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Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Review

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WHO was the killer? HOW did they do it? WHERE did they hide the evidence? And just WHAT does Avril Lavigne have to do with any of this?

If you need to know the answers to these questions, or if you think playing a hyper-stylized, dynamically cast, and terrifically written mystery game sounds like a good time then Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is the game for you. Returned for a sequel in all its courtroom-ing, minigaming, suspenseful glory, Danganronpa 2 stands tall as the mystery game of the year at the very least.


Meet the new victi-err, classmates!

Meet the new victi-err, classmates!

Danganronpa 2 follows hot on the heels of its predecessor, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. Released in Japan back in July 2012 for the PSP, the English localization of the Vita port is only now seeing the Western light of day – and it was worth the wait.

As a murder mystery game, Danganronpa 2 gives players control over protagonist Hajime Hinata as he begins his journey through Hope’s Peak Academy High School as an Ultimate student along with 15 others, each with a unique talent. However, their teacher immediately upsets this expectation by forcing them to a deserted island where they are told to have fun and build interpersonal relationships…with…each…other….

Just innocent, platonic bonding to see here.

Just innocent, platonic bonding to see here.

Danganronpa 2 spares no time in separating itself as a sequel. Effectively banishing from the player’s mind any parallels with the previous game, Danganronpa 2 toys with the player as an element of the game so much that the breaking of the 4th wall isn’t even worth noting after it happens a dozen or so times. And when shit hits the fan and the peaceful island getaway is naturally disrupted, the player will be torn between a sense of satisfaction and a feeling of dread from the shattered hopeful outlook.

This is ultimately a murder mystery game, and what murder can take place without criminals and suspects? Danganronpa 2 features an almost entirely brand new cast of characters with a couple of returning stars, and they carry the day. Creatively designed and colorfully written, each ‘Ultimate Student’ brings a huge amount of life to the game’s dialogue and events. It’s almost a shame they’re so well written, knowing that at least some of them are fated to die.

The babbling, low-self-esteem type...for now.

The babbling, low-self-esteem type…for now.

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