Sequel to Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc from earlier this year, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair continues the legacy set by the original to deliver another solid murder mystery visual novel with a twist. The first one ended up being a surprise hit as the game went beyond the constraints set by the visual novel genre by mixing it up with investigation and courtroom gameplay popularized by the Pheonix Wright series. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is set on an isolated island with a brand new cast of characters and offers an even grander experience this time around. Read on to see how it fared in our review.
Like the original, Danganronpa 2 stars a diverse cast of characters, all Hope’s Peak Academy freshmen who got in because of their unique and special talents. These students are titled Ultimates, and vary in their talents ranging from Ultimate Lucky Student to Ultimate Mechanic and so on. These talents can help the students survive or prove to be their downfall. Although you don’t need to play the original to understand the story in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, there are some reoccurring themes and the ending very nicely ties up both of the games.
Danganronpa 2 puts the player in the shoes of Hajime Hinata, a freshman in Hope’s Peak Academy. On their first day Hajime and his fellow students end up on a deserted island without any memory of what had happened. Over there they are greeted by a robot rabbit called Usami as she informs them that they are on a field trip organized by their academy. As the situation calms down, Monokuma, a robot bear from the first game shows up and beats down Usami. He then informs all of the students that to get off the island they need to murder one of their fellow students and away with it. Now the tricky part is if the students can correctly guess the murderer then only the murderer will be punished and the game goes on, but if they guess wrong the murderer will be freed while all the rest of the students will be executed by Monokuma himself.
The game’s pacing can be a bit slow for some as at its core Danganronpa 2 is a visual novel. Players will be spending most of the time reading through dialogue boxes and exploring areas. At the end of each chapter are the Class Trials during which the students try to find out who committed the murder. The Class Trials consist of various short fire mini-games that are mostly centered around the information you gain during the chapter. Although the mini-games are mostly the same as the first game except for a change in theme where the original had players shoot text lines and so on, they are still very fun to play. There’s also a decent variety in the types of mini-games where some test your hand eye coordination while others test your memory. The Class Trials are the best to play on higher difficulties as I found the normal and easy difficulty choices too forgiving, you might want to give it a try as the first chapter is pretty brief and choose from then onwards.
Danganronpa’s district art style and character models are a great change from the usual anime style designs. I found the more realistic and darker designs to fit the game perfectly. The game’s backgrounds however are underwhelming but are still improved and much more colorful than the bland hallways of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. The game is presented as a mix of visual novel and pseudo-comicbook style which adds a lot of dynamism to the game. Danganronpa 2 has a pretty decent soundtrack as well, although they’re aren’t a lot of tracks in the list so they can get pretty repetitive. Like some other games, Danganronpa 2’s soundtrack sort of grew on me. As far as other audio options are concerned, Danganronpa 2 comes with dual audio, meaning that the voiceovers are available in both English in Japanese which are always nice to have.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is another solid title in the now rapidly popularized Danganronpa series. The game improves on the original like any good sequel should and keeps players wanting more. Danganronpa’s unique setting and story has made me a huge fan; after playing the original I looked up the anime, manga and other media of the game. With Danganronpa: Another Episode coming soon, I can’t wait to get more of the game.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Review (PSV)
Every Vita owner owes it to themselves to get the original or Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair even if they're not a fan of the genre, the game might just convert you.