Briefiew – Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls

I swear I try to keep the reviews brief but with games having names this long, this is starting with a big handicap already.
The first danganronpa game was one of the reasons why I got a playstation vita. The concept of the game sounded way cool to miss and the game visually seemed so bizarre and unique that I just knew I had to play it.
I enjoyed that first game a lot and the second as well but when this game was announced, it appeared like some sort of third person shooter spin-off and I wasn’t completely sold on that idea. In any case, I’m too invested on the Danganronpa lore to not give this game a try, and so I did.

DAE2

Danganronpa Another Episode is an action adventure title / third person shooter / survival horror game that, like in previous titles, puts a huge enphasis on its story.

Since the game’s story is so important for the game, I’ll try to give away as little as I can regarding that story and I’ll just explain the basic premise.
The warriors of hope, a group of elementary-school children, seek to create an utopia for other children by killing all adults with robots. They kidnapp Komaru and then force her to play in their sadistic hunt. Dropping her into the city where she’ll have to defend herself from those murderous robots.
I’m sure it sounds bizarre and nonsensical and, while it is indeed quite a strange tale, the game does provide the needed “sense” as you keep unveiling its story.

DAE3

The game plays mostly as a third-person over-the-shoulder shooter in the style of the Resident Evil games since RE4 (laser aiming included). Instead of regular guns though you’ll be equiped with a megaphone-shaped weapon that will be equiped with different types of ammunition and each one will have a different effect on the enemies which plays a very important role for the puzzle-like gameplay at some parts in the game.
During most of the game you won’t be alone. A girl named Toko will accompany you and can be controlled with the press of the triangle button. When you’re using her, the game turns into some sort of hack n’ slash as she decimates the enemies with her own scissors. Killing the enemies that way is much easier so her usage is restricted by a depleting meter.

The game’s visuals really stand out. Not from a technical standpoint, the game looks good for a vita title but it isn’t mindblowing either. The style however is quite unique. Just like the game’s plot, the visual style is as colorful yet bizarre and also quite morbid.
On the sound department, fans of the older danganronpa titles will be pleased since the game’s scores will remind you often of the songs in those games. It should also be noted that Ultra Despair Girls features a great deal of voiceovers, much more than in previous titles. And, adding to that, the game also has many more CG and fully animated cutscenes which gives the game a higher production feel than in Danganronpa 1 and 2.

DAE4

Things I liked

  • Story: The game might not revolve around solving murders but Ultra Despair Girls still is as story heavy as the previous titles. The game follows the same lore and makes a ton of connections and references to those games so the fans can’t miss out.
  • Stylish: The game has an unique look. It’s colorful and cartoony and yet gory and even depressing and I love it just like that. You can watch any random screenshot from this game and you’ll immediately recognise it because of that style.
  • Fleshed-out: There are quite a few mechanics in the game and they’re all well thought out and implemented making the long campaign feel varied throughout. There’s levels to gain, skills to learn, habilities to improve, puzzles to solve, collectibles to find…

 

Things I didn’t

  • Clunky: I mentioned how the basic shooting felt very similar to the shooting in Resident Evil games of today and just like in those games, your character doesn’t feel very agile at all. It may be intended to make the fights feel more intimidating but it should be noted nonetheless.

 

Who’d like this?

If you want to play a third person action game on the vita, this is the game to get. It’s long, it has an identity and a great story. Overall it’s a great game.
However, I can’t recommend it to everyone. For Instance, the game will better enjoyed if you’ve previously played the previous games and know the series lore. I’d recommend playing the first two Danganronpa games before tackling this one.

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