PS Vita Review: Danganronpa Another Episode Ultra Despair Girls

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls takes place in-between one and two. Towa City, an island unaffected by the tragedy, soon finds itself under attack by a malicious set of five children aiming to kill adults and spread despair. The first game’s protagonist’s sister, Komaru Naegi, and the twisted Toko Fukawa, must work together in order to stop them, rescue Toko’s master, and escape. DAE shines thanks to the punchy dialogue, which is supported by quirky characters and an excellent voice cast. It’s funny, disturbing, and will keep players hooked until the very.

 

Unlike the previous entries, DAE is an action game. Komaru uses a gun with special bullets that can aide in battle, or puzzles. Toko electrifies herself, into Genocide Jack, and attacks enemies with an endless supply of scissors. Komaru can level up, increasing her limit on how many skills she can equip, of which are found in the environment. Enemies drop items that replenish health and ammo as well as coins. Those can be used to upgrade Toko, or to purchase voice enhancers for Komaru’s gun.

 

Komaru is a sluggish character compared to Toko. She cannot dodge, which results in quick deaths as aiming obscures the surrounding. The game suggests switching to Toko before getting hit, or when low on health. Toko is fast, fluid, and more enjoyable to play, but punishes players for doing so. Relying on her too often reduces the end of chapter score and experience isn’t gained. The core issue here is balance. The game’s pacing is all over the place. It starts out extremely slow, rivaling the beginnings of Persona 4 and Twilight Princess. Even when the game’s action begins, a constant barrage of narrative bits and tutorials weigh it down.

 

While it may be an odd choice, the game presents four different types of narrative styles. Anime, comic, and 3D cutscenes accompany standard dialogue boxes. It may not be the prettiest PS Vita game graphically, but it’s at least dripping with wild originality and bright colors next to dreary environments. Disappointedly, the music is mostly recues aside rom a few new tracks. Finishing Danganronpa results in a plethora of extras, including a New Game+ mode, that extend the life of this fairly short title.

 

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls suffers in that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. The plot and design rivals that of the previous two entries, but the action is clunky and virtually kept in the dark for about half the game. Even with all these complaints, it’s hard not to recommend for the story alone. It’s flawed, but damn is this world addictive. Next Danganronpa please!

 

Score: 4/5 Stars

 

Special Notes: The publisher provided a review copy. This article was originally published on August 27, 2015 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.

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