokuma’s sidekick. You take on the role of the lead protagonist as he watches the class of 16 students whittle down with each new murder on the island.
Trial of peers
The game’s narrative is split into six chapters, with the start of each chapter allowing you to explore the island and interact with students though a simple first person mode. The narrative really begins with the murder of one or more of the students, and you are tasked with investing the crime scene and putting clues together. The information you gather is then used in a class trial to identify the culprit, and guessing wrong has dire consequences for you and the rest of the innocent students.
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The class trial forms the heart of the Danganronpa experience and contains the most interactivity in the game. Clues, motives and accusations are challenged during the trial, and it is up to you to find mistakes in testimonies or side with correct observations. Text scrolls across the screen in this game mode at various speeds, and you are tasked with “shooting down” any phrases that contradict the evidence.
A large part of the game plays and feels like the original Danganronpa, though the sequel comes with a few new additions. The main island is connected to small surrounding islands, so you are able to travel between them via a 2D side-scrolling mode. The trial also comes with new mini-games, such as collecting letters to spell out an answer and dismissing rebuttals by swiping the on-screen text, though the highlight is a virtual snowboarding game where you answer questions by choosing the right path.
The same old culprit
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The shift to a tropical setting in Danganronpa 2 may be jarring at first, as well as getting to know a whole new cast of characters, but the familiar gameplay elements help to ease you into the adventure. The catchy music from the first game makes its return along with a collection of new, moody songs, and the voice acting remains top-notch. The text-heavy nature of Danganronpa 2 may not appeal to everyone, though those keen to try something different will want to check it out.
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