DAN STAINES would just stay in his room and wait it out
The first Danganronpa was a weird and engrossing visual novel about fifteen gifted high-school students who’re forced to kill each other in a Battle Royale-esque “murder game” organised by a sentient animatronic bear named Monokuma. The sequel is pretty much more of the same except this time there’re sixteen students and, instead of being trapped in a school, they’re trapped on a deserted archipelago. The same rules apply, though: anyone who wants to escape the game has to kill another student and convince the others that they’re innocent. Cue bloodshed.


PUPUPU

Like the first game, gameplay in Danganronpa 2 is divided into three sections. Most of your time will be spent in Daily Life, where you’re free to wander around and get to know your fellow students. This is a bit like a dating sim sans romance. This goes on until a murder occurs, at which point you go into investigation mode, collecting clues and interviewing suspects until you develop a rough picture of the whats, wheres, and hows. Finally, you have the class trial: a Phoenix Wrightish sequence in which you and the surviving classmates debate to determine the identity of the killer.

Characterisation is again the game’s major strength, although it’s worth mentioning that the cast is not quite so relatable and well-rounded this time around. Monokuma is still creepy and charismatic, and newcomer Monomi who’s basically a pink rabbit version of Monokuma is adorable in an annoying sort of way, but everyone else feels a little flat and underdeveloped. The same is true of the narrative, which proceeds at a fairly languid pace and lacks the cohesiveness and novelty factor of its predecessor.

DANGANRONPA 2 COMMITS ALL THE MISTAKES OF THE ORIGINAL, AND IN SOME CASES AMPLIFIES THEM

Presentation-wise, Danganronpa 2 is a clear improvement on the original. The interface is stylish and vibrant in the same way that Persona 4’s interface is stylish and vibrant: lots of bright yellows and blues and pinks integrated into a cool retro aesthetic that is at once nostalgic and modern. the Persona 4’s interface is stylish and vibrant: lots of bright yellows and blues and pinks integrated into a cool retro aesthetic that is at once nostalgic and modern. The first-person bits still look a bit heinous, but it’s hard to complain when there’re so many gorgeous characters and cut-scenes to ogle.

first-person bits still look a bit heinous, but it’s hard to complain when there’re so many gorgeous characters and cut-scenes to ogle.

HANGMAN AGAIN? SERIOUSLY?

The big issue with Danganronpa 2 is that it commits all the mistakes of the original, and in some cases amplifies them. Case in point: the new and expanded mini-games during the class trial sections, which are all terrible and completely out-of-keeping with the rest of the game. However, if you can stomach these and trust me, it isn’t easy this is still a weird and worthwhile experience for fans of the genre.