Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is a game that really puts me on edge. Not only is it engaging and enjoyable, but it is tense and scary at times which keeps you wanting more. With a crazy world and an even more crazy story, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls once again shows just how much fun you can have on a PlayStation Vita.
This time around however Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls takes the gameplay into a third person pertspective over the standard visual novel experience, playing more as a shooter than anything else. With a horror feel going on and a lot of twists and insane moments, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls lives up to the series once again on PlayStation Vita.
The plot of Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is set about half a year after the first Danganronpa girl and puts players in control of Komaru Kaegi, the sister of the main character from the first Danganronpa game. She has been locked in a room for the last year and therefore is unaware of the events unfolding outside of her room. That is until she is forced into the chaos around her when a number of Monokuma robots (white and black bears) try to kill her.
From here she is met by a number of returning characters as she teams up with Toko Fukawa to take down a group by the name of the Warriors of Hope, who are causing a great deal of chaos and killing all the adults in the city. Did I also mention that all of the members of the Warriors of Hope are kids? The main villain in Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is a group of kids trying to kill all of the adults and it is awesome in an insane way.
The main weapon that players will use is a gun developed by a group by the name of Future Foundation that is given to Komaru Kaegi by Byakuya Togami, a returning character from the first game.
The gun allows Kaegi to battle though the now ruined city, but this isn’t done so without a few challenges. The most notable of these being the camera controls on the PlayStation Vita. The camera is in a way locked to the position behind the character. Moving the left stick to move moves the camera as well but when turning the camera sometimes doesn’t follow. The right stick helps ease this issue but not as you would expect. The camera movement isn’t unbearable but it does sometimes cause a small headache as you’re outnumbered and unable to see around you. Thankfully though when aiming with the gun, the camera behaves just as it should.
Even though the game is mainly a third person shooter, of sorts, it doesn’t lose the charm and uniqueness of the the Danganronpa series. There are still a good number of puzzles and challenges along with lots of hidden extras that also help to flesh out the world a little more, while at the same time as being perfectly paced. Gameplay might feel slow in Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls but that is because running and gunning is not an option. Taking the time to think about encounters can help you find creative ways to deal with a group of enemies and the game encourages you to try and find new methods.
Additionally by shooting a Monokuma enemy in their red eye you deal extra damage meaning a steady aim is kill. A personal favorite of mine is to use a ‘Dance’ bullet to make enemies dance before landing a hit in the eye to deal massive damage.
An extra to the gameplay is the option to switch to Toko Fukawa who, by use of a stun gun of all ideas, can turn into her split personality Genocide Jill who, for those that don’t know, is a serial killer. Though only temporary, when using Toko players attack with her razor sharp scissors and fill a ‘Scissor Fever’ gauge to perform an instant-death special attack. The benefit to using Toko as well, is that she doesn’t have a health bar but simply needs to cool down, as it were, before using her again. This means in times when you’re overrun and the game’s camera gives you a headache, you can unleash hell with the press of a button. How scissors cut through metal bears I will never understand, but for now I’m not going to question it.
The last note on gameplay is the use of skill points that, as you progress through to the game, allows you to use unlocked skills for both characters just as you would hope. From extra damage to having auto lock, give you a fighting edge in the game which you will truly need if you are going to survive. Throughout all of this, other then the camera, the controls on the PlayStation Vita hold up surprisingly well. As I said it can feel like a slow game at times but it works and feels right at home with the other Danganronpa games.
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls also offers some seriously good visuals on the PlayStation Vita. Gameplay sections are detailed enough to give you a sense of grounding and believability at the same time as being styled in a way to fit with the rest of the series and game. The use of solid colour silhouette’s to represent dead bodies and pink for the blood just adds a really nice final touch to it all. The visual novel sections that take place in the gameplay sections also look great and give you some time to get deeper into the story of Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls.
Cutscenes come in two flavours with the first being similar to the gameplay using 3D modes and the second being move hand drawn which is seen a lot in the other games. All of these look beautiful and on the PlayStation Vita feel right at home. Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is a really good looking game and that is a simple fact.
I should also mention that the ‘Toko’s Fantasy’ scenes are rather awkward if somewhat funny due to their reason for being present. These hand drawn cutscenes are made up sections that give us a better look at the relationship between Toko Fukawa and Byakuya Togami. Honestly though most of these are just straight up awkward but they sometimes appear at the end of chapters where, after getting graded on your performance, these fantasy might give you a bonus. This alone show you just how insane Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls can really be but at the same time, I love it.
One thing to note about Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls that was a down point was a lack of a Japanese voice over option. As solid and strong as the English voice acting is it just would’ve been nice to have the original Japanese casting to keep with the series. There is also a lack of subtitles during a number of the game’s cutscenes which would have also been nice.
Also though the game runs and performs beautifully on the PlayStation Vita you should note that when playing no other applications can be used. By this I mean applications such as the Trophies or even the Web Browser. With other games you could, but not when playing Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls. This isn’t an issue at all it is just worth noting in case you wanted to look up walkthroughs or anything as you play.
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls has a charm about it that makes the game somewhat hard to put down. Though it is an insane charm of sorts it is a great charm none the less. From the moment to moment gameplay that lets you explore, battle and uncover the story around you to the brilliant written and insane characters.
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls just does so much right on such a small device and even has me more engaged than some of the bigger games out at the moment. Though with its few faults and requiring a basic understanding of the first game, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is great. Besides, it proves just once again that children can be a great tool for horror games and that playing as a serial killer never gets old. If you want a game that will keep pulling you back in for more be with the story, characters or just the gameplay. Look no further than Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls.
This review is based on a review copy of Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls provided to us by NIS America.