Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
This article may reveal major plot points, especially considering the game had either been released recently or not in specific countries yet.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is a visual novel adventure game developed by Spike Chunsoft. It is the second game in the Danganronpa franchise, following 2010's Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. It was first released in Japan for the PlayStation Portable in July 2012, with a port released for the PlayStation Vita in Japan in October 2013, and worldwide by NIS America in September 2014. A port for personal computers was also released in April 2016, as well as a bundle containing the first Danganronpa for the PlayStation 4 in March 2017, called Danganronpa 1-2 Reload.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair takes place shortly after the events of Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls. The game is from Hajime Hinata's point of view as he starts his first year at Hope's Peak Academy. As he walks into the school building, he is overcome with fatigue; when he recovers, he finds himself in front of a door. He has a strong urge to open it, and once he does, he finds himself in a classroom full of his new classmates.
They suddenly find themselves locked in the classroom, and a pink bunny, Usami, appears before them, claiming herself to be the class' teacher. The classroom around them soon falls away to reveal a paradise-like island. Usami tells them that they are on a school trip and that they are to befriend each other to gain Hope Fragments and make their hope grow.
Just as they get used to the peaceful island life, Monokuma appears and takes control of the island, announcing that the students must participate in a life of mutual killing if they wish to escape.
Why It Rocks
- While the actual gameplay is very similar to the first game's (which isn't a bad thing at all), graphics, cutscenes, and voice clips are all arguably an improvement over the original's.
- Monokuma, the psychotic, yet hilarious mechanical bear, returns to host the Killing Game.
- The characters are all developed, complex, unique, and interesting. So much so that they could each have an entire story completely dedicated to them.
- Byakuya Togami (Ultimate Imposter), is a student without a home, relatives, gender, or even a name who could only live by assuming the guise of another person.
- Teruteru Hanamura, the Ultimate Chef, is a master of culinary arts with an equally vast passion for romance.
- Mahiru Koizumi, the Ultimate Photographer, is a strict, no-nonsense girl, particularly towards the males (but only because she wants to see them become good, hard-working people, unlike her father).
- Peko Pekoyama, the Ultimate Swordsman, is Fuyuhiko's stoic bodyguard willing to do anything to protect him.
- Ibuki Mioda, the Ultimate Musician, is an upbeat rockstar who loves to have fun and originally came from an all-girls school.
- Hiyoko Saionji, the Ultimate Traditional Dancer, is a cute but bratty bully popular for her youthful appearance.
- Mikan Tsumiki, the Ultimate Nurse, is a shy victim of bullying with a desire to have others depend on her.
- Nekomaru Nidai, the Ultimate Team Manager, is a hot-blooded and passionate student who's still incredibly caring and protective of those he takes under his wing.
- Gundham Tanaka, the Ultimate Breeder, is an anti-social man with an evil overlord persona with a strong love for animals.
- Nagito Komaeda, the Ultimate Lucky Student, is an intelligent and mysterious man who believes all of life's despair, no matter how tragic, are ultimately good things because they are just "stepping stones" to a happy, hopeful ending.
- Chiaki Nanami, the Ultimate Gamer, is a laid-back, sleepy A.I. sent to protect the students (who are actually the Remnants of Despair after their brainwashing by Junko was reverted) in the Neo World Program.
- Kazuichi Souda, the Ultimate Mechanic, is a cowardly boy with a tendency to overreact and an obsessive crush on Sonia.
- Sonia Nevermind, the Ultimate Princess, is a graceful and polite girl from the small European country of Novoselic.
- Akane Owari, the Ultimate Gymnast, is a dim-witted but friendly athlete with gluttonous tendencies.
- Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu, the Ultimate Yakuza, a wary and hot-tempered but still good-hearted student successor to the largest yakuza family in Japan.
- Hajime Hinata, the Ultimate ??? (Ultimate Hope; as Izuru) is a boy who forgot his talent, before it was revealed he never had one, leading to him becoming subject for the "Izuru Kamukura Project" prior to the events of the game due to his desperation for a talent.
- Speaking of the characters, they all manage to get you attached to them, leaving an actual impact on the player after their deaths.
- The narrative is strong enough to have the player genuinely stunned by the character revelation, and enthralled by every surprise turn taken by the story.
- The story's considered to be much better than the first game. It's much more serious and dark tale that doesn't hold back on any of the series thriller/horror aspects.
- The executions, while gruesome, are even more creative than the previous game.
- Hilarious dialogue such as:
- "Hey, bastards... If we're all done here, how 'bout you dumbasses make like a tree and fuck off?"
- "What happened during the blackout? Hmmm... Hmmmmmmm... Ah! If you cross your eyes like this, it gives you double-vision!"
- "Shitting my pants would totally shame me as a MAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!"
- "Again with the supermarket... That place is a hot spot for criminal goods."
- "Even if the turbid box does not exist... You could travel through multiple planes... Provided you use a spacious wormhole... However how frail, frail, I say! Your decayed illusion... Shall I feed you to the progeny of vile deities!?"
- Like in the previous game, the Island Mode endings often have characters coming to terms with their personal problems, especially when they weren't able to do so before they died. This includes Byakuya admitting to being the Ultimate Impostor and Peko deciding to help Fuyuhiko reach his goals as an equal, rather than a tool, and it's all extremely heartwarming.
- Akane tells Hajime he helped her to realize that people need to connect in order to have the hope that makes them human.
- Byakuya confesses that he's actually the Ultimate Imposter but Hajime says he wants to understand him better and he doesn't have to disappear.
- The Imposter thanks him for making his existence absolute.
- Chiaki says she wants to learn different things from Hajime.
- Fuyuhiko says he's not going to run from anything anymore and that he and Hajime are together.
- Gundham calls Hajime his slave/manservant/sacrifice/housekeeper/friend.
- Hiyoko tells Hajime he reminds her of her dad and that she won't cry anymore so that she can protect him and Hajime.
- Ibuki considers that Hajime may be her destined one and if that's true, she'll never have to feel despair around people.
- Kazuichi says he never thought about the future and felt excited about it before he met Hajime and that Hajime will ride in everything he makes.
- Mahiru thanks Hajime for finding her and that she likes him.
- Mikan asks Hajime to stay with her forever after he promises to marry her.
- Nagito says that Hajime taught him hope was inside from the very beginning and asks Hajime to be his friend.
- Nekomaru says that Hajime is someone he can invest all of his passion into.
- Peko thanks Hajime for being her first friend and says she'll rely on him.
- Sonia says she can't give up Hajime when she returns to her kingdom, calling him her hero, saying she believes in him and that he's more important to her than anything else.
- Teruteru says he wants Hajime to meet his mother and experience eating at the Hanamura Diner.
- Prior to her and Chiaki's execution, Monomi gives a very inspirational and touching speech; "There’s no need to be a hero. You don't have to force yourself just to make people acknowledge you. When you do that, you end up blaming yourself, blaming other people...and feeling jealous of everyone... But still...it doesn't have to be like that. Even if people don't acknowledge you, you just have to be someone that you can be proud of! Cuz...you yourself are your biggest supporter! If you can learn to love yourself... That love will continue to support you for the rest of your life."
- In several instances, line breaks were misplaced, leading to text rolling off the screen and requiring the logs to be opened to read all of the dialogue.
- The motive of Chapter Three is a disease that causes people to have altered personality traits. This could have led to a number of interesting character interactions, or creative symptoms that inflict karmic retribution to each character based on their mean-spirited or selfish qualities. But only four people catch the disease and only two people's symptoms have any hand in the story at all.
- An image or location with text written in English when you first see it might be shown in a flashback later with Japanese text instead, which can cause confusion.
- Chapter 4 has the entire theme park. It has a lot of interesting attractions and a bunch of creative locations that would have been awesome to see a murder take place in. But instead, once you go into the Monokuma Express, you're taken to the Funhouse. While the Funhouse did make for one of the most complex and tragic chapters in the series, the theme park could've achieved the same result if they expanded on it a bit more.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair debuted higher than its predecessor and received "generally favorable" reviews, selling a total of 69,000 copies during its first week on sale in Japan and was the fifth best-selling game of the week. Famitsu gave the game a score of 37/40, based on four scores of 10, 9, 9 and 9, and was voted the best game of 2012 by its readers, with an average reader rating of 9.79 out of 10.