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Published on November 4th, 2014 | by Michaela Buckley

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Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

After a short wait, the visual novel series returns with the gruesome sequel to last year’s Danganrona: Trigger Happy Havoc, both games have been in Japan a few years now and are equally well-received, the former arrived in the west to great reviews allowing the genre and series some good exposure.
I too, enjoyed it and have been looking to the sequel with equal trepidation as others after the first game’s closure and the lack of many points to develop upon further doesn’t lead itself to make good sequel material.
I wish I could say that I was pleasantly surprised, but Danganronpa 2 is the disappointing sequel that I expected but hoped wouldn’t be.

This time, new student Hajime Hinata enters Hope’s Peak Academy and like the last game, wakes up to find himself trapped, although this time on a pictaresque island. A pink and supposedly cute rabbit named Usami turns up extolling happiness and love on the island in order to leave, when Monokuma rears his ugly head and enacts the same dooming kill game as seen in Danganronpa. Kill each other off and leave the island, but make sure that nobody finds out, or you won’t pass the court session alive. This is a sequel that initially appears to need no knowledge of the first game to play, however as a recognisable face appears it soon is clearly not the case.

Monomi is as annoying as she looks.

Monomi is as annoying as she looks.

It’s never long before a murder happens in Danganronpa, when this happens the text-based adventure turns point and click for the investigation phase, where the player must collect and find evidence about the murder before the class trial. When all evidence is collected, the player is whisked to the class trial where you duke it out amongst one another in word-based mini-games to get to the bottom of the murder.

As in the last game, most of these mechanics are visual-novel based in nature and any small additions, such as the level up system serve seemingly no purpose at all, lest it’s to give a reason why the world map suddenly became two-dimensional and cheap looking. Who ever thought that walking would be a good way to level the character up?

On the outset, the presentation is much worse, the art quality has dropped and on top of the missing world map exploration, the islands are mostly only a couple of screens. The characters are less diverse and mostly seem to be fan-bait on the girls front, emphasis on the ‘front’ part. While a bit of fan service doesn’t exactly rub me up the right way, Danganronpa 2 is downright obnoxious about it. Intrusive cutscenes and an entire mystery were spun out of awkward and what one would hope were unnecessary provocative moments in the game, with little regard to any variety in preferences that even the most sordid hentai experiences will offer.

Danganronpa 2 Mikan Fan Service

Looks like seafood tonight lads – Just one of numerous fan service moments in Danganronpa 2. I don’t understand how this is meant to be sexy.

As well as mediocre characters, the game boasts and equally dull story, with the only limited point of interest in the plot being needlessly dragged out throughout the game and flogged at the end to the point where any mental stragglers would even get bored. The only aspects of the game that weren’t a mystery were fine examples of poor writing often found in long-running TV series and not videogames that outstay their welcome at 25 hours. If you thought that the first game brazenly ignored any plot holes, than be prepared for the Swiss cheese of them with this title, I am not sure if even a chapter went by where it didn’t feel like another person completely hadn’t taken over writing duties.

The game only finally bothers with anything by the very end, where I felt so psychologically strung out it was too hard to care. I have no idea why everyone is giving this game good reviews at all, especially in comparison to the first game, but it would be a real injustice to the many cells that expired in my person through the duration of playing this game if I didn’t call this game out to be the most overwrought, sickening and sadly diminshed game that I played this year and probably the most undeserved sequel ever.

Oh, and the music is shit too.

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