Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Before we start I think there’s a few things that we need to get out of the way. If you haven’t played the first Danganronpa, and plan to do so, you should probably avoid anything related to Danganronpa 2. Because as story focused as this series is, it’s incredibly easy to spoil yourself. While events from the first game are explained within Danganronpa 2 you will be completely lost without having played it. But this is a series worth getting into, so get on that already.
Danganronpa 2’s premise is not all that different from the first game. A group of students from Hopes Peak Academy have found themselves part of Monokuma’s killing game. A game in which the only way to escape is by murdering a fellow student without getting caught. However, this time the students find themselves on a tropical island and Monokuma now has an opponent. Magical Miracle Girl ★ Usami, or Monomi as Monokuma calls her, is a kindhearted rabbit that acts as the perfect counterweight to Monokuma’s sadistic nature. The dynamic between Monomi and Monokuma serves to showcase just how insane Monokuma is. This is a game that is filled with terrific characters and once again it’s Monokuma that steals the show every single time he’s on screen.
Every facet of Danganronpa 2 builds off of the foundation that the original game created. The game’s structure (Daily Life, Deadly Life, Class Trial) unfolds similarly to the first with a few new features and new mini-games included. Monomi’s inclusion in the game introduces “Hope Fragments” that can be acquired by spending time with other students. Much like the first game you’ll spend free time during the Daily Life segments with other students in hopes of getting to know them better. Doing so will unlock a new page of their report card, granting new information of who they are as a character, while also giving you a Hope Fragment. Hope Fragments can then be used to purchase skills that can be equipped during the Class Trial.
Talking to characters, finding clues, exploring the island, and walking will earn experience towards increasing your level. A higher level means more health and focus during the Class Trial. You’re also given a Tomagatchi-like pet that, if you take proper care of, will grow and one day reward you with new gifts and tons of Monokuma coins. Monokuma coins can then be used to purchase additional gifts from the Monokuma vending machine that can then be given to other characters to further your friendship.
At some point throughout each chapter things go wrong and a murder occurs. Deadly Life begins as the remaining students are forced to piece together evidence that hopefully leads to the true identity of the culprit. Clues might be placed specifically to trick you and characters are likely to lie or even hide parts of the truth. In Danganronpa nothing is ever as it seems. I was rarely able to piece together the full truth and even when I did there still key things that I missed. Each piece of evidence that you find throughout the investigation grants you a “Truth Bullet”.
Truth Bullets continue to be a key component in the Class Trial. After the investigation ends the students meet in a setting similar to a court room with Monokuma and Monomi. The goal of the trial is to find the identity of the culprit. If successful the culprit will be punished (killed) and the remaining students spared. Some of the biggest changes in the game come in the form of the Class Trial. As mentioned in the review for the original game, the Class Trial consists of many different mini-games that are used to piece together evidence in order to understand how the crime happened. Danganronpa 2 now features a brand new mini-game “Logic Dive” while also including changes to some of the pre-existing mini-games. Logic Dive puts your player on a surfboard as you surf down a long tunnel, jumping over gaps, avoiding obstacles, and choosing a pathway that corresponds with the correct answer of a specific question. Hangman’s Gambit now requires you to connect letters together in order to form the hidden word and the Closing Argument (piecing the story together in the form of a comic strip) now gives context to the images that you’ll need to use to fill in the story. The Closing Argument change alone is super smart and took care of my only small gripe with the original game.
Chapters in the game can take anywhere from 5-7 hours with the Class Trial taking up most of that time. Each trial is long as the students thoroughly explore every single aspect relating to the murder. At any moment the direction of the trial can take a sudden turn as new pieces of evidence and hidden agenda’s are brought forth. As I said before nothing is ever as it seems in Dangaronpa and it has never been more true here. The Class Trial is where Danganronpa shines and I think it’s safe to say that this one shines even brighter than the original.
Class Trials end with the true killer being punished and the students returning to their daily life on the island. The punishment segments serve to show just how cruel Monokuma can be and, with the exception of one specific punishment, the segments in this game are just as crazy as the original. Danganronpa never ceases to amaze and the places that this game goes are sufficiently insane in some of the best ways possible. Danganronpa 2 surpasses the original game in nearly every aspect.
Aside from the main game Danganronpa 2 also feature a number of separate modes that you’ll unlock as you play. Magical Miracle Girl ★ Monomi lets you play as Monomi as she fights Monobeasts. Island Mode is an alternate story-line similar to the School Life mode from the original that allows for a more peaceful life on the island for the students. Danganronpa IF, an alternate story-line for the original game, is also provided for you to read. Of course when you’re not playing you can also use the sound gallery to listen to the game’s fantastic soundtrack.
I can’t say enough good things about Danganronpa 2. The following quote is from my review of the original game in February and the same applies to Danganronpa 2. “It’s just a fantastic game and manages to tell a very interesting story while still being surprising. Everything from the characters, to the music, to the localization is so top notch that it’s incredibly difficult not to become invested in this game from start to finish. It’ll keep you on your toes the entire way through and completely satisfied once the credits finally roll.” I think, considering how good the original Danganronpa was, to say that I am left feeling completely satisfied should say enough about just how high quality Danganronpa 2 has turned out to be.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Builds on and surpasses the original
- Monokuma and Monomi
- New additions like the Hope Fragments, pets, leveling system
- Characters that you care about
- Plenty of crazy twists
- Punishment cinematics are still great
- Fantastic soundtrack
- Tons of content