Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (PS Vita).
Spike Chunsoft studio once again delivers a suspenseful plot of the highest caliber – brilliant Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (PS Vita) and Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (PS Vita) probably no one doubted the quality of the sequel to the murderous teddy bear-psychopath game. The king of the visual-novel genre is back!
Hope’s Peak Academy is a school for exceptionally gifted youth that accepts only the best in their field. Are they science subjects? Or maybe Japan sees the future in the hands of humanists? None of these things! As in the predecessor, we are dealing here with the Master Chef, the Best Yakuza, the Unequaled Lucky One or even … the Unbeatable Princess.
However, these students, instead of at school, ended up on a desert island. Where are? How did they get there? Why does the pink bunny pretend to be their teacher and ensure that it is an ordinary integration trip? All these questions go to the background when the headmaster, the teddy bear Monokuma, appears, who makes it clear – to leave the island, you must kill one of your peers and not be detected during the student investigation. If the rest guess the perpetrator correctly, he will receive a death sentence. However, if they are wrong, they will all be executed, and the guilty will be released.
The basics of the game remained the same – each chapter is divided into Leisure, Investigation and Trial. At the beginning, we talk to others, make friends, visit new places (after each process, another island unlocks) and everything is great – after all, there is a beach, food, interesting people, and no one wants to kill anyone … right? The idyll is interrupted, however, by the death of a student, because the clever Monokuma will always manage to somehow provoke a murder. And then casual conversation takes the place of suspicious glances – the murderer is among us, and if we find him, we’ll all die.
The investigation is about looking for clues and collecting evidence that we will later use during the Trial. Of course, this one will not start until we examine every important element – it’s a Visual-Novel after all and everything is going smoothly. Is that a disadvantage? How come! Only in this way could the creators present such a fascinating plot full of sudden turns. We have the opportunity to demonstrate our skills only during the Trial, which consists of several mini-games, and without a detective line for criminal puzzles, we will not move the story further.
The first part includes the selection of appropriate evidence, a rhythmic fight for arguments, an improved version of the hangman, and the main course – shooting out false testimonies. Arguments then serve as cartridges, and we try to find and reveal lies by listening to what our peers have to say. From the novelties, we have one-on-one clashes (slashing testimony like in Fruit Ninja) and Logic Dive, which is a simple mini-game with skating, where we avoid obstacles and answer questions. All this requires the player to be perceptive, quickly associate facts and dexterity. And although sometimes I wanted to throw it to hell (because I will not reduce the level of difficulty!), A moment of break and re-analysis of the collected evidence allowed us to finally come to the correct solution. The satisfaction is then great.
The processes become more and more difficult over time, but our hero also grows stronger – looking at items and walking between locations (in two and three dimensions) increases our experience level. This allows you to use the special skills acquired by getting to know the rest of the students closer. And it wouldn’t be a Japanese game, if we didn’t get the interlocutor’s underwear for filling the acquaintance bar to the full … But how can we integrate with the rest of the students when we keep asking ourselves – will we be able to get in closer contact before the next murder? Will this person be a victim? Or maybe a killer?
I was concerned that the sequel would be a rerun of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (PS Vita)only on a tropical island. Even the characters looked alike somehow. However, there is nothing to be afraid of – each student is unique in his own way (read: bizarre) and brings something to the story, complicated investigations would find a place in better crime fiction, and the mystery of the deadly game, the battle between hope and despair and the ending that destroys the head will not let you tear off away from the screen like a great book. For a long, long time.
Because the newest Danganronpa will take you over 30 hours of play! Sure, most of them are millions of windows with dialogue, but time passes faster than watching series, and with longer conversations, you can put PS Vita somewhere, take popcorn, turn on AUTO mode and let the text scroll by itself, enjoying the story twists. For dessert, additions – a light novel story to read, a simple game of killing monsters with rainbow traps and the normal game mode known from the predecessor, where students do not have to kill each other, and in return we manage the search for resources and play simple crafting. Nothing particularly playable, but as a curiosity it will pass.
The catchy musical themes return, and we can again choose whether we want to hear the spoken lines in Japanese or English. In addition, there are eye-catching brutal death arts (with the showpiece of the series – bright pink blood), picturesque spots (the sun shines between buildings and trees!) And expressive-looking characters. Everything maintains the level of the original, but it is also not worth trying without knowing it – you may be able to finish the game, but you will find enough spoilers here to spoil your “first time” with the one.
For veterans Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (PS Vita) and – a mandatory item. The plot here adds depth to the original story, the game time is much longer, and the conflict between hope and the title despair has intensified. But keep in mind that this is a Visual-Novel and you won’t find much of the gameplay as such – it’s a more interactive picture book, checking from time to time to make sure we’re mindful and understand everything. For novices in the subject, I recommend the first part, and everyone else knows that Monokuma and the gang do not disappoint.