A school trip on a tropical island takes a turn for the worst when students start killing each other, and what’s worse is that no one remembers who they are. It’s Danganronpa 2!
Danganronpa 2 is the direct sequel to the visual novel of a similar name “Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc”, and therefore it’s highly advised (possibly mandatory) that you experience the whacky events of the first game to really appreciate the sequel and its nuances.
Danganronpa 2 follows a new cast of Hopes Peak Academy students as they wake up on a deserted island with no memories of how they got there or their past year at the school. The group are informed by the new character Monomi that in order to leave the island they need to befriend each other, and doing so will reward them with star parts and finally their freedom.
Everything seems easy going until the infamous Monokuma shows up to inform the students that the terms of escape have been altered. Now the students must kill each other and stand trial in court in order to earn their freedom, and what seemed like paradise quickly turns into hell on earth.
Danganronpa 2 starts off as a carbon copy of the first, even having Monokuma’s introduction be identical to the original games. This of course all turns out to be the games intention as Monokuma begins to break the forth wall to say things like “Geez this all seems really familiar huh?” and “I feel like we’ve done this before.”
It’s not long before the game decides to distance itself from the first. Within the first chapter alone things already start to get weird, plot twists are hurled at the player in quick succession and things considered the norm by veteran players are brought into question.
D2 is a typical visual novel with a few interactive elements thrown in to make it feel more like a game. This means the game has an agenda, and it’s by no way going to stray from it. Battling it out in the courtroom is made to look like a fight for survival, even giving the player a health bar, but in reality it’s an quiz to make sure players have been paying attention. Losing all your health simply involves the player saying “I’d like to try again” before being put back into the same mini game with no negative repercussions.
Not having anything to lose makes the game less about survival and more about the ever growing mysteries surrounding the group. This may be good for story fenatics looking to get their mystery kicks, but those looking for something more meaty in the gameplay department will feel left out.
The game also allows the player to befriend characters in their spare time, forging friendships with classmates and earning new abilities when it comes to court. The friendship system seems cool at first, but feels incredibly restrictive when you realize you can’t have romantic relations with anyone.
It would have been more dramatic and tension building if you were allowed to make a romantic connection with someone, giving a driving force to get revenge if they were killed, or even be a cause to protect them if they were the murderer. Sadly the actual interaction with other characters is at a minimum, and because of this it feels too much like you’re looking into this world with no ability to alter it.
Dangaonronpa 2 is an enjoyable sequel that expands on the premise of the first game by being bigger and better in every way. While some of its flaws may be more obvious that in the previous installment, the improved writing and story progression easily makes up for it. If you’re a fan of either visual novels or gore filled anime/manga, Danganronpa 2 will satisfy you to no end.
Should you play Danganronpa 2?
Thanks to NIS for supplying a review code