Review: Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (PS Vita).
Forget about the sadistic teddy bear who imprisons students in school and tells them to kill each other. This time there are hundreds of teddy bears, but instead of a sadistic manipulator mentality, their intellect is equal to that of zombies. Plus, it’s a shooter… but don’t worry – this is a top-notch spin-off.
Although I got both parts of Danganronpa’s “detective” series nine, I was worried about Another Episode. From the beginning, it seemed to be an ordinary cut-off of the coupon from a well-known brand, because the developer did not yet have an idea for a three-story script. Anyway, a third-person shooter on Vita from the developer, which has nothing to do with the genre? It couldn’t work. But whatever, I thought, it will probably be short and maybe explain some of the plot lines of the main series. I will. How wrong I was …
Danganronpa: Another Episode takes place between the first and second installments of the series. The sadistic game of Monokuma the bear was over, but this was just the beginning of the nightmare that Chief Evil had prepared for us (this is how I will refer to the antagonist in order to avoid spoilers). He left behind followers of Despair, including five young students from Hope’s Peak Academy. These “Warriors of Hope” took control of mass-produced murderous robot bears and set out to kill all adults to create a children’s paradise.
Does it make sense? Has no “warrior” thought he would grow up himself? We get to know their motives a bit later and if you take into account the fact that it is a production from Japan, you can subscribe the whole thing under the category “makes sense”. I must mention here that although the series got used to brutal killings and even in the previous part there was a strongly suggested rape on the body of one of the protagonists, the story of a few-year-old girl and trauma after bad touch was exposed here too much. I don’t count it on the downside, they just surprised me.
We play the role of the sister of the protagonist of the first part, Komaru Naegi. The girl spent a year and a half trapped in an apartment building and completely cut off from the world. One day, its door is broken by one of Monokuma’s robots and after escaping, we end up in the completely destroyed city of Towa City. Death, destruction and robots everywhere. Little children in teddy bear masks dig up the corpses of adults in the middle of the street, and we try to figure out what it’s all about. We are quickly joined by Toko Fukawa / Genocide Jack from the original and we are starting the right adventure.
The gameplay is largely based on traversing the corridor boards and shooting teddy bears in various variations. There are regular versions, units with a shield, robots that trigger an alarm, etc. It sounds plain and boring, but don’t be fooled – each fight is unique and forces us to use the new types of ammunition we acquire. We shoot a hacking megaphone (that Call of Duty knows Modern Warfare? That’s good!), Which, apart from ordinary ammunition of condensed code that destroys robot integrated circuits (or something like that), can repel them, take control over them or … make them dance . A bit like Ratchet, but without platform elements. For a short time, we can also summon Jack’s Genocide, which mows enemies with a pair of scissors in quick combos.
In addition to ordinary fights, we end up in a room where we can kill everyone in one go, if we only strain the gray cells. Each of the five chapters also ends with a boss duel, so when it comes to shooting and leaning against the slasher Jack, you can’t complain about boredom. For skillful players, there are headshot bonuses (you have to hit the teddy’s little eye perfectly – it’s not easy, but it works), for which we get a reinforced shot and some cash. The money is spent on Jack’s upgrades or special ammo buffs, but in the latter case, it only slightly changes the stats of different types of ammunition and I didn’t feel any major difference.
The second part of the gameplay is, of course, long conversations and cutscenes. Don’t you like it when the game attacks you with tons of text? Give it up. For fans of the series, guest appearances of famous characters and their relatives as well as obligatory story twists have been prepared. It looks good, but I have a reservation as to the choice of heroines. Both Komaru and Toko (in the calm version) are terribly groaning and can talk endlessly about how they are afraid and sad. The friendship between them (such a female bromance) is great, but they can be annoying at first. In the end, the story holds the level, although the typical Danganronpa mind___ in the final fared weaker than before.
In terms of the setting, it is even better than before. Beautiful anime cutscenes mix with very medium renderings and much better 3D graphics. A unique style has also been maintained, where the blood is bright pink and the adults (who we haven’t seen before) are single-colored silhouettes. These treatments weaken the drama of events, but we are still dealing mainly with black humor, hence applause for this decision. The speakers play well-known motifs in new versions, but the dialogues … we will hear only in English. The developer announced a free DLC with Japanese voices, but it is not yet available, and it is known how hard it is to listen to American dubbing in the anime. When the DLC is available, a few words about the original voices will appear in a box next to the review.
Danganronpa: Another Episode plays a bit like TPS with zombies, and that’s okay. Aiming and camera aren’t too much of a problem, but even without aiming the shots in the eye, the game will be fine. However, you have to ask yourself if you are ready for this species. The mix of Visual Novel and shooters is not a very popular combination, and if you don’t like at least one of them, you will be tormented. Both genres are done very well and the spin-off, which will take you a dozen or so hours out of your life (a lot of talk here), definitely deserves high marks.