Danganronpa is one of those lovely little franchises that, no matter how far I decide to ignore, always ends up appearing in my life in some way or form…If I’m honest, I’m not sure how – Might just be a sick addiction to the despair that these games bring you…
…Ahem, poetics aside, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is the sequel to the one-hit-wonder lovechild of Ace Attorney and Zero Escape, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, which I previously reviewed HERE!
Set on the mysterious Jabberwock Island, our characters are oddly transported there after waking up in an abstract classroom…The exact same circumstances were presented in Danganronpa 1…Minus the obvious tropical island – Our classmates are all a new batch of unique Ultimates, ranging from an Ultimate animal breeder, photographer, princess, cook and even Yakuza…It’s fair to say this is a wider amount of variety as opposed to it’s predecessor here.
Danganronpa 2 not only comes with a brand new tone, one of conflicting Hopes, but also new gameplay elements in the form of new and improved Trial Minigames – Crossed Swords is a personal love-hate minigame for me, since you have to slice through your enemy’s statements, advance your own, and then deal the ‘killing blow’ to shatter their argument, which despite being drenched in layers of philosophy and metaphorical meaning, can be a good break from the standard “Aim’n’Shoot” gameplay found in the game’s many Panic Time Attack sections. Logic Dive too is a brand new minigame where players must snowboard their way down a straight course to select answers to different questions. These new gameplay sessions help to break up a lot of the monotony of the core game, and lead to a lot of interesting moments within the story and gameplay.
Now, Danganronpa 2 may seem just like more of the same, however, I can assure you that this couldn’t be further from the truth – Whilst the core gameplay and featuring of the wonderful Monokuma may be exactly the same, the way that these characters adapt, change and morph to this new island paradise is…Very interesting – Worries about food, shelter and survival run rampant within the first hour or two in the game, moving on to more serious undertones of trauma, sexual abuse, depression, mania and suicide; this switch, whilst entirely expected of a Danganronpa title, was presented in a very interesting and fresh way, that didn’t compromise at all on the game’s overall enjoyment.
Some of the trials and chapters in this game, however, can be rather…Confusing. The difficulty of trials has been upped to a significant amount, especially in Mean Mode, however this is achieved through different methods – Genuinely hard trials, a confusing lack of detail, things not quite adding up…It all contributed towards a fun, but sometimes frustrating experience; two prime examples of this are Chapter 2 and Chapter 4:
With Chapter 2, you’re tasked with lining up the events of an in-game videogame to the events in real life, which had been intentionally conducted in such a way to mirror the videogame’s events – I got stuck for at least 20 minutes (As I didn’t want to search for the answer) before figuring out that a character in the videogame had been killed with a swimsuit tied together and filled with gravel. Really? How do you expect people to guess that?!
Chapter 4 too is a confusing mess, with you having to solve the mystery of the tower the case is contained within, which rotates, changes elevation, and room type all at the drop of a hat; figuring out the central mystery, and the mystery of the tower had me drawing diagrams, rewatching parts of the trial beforehand, and even questioning my own judgements and sanity due to how complex it was. I’d even go as far as to say it was one of Danganronpa’s hardest cases.
Asides from confusion, one thing that Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is good at is providing interesting, well written character dialogues and interactions between it’s varied and colourful cast of 16 school students – From Akane, the Gymnast with the heart of a tiger, to the eccentric and folklore-spewing Ghundam, to the calm, quiet and reference-spewing Chiaki, each character has their own unique charm, quirk, and memorable piece of backstory that’ll stick with you throughout even the final moments of the game.
All in all, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is an enjoyable romp; featuring probably the most colourful characters to date, most emotional scenes, and best character interactions for the franchise, Danganronpa 2 is a staple addition to any PSVita or PS4 owner’s mystery catalogue.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair gets an 8 / 10 from me.
A Word on Danganronpa 1.2 Reload
This collection of both Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair brings the two games up to the hardware of the modern age, taking the PSVita versions of the game and making them run at 1080p, 60fps on PS4 – Whilst these collections are a good deal for money, it should be noted that this transition to the big screen hasn’t come without some…Issues.
For one, even when playing on a 55″ inch TV or a 32″ inch telly, cropping and border issues plauge the two titles, predominantly Danganronpa 2 – Text frequently appears off the borders of your screen, UI elements don’t appear correctly, and button prompts are sometimes obscured – Translation issues, most likely prevalent within the base translated PSVita games, also exist, again most prevalent within Danganronpa 2 with a certain character who changes to use “CopyPasta” faces to communicate (*´д｀*). The characters used are mis-translated into Japanese again, appearing as jumbled messes.
Controls too can be rather awkward to control with the larger screen and DualShock 4 controller, with aiming and buttonmapping seeming a little odd if you haven’t played one of these titles before – If you have played either Danganronpa or Danganronpa 2 on your PSVita, however, then you should feel right at home with this neat little collection. This compilation also comes with a digital copy of Danganronpa IF too, which gives more backstory on how some characters’ lives were pre-Danganronpa and pre-Danganronpa 2…It’s certainly an interesting read, and you should pick this collection up if you’re looking into the franchise!