Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Review
Will the Blackened finally go free?
Danganronpa 2:Goodbye Despair follows right on the tail of Trigger Happy Havoc’s release from earlier this year. A new cast of sixteen students is thrust into a game of life-and-death as they try to survive a peaceful summer vacation while they’re slowly picked off one by one. Is Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair the Ultimate summer vacation, or is it simply filled with despair?
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is a continuation of the story from this year’s Trigger Happy Havoc, although the two games can be considered standalone in most regards. Monokuma, the two-toned headmaster of Hope’s Peak Academy, makes his return as the facilitator of a deadly game. Each of the sixteen characters is handpicked from the entire nation based off of their skills, or what makes them an Ultimate. The roster is just as diverse as the first game, with characters such as the Ultimate Gamer or Ultimate Nurse. The main character is another Ultimate of his own, but with suffering a bout of amnesia, he isn’t exactly sure what his ultimate ability is.
The game opens with a summer vacation with the small class of Hope’s Peak on a deserted set of islands. With no outside contact and no way off of the island, these students resign themselves to trying to just enjoy a vacation run by their supposed homeroom teacher/magical girl bunny, Asami. It’s a peaceful vacation full of hanging out at the beach, hope, and living out peaceful lives. It isn’t long before Monokuma shows up and tries to start some trouble on this peaceful little island by dragging the class into his little killing game, much like his role in the first Danganronpa.
The class of Hope’s Peak Academy is faced with an ultimatum. They can spend their lives living peacefully on this island (despite the looming countdown in the central park with what appears to be some sort of giant bomb, slowly ticking down) or try to find their way off the island. How? By abandoning hope and giving into despair (and cold-blooded murder). The rules to Monokuma’s deadly game are just the same as the first time around. Any time a murder is committed, the class conducts a trial to decide on who the perpetrator, or ‘blackened,’ is. If the class is unable to decide on who the blackened is, they alone go free off the island and the rest of the class dies. On the other hand, if the class can deduce the killer, the killer alone suffers a cruel fate devised by Monokuma’s sadistic methods.
Investigations are still as important in Goodbye Despair as they are in the original Danganronpa. Physical clues, testimony from your classmates, even circumstantial and sometimes unrelated clues are all picked up during this investigation phase. Anything you acquire becomes a ‘truth bullet’ for use during the trial segments of the game to destroy an opponent’s argument. If you’ve played the Ace Attorney series, the investigations between the two series bear some strong similarities in that the game won’t progress until you’ve combed over every clue (some of which might not even be relevant to the case at hand).
The trial segments to Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair have been largely overhauled the second time around. The Nonstop Debate remains intact from the first title with one new addition. Instead of merely shooting Truth Bullets to destroy an opponent’s argument, now there is a mechanic to use these clues to agree or consent if someone is telling the truth in order to help improve your case and proceed the trial along. Hangman’s Gambit has been upgraded to the Improved level. The game of hangman still exists where you select letters in tandem to spell out a clue, although this time letters must be matched up together while shooting down others to prevent accidental damage. Probably the weakest of the new trial systems is the Rebuttal Showdown. Players have to cut down the opponent’s argument before brandishing a Truth Sword and cutting down their final argument. It’s similar to the Nonstop Debate only focused in a one-on-one battle with mediocre touch screen control. There are more new systems to the trials that you’ll just have to play to see for yourself.