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Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

October 26, 2014

What was that line from Altered beast again?

Oh yes. RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE.

Super_Danganronpa_2_Cover_Art

Now anyone who’s played the first game or watched the anime of that game will know what to expect as once again a bunch of high schoolers are in an enclosed environment and being forced to murder each other for the promise of freedom, William Wallace would be proud.

Last time there was a student with an unknown talent in the cast but this time you play said student rather than the ‘lucky’ student who got into the school via a lottery. Just to clarify he has lost his memories of what his skill is. Well I may as well point this out as it’s said right at the beginning, but according to the mysterious and homicidal Monokuma, everyone has lost their memories of the time spent at the prestigious hopes peak academy.

monobear

He’s watching, always watching. At least he has eyes.

What happened to their memories? Will they ever get them back? Why are they on an island? What is with the two talking stuffed toys? Why is the sky blue? What is the flight speed velocity of an unlaiden swallow? Why am I asking so many pointless questions? Well it is a mystery game; expect to ask yourself a lot of questions while you try to work out the bizarre happenings of the enigmatic Jabberwock Island.

Now as for the gameplay, I would say they mysteries are a bit harder than the previous game, but hardly mind numbingly difficult. As for the new features, such as the directly debating with people and finding their arguments flaws, made the game feel a bit fresher for those of us who have played the original without feeling like they nailed needless features on as happens so often with sequels. Outside of the trials where you try to pick holes in arguments to create an image of events and figure out ‘whodunit’ the game also includes an action mini-game where you play as one of the soft toys fighting and vanquishing the giant robots guarding the various islands. These are unlocked after every trial and supposedly reflect the off screen events leading to the new islands to explore after every trial. There is also a tamigotchi like feature where to raise a digital pet that grows based on the number of steps you take.

Now finally, the characters, I’ll keep data limited as to avoid spoilers as I did with the prior game and its anime.

Firstly Hajime Hinata, basically the player, lacks much personalisation other than his devout admiration of Hopes peak academy and generally comes off as a friendly and hopeful person.

Next up is Nagato komaeda, this incarnation’s lucky student. Pessimistic and seems to have an inferiority complex as well as harbouring a dark side. He also goes totally fan-boy over anything remotely relating to hope.

Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu is a weird one however, he is the ultimate Yakuza. Yes apparently hopes peak academy, the school for elite students considers being the heir to an organised crime syndicate a legitimate skill. This makes even less sense than last games biker gang leader. He is as offensive as you’d expect and within no time at all, is on almost everyone’s bad side.

Next up is Teruteru Hanmura the ultimate cook, although he prefers to be called a Chef instead. Openly perverted to the extent that it went beyond the presumed comedy and I actually found almost every one of his lines annoying before long as almost everything he says seems to carry subtext, sometimes even when he’s talking about food which makes up almost all of the rest of his dialogue.

Peko Pekoyama is the ultimate Swordswoman with an equally odd name and as you have most likely already guessed from that, is stoic and serious. She carries her wooden sword everywhere she goes.

An odd seeming one for a talent a school would want is Chiaki Nanami, the Ultimate gamer. Quiet and makes frequent references to games. She is also borderline narcoleptic, falling asleep at the drop of a hat even when standing up.

Next up is the Ultimate Lolita or Traditional dancer officially, Hiyoko Saionji. Now anyone familiar with the expression used will realise she looks and acts like a pre-teen from her oft’ childish demeanour and love of candy, however she is also brutally rude and obnoxious with a tendency to give people verbal lashing over the littlest thing. She is also quick too tears if things go against her.

As a player of the original game Ibuki Mioda the ultimate Musician was an interesting one in a sense. She part of the same band that Saiyaka Maizono from the original game was part of before they broke up due to creative differences. As she is into death metal and wants to perform that I’m guessing that is why or at least part of why. As for the character herself, she says peculiar things constantly adding little to most conversations, comes off as a completely clueless and somewhat of a ‘space cadet’. I’m not sure how much of the nonsense are her performers ‘persona’ and how much are actually her own personality

Byakuya Togami the ultimate affluent prodigy is heir to the Togami family and unlike the last game he is incredibly rotund to put it politely. The how’s and whys of him being in both games are a big spoiler and he is a fairly secretive person so I will leave it at this.

Mahiru Koizumi, the ultimate paparazzi Photographer is very stern with the men on how they ‘should act’ and immediately jumps on behaviour such as cowardice or poor manners with a stern lecture, other than that she has a kindness under that tough exterior, she also seems to have something against ‘hollow’ compliments such as saying her photos are ‘amazing’ without giving more concrete views.

Up next is Mikan Tsumiki the ultimate Nurse. Timid and clumsy to a fault and is as a result of this frequently victimised by Hyoko’s verbal lashings. She is also inexplicably able to trip over just about anything and get into compromising positions. Personally I found she got annoying quickly but I’m just not fond of the ditzy type myself.

I can’t say I was fond of the next character in my list. Nekomaru Nidai the ultimate Coach. Obnoxiously loud and seriously needs a volume control installing for one as he seems to lack an indoor voice half the time, not a character type I’m fond of generally. And secondly the fact he regularly talks about bowel movements. Yes that’s right; the burly hard-ass coach is the toilet humour guy. Lovely eh?

I found making an opinion on Akane Owari, the ultimate Gymnast tricky because her personality traits are a bit all over the place sometimes. She is gluttonous yet athletic, stupid yet insightful, violent yet kind. To clarify, she is always stuffing her face at any given opportunity and loves a good brawl, which Nekomaru is her preferred target due to his obscene strength, although even by the first trial after a murder she still hasn’t grasped the ‘punishment’ for failing to catch the culprit, which is execution, in case you don’t know yet.

A curious if slightly annoying character is Gundham Tanaka the ultimate breeder. As in animal husbandry in case it wasn’t obvious. Annoying because he is the classic delusional ‘8th grade syndrome’ character, curious because in spite of his eccentricities he keeps you guessing somewhat because of them, If you can decipher what he is saying half the time at least. His most curious feature however is the fact he keeps his trained hamsters in his scarf. He also seems to be weak to compliments.

Now, what to say about Kazuichi Soda, the ultimate Mechanic? Other than in the main game he seems to be lacking somewhat in characterisation past the fact he is largely useless in most situations comes off as spineless and has somewhat of a fixation with Sonia Nevermind, which puts him at odds with Gundham because she is fond of his hamsters and their tricks.

Finally, Sonia Nevermind the ultimate princess is a literal bona fide princess from a small European kingdom of Novoselic. It is fictitious as you’d, for those like me who are not great at geography (I did check). She behaves regally as you’d expect, is well-spoken and gives of the noble air without coming across as haughty or elitist unlike many nobles in fiction.

I mentioned some of these characters are annoying, yes and by themselves they could well be unbearable (like my jokes) but half of the fun with the characters is all of these extreme personalities clashing in interesting ways. That and as ‘geniuses’ at their subject you’d expect at least some of them to be a little peculiar would you not?

So to summarise, the added features were nice but plot and character wise I do not feel like it stood up to the original really. But as its own game it gave enough data on the background and references to the prior game were not so ham handed that you don’t know what’s going off without having played it. So it does stand up on its own merits unlike some sequels I’ve played. A bit off topic but to clarify my point, I’ll use Ar Tonilico Qoga (no.3) for the example, it throws the games own lingo at you from the word go as if it expects you to know what it’s talking about. Its predecessors were on a different generation of console to make it worse. So taking it on its own merits as I thankfully can I’m inclined to give it a  7/10 solid gameplay and interesting enough to keep you playing if you like mystery type games.

It never did explain why the blood is pink though. That still confuses me.

Val

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