Danganronpa 2 is a crazy visual novel about investigating murders and holding trials that are borderline absurd. So, like the first game!
|Console||PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, PC/Mac/Linux (Steam)|
|Publisher||Spike Chunsoft, NIS America|
|Genre||Visual novel, point-and-click, experimental|
|Release Year||2012 – 2016|
|Purchase (PlayStation Vita)||Purchase from Amazon.|
|Purchase (PC/Mac/Linux)||Purchase from Steam.|
Yes, yes. Another Danganronpa title. I got a little obsessed with the series. So what? So as you may or may not know, I already covered Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls for this month.
The first game is a solid visual novel with investigation and trial mechanics similar to the Ace Attorney series. The spinoff is, strangely enough, a decent third-person shooter with RPG mechanics. The Danganronpa series is known for its dark and ecstatic overtone, turning a murder crime scene into a game of life and death. But it also got trigger-happy with its multiple plot twists…
And so, this brings up to the official second game in the series: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. Time for more of the thrills, chills, KILLS!
An Island Full of Hope and Despair
Very much like its predecessor, Goodbye Despair has impressive visuals that give you a general idea that this is a game with adult themes: murder, paranoia, anarchy, helplessness, abusive relationships, etc.
While the first game generally uses a first-person perspective in 3D environments which switches over to a point-and-click interface in some rooms, Goodbye Despair uses first-person 3D environments a lot more sparingly.
Instead, you have to traverse through a sidescrolling map to get to certain locations. Personally, I think this is a better way to get around. I wasn’t a fan of getting lost in Hope’s Peak Academy in the first game, then having to pull out a map to cover my face.
The setting is noticeably more… tropical, this time around. It’s almost like being in a strange dimension. The first game took place in a locked down school. But the second game took place in a series of islands. But at the very least, we have the “isolated” trait down to a tee. The ocean is vast and there are no working ships or aircrafts to help you escape. And that is a legitimately scary thought.
The Killing School Trip
In Goodbye Despair, the story follows a young man named Hajime Hinata. Much like Makoto Naegi from Trigger Happy Havoc, Hajime is an average kid with no notable talents. Under unknown circumstances, Hajime is ready to attend Hope’s Peak Academy, a school he deeply admired. But afterwards, he loses his memory and ends up being in a classroom with other students and a strange rabbit-like creature named Usami.
Through what appeared to be magic, Usami teleported everyone into a tropical island called Jabberwock Island, where she expects all students of Hope’s Peak Academy to befriend one another in order to collect crystals called Hope Fragments. Everyone is unsure why this is all happening, but they went along with it after realizing that this tropical vacation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
And of course, faaaaaaaan seeeeeeeerviiiiiiiice.
And now, here’s the student roster.
Unfortunately, the vacation turns into a complete nightmare once a familiar face crashes into the party.
The proper response…
Monokuma mysteriously enters the picture, destroying Usami’s magical wand, altering her appearance into more humiliating attire, and seizing power over Jabberwock Island. From this point on, Usami is now Monokuma’s “little sister” called Monomi and the Killing School Trip commences.
So with Monokuma’s appearance, a lot of questions raise up in your head:
- Why is Monokuma back, this time tormenting a new group of high-school age kids?
- Who are these new students and why are we focusing on them?
- What is Hajime Hinata’s real talent?
- Whatever happened to the survivors of the Killing School Life in the first game?
- Why the tropical island setting?
- Who is Usami/Monomi, who seems concerned for the students’ well-being and actively opposes Monokuma?
Once again, the sadistic Monokuma pits everyone against each other by creating motives for killing. Right away, the mysteries keep on adding into a pile and you’re left questioning what is going to happen next. As expected, Goodbye Despair is a great followup to Trigger Happy Havoc. As a sequel, it works on its own and it helps expand the series’ universe.
I won’t give out any more plot details, but I will mention this: while I enjoyed the mysteries, I can’t help but feel that some of the chapters feel too convoluted at times. Like, they are working out far too conveniently to work on a practical level. There is also the fact that Goodbye Despair seems to try to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor in terms of its plot. In a way, it feels a little too similar.
I guess you could say it’s like comparing Home Alone 2 to the original Home Alone. You can’t help but feel like the plots are too similar, so you start seeing some “twists” coming.
There are also some… pretty dumb moments…
HOW IS THAT NOT COMMON KNOWLEDGE?!
Despite that, Goodbye Despair’s plot is quite entertaining and the overall tone is even darker than the last game’s. I enjoyed the fourth wall jokes, the oddball dark humor and even allusions to other games. There are references to Twilight Syndrome by Human Entertainment, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, and Samurai Zombie Nation of all things. You’ll find yourself trying to consume as much story as you can in one session.
Showing a Bit of Grease
So much like its predecessor, Goodbye Despair operates much like a point-and-click game as you try to pass time on your daily life. At the beginning of each chapter, you often have to explore new areas to gather clues on how to get off Jabberwock Island as well as learning the truth behind a mysterious organization known as World Ender.
In Trigger Happy Havoc, much of the exploration is through a 3D first-person point of view. But in Goodbye Despair, this is a rare occurrence—thankfully, because the camera moves painfully slow in this game for some reason. Instead, you have to traverse through a sidescrolling map that leads to different areas of Jabberwock Island. Only then can you progress the story.
Part of the purpose of this sidescrolling map feature is to raise a digital pet based on Usami. Through your menu, you can check up on the status of your pet: two meters that show how much hope and despair she has.
The pet starts off as an egg, which will hatch into a Chibimi. By regularly cleaning up poop and giving Chibimi presents, her hope will increase while her despair will decrease. Eventually, she will enter a metamorphosis that will transform her into an adult creature. What she will become depends on how much hope and despair she has at the time.
By being a good caretaker until the pet decides to go out on her own, you will earn a large number of Monocoins and other items. Then you will receive a new egg and start the cycle again.
You may also find hidden Monokuma easter eggs scattered all over, which will also give you some Monocoins. You should really make use of these features to get more collectibles from the MonoMono Yachine.
Speaking of the MonoMono Yachine, it’s a device found at the beach of the 1st Island that is very similar to the MonoMono Machine from the school store in the first game. The purpose is exactly the same: spend Monocoins to earn collectibles that you can gift your classmates with.
Of course, you can also visit Rocketpunch Market and buy specific items from the vending machine instead. But some of the items are generally are more expensive than you would think, so choose carefully.
During your Free Time, you can bond with the other students and unlock conversations in order to collect Hope Fragments. By giving the items the individual student likes, you can advance these conversations much faster.
So what exactly are Hope Fragments and why do you need them? Well, they are a special type of currency you can earn from unlocking new conversations. Each classmate has six conversations for the Report Card, therefore six Hope Fragments to give. Then you can spend them to buy Skills featured in the first Danganronpa game, which will come in handy during the Class Trials.
And of course, maxing out the number of Hope Fragments for a classmate will unlock a new unique skill. So you’d be doing yourself a favor by getting as many Skills as possible.
Trust me. You’ll need whatever you can get.
The “Blackened” Revealed
So sometime during the chapter, at least one of your fellow classmates dies. Good old-fashioned murder. So just like with Ace Attorney games, you have to investigate the crime scene and gather as much evidence (called “Truth Bullets”) as possible.
So now, time to investigate as many areas as possib—
RUN! RUN! STOP FUCKING AROUND! JUST RUUUUN!
…WELL! Let’s hope you have the patience of a saint in these sections.
So after you collect all of your Truth Bullets, now it’s time for the Class Trial. The purpose: identify the murderer (“blackened”) and put him/her to death. And if the wrong culprit is chosen, then everyone except the “blackened” dies.
So no fucking around, people! Time for… MINI-GAMES!
The first and most common mini-game is the Nonstop Debate, where you have to use your Truth Bullets to expose contradictions in everyone’s testimonies. You must load the correct Truth Bullet and then shoot the statement (yellow text) that it disproves. As the game goes on, you will eventually have the ability to borrow a classmate’s statement to contradict another classmate’s statement.
A new feature in the Nonstop Debate is that you can now use your Truth Bullets to support a classmate’s argument (blue text). Unfortunately, you can’t borrow these statements to contradict another classmate’s statement.
Next, we have a new mini-game called Rebuttal Showdown. It works similarly to the Nonstop Debate, only this time it’s a one-on-one debate against another classmate.
In this mini-game, you have to cut down your opponent’s statements (white text) and gain the advantage. The middle glowing line indicates how strong or weak your current argument is, so you want to push that line towards the opponent.
When you get to a contradictory statement (yellow text), you must select the correct Truth Sword and use it to cut it down to defeat your opponent. But be careful. Using the normal attacks against yellow text will end up weakening your argument.
Another returning mini-game is Hangman’s Gambit. And holy shit, it’s a lot harder than the original version in Trigger Happy Havoc.
So basically, this is real-time Hangman where you have to answer a specific question by spelling out your answer. But you get NO hints. So hopefully, you can figure something out before you’re in a real world of hurt.
First, you must combine two or more of the same letters together so that it’s one letter that came to a complete stop. Then you can either eliminate the letter or accept it to spell out your answer. However, the spelling order must be correct so you can’t just accept any letter as you please.
Also, any letters that are different and end up colliding with each other will do damage to you. Fortunately, you can place a letter in stock to remove it temporarily. You can also slow down time so that you can destroy unneeded letters more easily.
This mini-game gets chaotic very quickly. And if you don’t get good at it, you’ll lose huge chunks of health every time.
Next up is the second new mini-game, Logic Dive. It’s a snowboarding mini-game that is stupidly easy. All you have to do is avoid obstacles and not fall, or else you take damage.
Later on, you will have to answer a question by choosing the path with the correct answer on it. Choose the wrong answer, then you fall off and take damage.
It doesn’t get any more complex from the first time you play this mini-game. It’s pretty disappointing.
Next, we have Panic Talk Action. This is a reimagined Bullet Time Battle from Trigger Happy Havoc. It’s a rhythm game where you have to press a button at the right time to do damage against an opponent’s shields.
However, this mini-game is dumbed down from the previous version and gets repetitive real quick. The opponent can still use Nega Time against you, which will cover the ribbon’s nodes so that you’re blind. However, you can just activate Fever Time which will speed up the ribbon and cancel out Nega Time. So it’s kinda pointless.
After you tear down your opponent’s defenses, you must shoot down your opponent’s argument by creating a sentence with four words.
And finally, we have the Closing Argument. This is traditionally the last mini-game you will play in the Class Trials, where you must wrap up the events of the entire investigation… in a manga with a linear narration.
Just like with Panic Talk Action, this mini-game is dumbed down from the original version. Here, you’re given a small set of panels depicting specific events. You must place these panels in the correct spots in the manga. The mini-game will immediately confirm whether the panel is correct or not, after you place it.
However, there are panels you won’t use. So through the process of elimination, you will pick all of the necessary panels and place them in the correct spots. Then the unused panels will vanish and a new set of panels will appear. Rinse and repeat.
Overall, I enjoyed the Class Trial portions of the game. However, the difficulty is noticeably much higher than Trigger Happy Havoc, mostly from the Nonstop Debate mini-game. And I didn’t pick the Mean difficulty either. I played through both games on the Kind difficulty. In the first game, you usually receive a few Truth Bullets per testimony until much later in the game. In the second game, it’s possible for you to get more than ten. Jesus…
I’m also not too keen on the changes made to Bullet Time Battle/Panic Talk Action and Closing Argument. I believe the difficulty for them in the first game was fine, but they’re much easier in the second game. It’s rather underwhelming.
If you don’t know by this point, the Danganronpa series is well known for its techno and ambient soundtracks. While Goodbye Despair recycles some of the first game’s tracks—not that I’m complaining—, it also has some good new tracks to go along with them.
As you play through the main game, you can unlock a TON of extra content. Among these is Magical Miracle Girl ★ Monomi, which is like an arcade game where you play as Monomi.
In this game, you have to defeat all of the enemies that appear in the level. To kill them, you need to dash and create a rainbow circle around them to summon a powerful attack. At the end of each level , you have to fight one of Monokuma’s robotic minions known as a Monobeast. You know the rest… murder it in cold blood! Murder it with your rainbow sparkles!
You can also earn new equipment for Monomi, which kinda turns the game into an action RPG. Kinda. Overall, it’s a fun little distraction.
Also, there is Island Mode, which is unlocked after you complete the main game. AKA Dangan Island Huge Panic at the Heart ♥ Throbbing School Trip?
Jesus, that name…
Island Mode is the same thing as School Mode in Trigger Happy Havoc. However, Island Mode came first. School Mode was readily available after the release of Danganronpa 1.2 Reload, which is a PlayStation Vita/PlayStation 4 compilation of both games.
This post-game mode serves two purposes:
- Allows you to befriend the other classmates and experience missing conversations, therefore allowing you to collect the rest of the Hope Fragments
- Dating sim
If you want to know the specifics of Island Mode, go read the end of the Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc review. Seeing as how you’re reading the review of the second game, I would assume you have played or was aware of the first game already. I’m honestly tired now, considering how much is there to discuss about this one game, so…
Finally, we have Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc IF: The Button of Hope and the Tragic Warriors of Despair.
Good lord, what is with these fucking long names?
This is a light novel unlocked after you complete the main game. The plot is an alternate ending to Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, where Makoto Naegi recovered his memories and Mukuro Ikusaba survived. Despite that it took place in an alternate timeline, it’s a pretty interesting read that explored both characters more deeply.
So there you have it. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is a good followup to the original game, adding in more gameplay elements and sticking to its crazy, over-the-top premise. Once more, enjoy your batshit insane Japanese visual novel, fire up all those それわちがうよ statements, and whatnot.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair$29.99
- The story is a nice followup to the original game and still retains its wild tone. It's also considerably darker.
- The visuals are flashy as expected.
- The point-and-click aspect is easy to navigate and fast-paced.
- The Class Trials are still fun and have more stuff to do in them.
- The soundtrack is killer as usual.
- In my opinion, some of the plot twists are weaker than the first game's.
- Some characters can get grating.
- Some of the modifications to old Class Trial mini-games are unnecessary.
- This is NOT a beginner-friendly game. It gets difficult pretty quick.