Operation Backlog Completion 2024
May 032023
 

Back in 2020, I played Danganronpa and said I was looking forward to starting the sequel… although it took me over 2 years to get there.

One of the winners of this year’s Celebrating All Things Romantic contest back in February tasked me with playing Danganronpa 2, and I finished it with perfect timing to make it the first mystery game we discuss of this month’s celebration.

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has a similar premise to its predecessor – a group of high school students are trapped and forced to playing a killing game in which anyone who murders a classmate and gets away with it will be allowed to leave. The setting is an island, this time, instead of a school, and certain aspects of its presentation are a bit more grandiose, but the general principles remain the same.

Gameplay essentially has three phases. In free time, you’ll have a limited number of time slots with which to hang out with other characters, until someone is murdered. Then you’ll be in the investigation stage, where you gather evidence in a point-and-click format (albeit with the ability to move in a 3D space in some areas). Finally, you’ll advance to the trial, where you’ll use that evidence to uncover the killer by discovering contradictions… and playing a lot of mini-games.

I’ve realized I kind of hate Danganronpa’s mini-games.

These are murder mysteries. The challenge should be based on logic, on looking at the clues and seeing what truth they lead toward. I should not get stuck in a murder mystery because I knew the correct answer but couldn’t aim it at the contradiction fast enough, or skateboard past obstacles to reach the right answer, or any of the other annoying mini-games Danganronpa 2 makes you do even when you know what the answer is.

(To its credit, there are separate difficulty settings for the action and logic aspects of the case, so you can make the action part easier without reducing the complexity of the mystery-solving aspect.)

Anyway, I don’t know if Danganronpa 2’s mini-games are worse than the first game’s or if I just didn’t mind them as much back then, but every mini-game made me seethe over how much I prefer Ace Attorney’s style of just letting me present the contradictory evidence. One exception is the Closing Argument, where you lay out exactly how the murder occurred. I like that one.

Like with its predecessor, one of Danganronpa 2’s greatest strengths is that giving you a core cast of characters from which all the murderers and victims will come raises the tension dramatically. It wasn’t long before I was looking at the shrinking cast of characters wondering if any of my favorites would make it out alive.

The characters felt a bit one-note to me (with a couple notable exceptions), and Monokuma managed to be even more annoying due to the addition of Monomi, another squeaky-voiced mascot character. On the other hand, Monomi has the catchiest song in the game, so I have to appreciate her for that.

I spent a good portion of Danganronpa 2 feeling that I liked the first game much better, but by the time I finished, I was less sure. I prefer the first game’s atmosphere and overarching mystery, but the final stretch of Danganronpa 2 was so exciting that it made me reconsider. Despite a couple parts requiring dubious leaps of logic, the cases are pretty solid, as well. And while I have some quibbles with the ending, it also resolved some issues I had with earlier parts of the game.

Danganronpa 2 might have annoyed me at times, but it left me wanting to play more from the series. It’s readily available alongside the others nowadays, with its most recent re-release being the Danganronpa Decadence collection on Switch.

Despite that, it’s not as simple as just picking up the next game. Danganronpa 3 the anime is the actual continuation of the storyline and is not the same thing as the third game, Danganronpa V3. There’s also a spin-off game called Ultra Despair Girls that seems rather divisive. But one way or another, I’ll continue the Danganronpa series soon… hopefully not with as big a gap in between this time.

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  9 Responses to “Celebrating All Things Mysterious: Danganronpa 2 – A Return to the World of Hope and Despair”

  1. Congrats on finally finishing Danganronpa 2! My advice is to do what I did: skip Ultra Despair Girls and the anime and just go to Danganronpa V3.
    As for the mini-games… at least each game switches up what those mini-games are? Haha… ha…

    … At least I have a greater array of Danganronpa memes I can send you now!

    • Why do you recommend skipping the anime for now? It’s the story continuation, isn’t it?

      I just have my fingers crossed I’ll like V3’s mini-games better.

      • I intend to watch the anime (whenever I get around to remembering it exists, because I completely forgot before this point xD). However, I’ve heard V3 is even MORE divisive than Ultra Despair Girls?

        I dunno, Ultra Despair Girls, from what little I know, just seems fun. But I’ve not played nor seen gameplay of it, so what do I know.

        I think I prefer the first game, but I had the plot twist of the second spoiled for me fairly early on, sooo… hard to say, really?

        • Hmm, is it? I know V3 is somewhat divisive, but I don’t think I’ve seen the same level of negativity for it that I’ve seen for UDG. Then again, I’ve avoided going too deep into discussions to avoid risking spoilers.

          Oof, being spoiled early on is always rough.

  2. oh my god I need to finish the first game ASAP you have no idea how excited for the next one (well maybe you do)

  3. […] when I finished Danganronpa 2 back in May, I wasn’t sure which entry to move onto […]

  4. I’m glad we can agree that the minigames are a NUISANCE. And they really are even more of a nuisance than they were in the first Danganronpa.

    My next step after finishing 2 is to play V3.

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