Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair – PC Review
Original Developer: Spike-Chunsoft
Port Studio: Abstraction Games
Release Date: April 18, 2016
A review copy has been provided by Spike-Chunsoft
When Danganronpa 2 came out on the Playstation Vita, it quickly became one of my favorite games of all time. Playing through it again on the PC and I remember why that is the case.
Danganronpa 2 is a lot more of the same but with enough twists to make it feel similar, but very different all at the same time. In this case, you play as Hajime Hinata, whom, like Makoto Naegi from the previous Danganronpa, is attending Hope’s Peak Academy – the school where only the best of the best students go. The difference between Hajime and Makoto’s situations is that, while the original Danganronpa was about Makoto being trapped in school, Hajime and his fifteen classmates are trapped on a deserted island. This time, Hajime and crew are asked not to kill each other, but to become friends with one another and create hope crystals. Of course, the moment everyone accepts this odd fate Monokuma appears and the killing game begins once more.
Setting the scenario on the island gives the game a much different vibe and feel. In the original Danganronpa, the characters dreaded the fact that they’re trapped in school with seemingly no way out. Here on the island, it’s much more calm and relaxed as there are bars, a beach, a movie theater and much more. That comes with greater consequence, however, as Monokuma goes even further to play with the characters psyche this time around.
Just about everything about the story to Danganronpa 2 is much crazier this time around compared to the first. That being said, while the twists and turns might be crazy, there were a couple times where I knew right off the bat who did it. However, I couldn’t necessarily figure out how they did it, which is where the fun comes in. During some of the non-stop debate portions, I was just completely stumped as to how some chain of events came to pass because they just didn’t make sense. Granted, yes, it eventually does make sense but that momentary logical jump you need to make at some points are sort of frustrating.
The cast this time around is, honestly, really generic when it comes to the archetypes. Although this wouldn’t be Danganronpa if you didn’t have a personality type and cranked it up to the max. That said, while everyone being wacky and zany is the “norm” here, Nagito’s and Chiaki’s performances were absolutely wonderful and are easily the best characters in the game.
The game separates itself into three game-play portions. First, there is Daily Life. Daily Life, is mainly your free-time type mode. In this mode you can explore and examine the island, but mainly you’ll be talking to your classmates and getting to know them more. You can hangout with about 3 people per day and on the next day you go. After hanging out with a classmate, eventually you’ll receive a Hope Crystal Fragment from them, ironically, something that you originally came to the island to do.
Of course, with Monokuma being the bear that he is, it’s only a matter of time before he finds a way to push someone over the edge. When he does, the game goes into its second phase, Deadly Life. Deadly Life is unfortunately when someone is eventually murdered. With that said, it’s time to investigate. The game-play is pretty much the exact same as Daily Life, but you can no longer hang out. Talking to classmates may drop a hint as to what potentially happened or an alibi. In this mode, it’s just as important to examine parts of the island as well as something that might be a clue at the scene of the crime, like the victims room for instance. Every new clue gives you ammo called Truth Bullets, and once you’ve obtained all of your Truth Bullets, it’s time to go to trial.
The third and final part of a chapter are the Class Trial. Remember those Hope Fragments I mentioned? You can use them to enhance yourself by increasing your HP, your Concentration, or various attributes (IE speeding up the rate a truth bullet is fired). This is where most of Danganronpa’s “game-play” lies. This part is filled with matching puzzles, a rhythm game, some bizarre skiing game, and much more. The main components of the Class Trials, besides these mini-games, are non-stop debates. In these debates, what everyone is saying is flying across the screen and it’s up to you to pick out the lie and counteract it, or agree with a truth with your truth bullets. Once the murderer is revealed, it’s time for them to be executed. These executions aren’t -as bad- as the first game, but they’re wacky all the same. In the end, you’re given Monokuma Coins to spend on extras and gifts to buy for your classmates.
Once all is said and done, it’s time to start the next chapter of the game to go through the motions all over again. These motions honestly aren’t so bad and the game gives you a couple of things to do in-between. For instance, you’re given an electronic pet to take care of and how it grows up is completely dependent on how you take care of it. If you give it a gift, its Hope meter will rise, but if you let it sit and rot in its own poop, its Despair meter will rise. Technically speaking, you don’t have to take care of this pet at all if you don’t want to. Another thing to look out for is that the five fake Monokumas laying around in every chapter to find as collectibles. Finally, there is a small minigame you can play that uses Monomi (your self-proclaimed magical girl teacher) as the main character. In this game you run in circles around your enemies to damage them. Ultimately in the end you fight a boss and defeat them. In it’s own way, it ties into the main game since it can be used to explain as to why a new part of the island has opened itself up for you to explore.
Once again, Abstraction Games was on port duty, and, like before, it’s a job well done. Any modern laptop should be able to run this game just fine. For instance my bottom of the barrel laptop (AMD A8-6410 CPU with an integrated AMD Radeon HD R5 6410 to boot with 4GB of DDR3 RAM) played through the game with no hiccups or problems at 1080p.
At the end of the day, as said in the beginning, Danganronpa 2 rose to become one of my favorite games of all time. Of course, no game is without faults, but as someone who thinks every game is either labeled as “good” or “okay”, you’ll find me hard pressed to find me praise a game higher than I do this one.
+ Better, longer class trails
-All of chapter 4