Reader Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (Vita)

DAN2_BOXMy good friend Leroy reviewed Dangonronpa 2: Goodbye Despair for PS Vita, so you’d better check it out! It’s a visual novel that’s perfect for older gamers to play at this spooky time of year around Halloween!

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is a visual novel game in the murder mystery genre for the PlayStation Vita, developed by Spike Chunsoft and published in North America by NIS America. The game is available as a retail game cartridge or as a digital download on the PlayStation Store.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc was quite a surprise to me when I had the chance to review it earlier this year. I’m not usually a fan of visual novels but the game oozed style, it was so over the top and the mysteries had me chomping to get through each chapter as quickly as I could while still being able to absorb all of the text.

You can read my review of the first game here, which kind of covers most of the sequel (outside of the new characters and story, obviously).

Being a visual novel, not much has changed from the first game. Every chapter is divided into three main parts; Daily Life, where the lives of the students play out, Deadly Life, where you gather clues for a murder and Class Trial, where you ultimately unravel each chapter’s mystery.

Most of the additions are in the Class Trial portion, where there are a few new mini-games for working out clues (such as a racing game where you run down branching paths of a thought process) and returning mini-games are generally made more complex. They’re not huge additions, but it’s enough to really flesh out the trials a little.

Outside of the trials, there’s a Skill Shop to buy skills for the trail mini-games (in addition to getting more specialized skills through Free Time sessions like the first game) and a virtual pet that you can tend to earn money (money is much easier to come by this time, thankfully).

From here on, there will be some minor spoilers for the beginning of the game. If you really liked the first game, you’re probably going to like the sequel and I would honestly suggest hopping in on a blank slate, as even from the first ten minutes the game is throwing surprises at you.

Much like the first game, you play an average student, Hajime Hinata, attending Hope’s Peak Academy, a school for the “ultimate” students. However, the students are quickly lifted from the school to a tropical island, where a talking toy rabbit advises them that they are here to earn Hope Fragments while becoming friends with each other. Long story short, a few things happen and this new set of students find themselves tasked with being stuck on the island forever, or killing each other.

My initial reaction to the game was that it was just TOO similar to the first game. Sure, the new cast is more colorful and more interesting than the first cast and we’ve changed settings to outside of the school, but it felt like there was only so far they could take the concept of students killing each other. What saved it from feeling stale for me was a single character. This single character turns so much of the game on its head. I won’t spoil which character it is or why, but I will guarantee that as early as the first chapter you will know what I’m talking about.

However, after the initial feeling of familiarity, I eventually got caught up in the new story and the final chapter of the game in particular closes out the duology in an extremely satisfying manner. My only hope is that there is a major switch-up for any potential continuation of the series as I don’t think a third round of student murder mystery will work.


Kid Factor:

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is rated M for Mature with ESRB descriptors of Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, and Violence. Much like the first game, Danganronpa 2 is definitely not for children. The game has plenty of strong language, plenty of strong innuendos and plenty of graphic murder scenes (although the blood is still bright pink). Like I recommended for the first game, teenagers may like the characters and story if they are able to deal with the mature situations and as a bonus, it will get them to read…… a lot.  –Leroy Capasso

One Response to “Reader Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (Vita)”

  1. Sounds like a great game for my tastes. Kind of like Battle Royale, but with an added sense of Japanese humor and a murderous bunny. Well actually, I don’t know if the bunny is murderous, but it sure seems that way.

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