Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is like a deja vu sequel to the original. Another group of teens from Hope’s Peak Academy have been whisked away to a deserted island. All’s good for the hero, Hajime Hinata, and his classmates until old Monokuma appears, declaring it’s time for the killing game once again. It may follow similar plotlines to the first, but the full mystery, as well as each murder scenario, is brilliantly written. It’s still a bit drawn out and convoluted here and there, but it’s a gripping narrative nonetheless.
The gameplay is also similar to the first with a few tweaks and additions. For starters, players now have a level that rises when forming bonds and just by walking around. Leveling up increases durability during trials as well as granting skills. Players can now explore more diverse environment along with seeking out trinkets to fill archives along with new modes unlocked from treasures and by completing the game. Now to the crux of the game: class trials. A new feature is counter arguments, which is a set of declarations from students Hinata has to cut through with Truth Swords. There is also a new deduction system called Logic Drives that acts in a similar fashion to Rez. Then there are just various changes to the already convoluted defense systems. In their need to make the game more interactive, the designers needlessly complicated what made trials fun to solve.
Visually the game is more pleasing to the eyes thanks to the new island location. It gives a better degree of variety to explore than the first. From sunny beaches to mysterious buildings, everything is much improved. The students are just as memorable as the first group, with some key standouts along with a couple rehashes from the first. The voice work has been improved as well as the soundtrack. And as far as length goes, it’s about as long as the first.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is essentially more if the same. The story is thrilling while repeating a few notes and the gameplay is just as whacky if not zanier than before. The more “gamey” new additions don’t add a lot to the experience and kind of jumble up what was pure about the first. That said it’s still an excellent visual novel that fans of the first will eat up.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: The publisher provided a review code for the game. This article was originally published on September 2, 2014 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.