Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls Review
Danganronpa is back with another title and another story. Originally released for the PlayStation Vita, Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls has made its way to the PlayStation 4 and comes with some nicely upgraded graphics and details. When adults are turned against by a revolution led by The Warriors of Hope, can you escape the city and maybe even solve the mystery?
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, developed by Spike Chunsoft and published by NIS America, is an action adventure game mixed with some shooting gameplay mechanics. It's a different style than the Danganronpa visual novels, but one that stays true to the overall plot tones and is a worthy attempt to mix the storytelling up via more gameplay. This title is more of a side story than it is a form of sequel/prequel, and takes place inbetween the first two. One could survive skipping over it, but if you have played the past titles, then there's certainly a lot that you can take away from the game and its connections.
The story follows Makoto Naegi's little sister, Komaru Naegi, who has spent the last year of her life as a prisoner inside of an apartment located in Towa City. When fate starts to look up for her as Byakuya Togami of Future Foundation comes to her rescue, reality of the city's horrible situation soon follows. A group known as the Warriors of Hope are leading a revolution against the adults, and are structured with children who follow intently.
The game plays out in third-person shooter fashion, a total change up from the visual novels many might already be used to. I'll start off by saying though, the game is still cenoesnt always cooperate with you, the shooting tered around a story rather than a gameplay mechanics.
What's tricky to pinpoint is if thats because the story is still dark yet entertaining, or the gameplay is just underperforming. You are given a couple different types of bullets that, when shot at enemies, will make them react in a number of ways. Your weapon will be a hacked megaphone, but the ammo ranges from truth bullets that will make enemies dance, paralyze, burn, knockback, and more. It's definitely strange at first but after you use them, it kinda just naturally flows into the art of the world. You'll navigate through narrow hallways and confined spaces, but occasionally the room your in will be big enough that you see all the enemies immediately.
As you make your way through the game you'll find that the shooting genre just wasn't what the development team specialized in. It struggles to avoid feeling like you're simply clearing rooms, and matched with the camera that doesn't always cooperate with you with reactions you'd hope for, the gameplay falls short of the decent expectations. It's not game-breaking as you'll still be able to easily get through it in chase of the story, but low expectations would get you further prior to purchasing and loading it up.
Sound and Graphics
How can you not like the art behind these titles? Danganronpa always has such a fun, relaxed, dark, yet surprisingly immersive anime style that is always pleasant to look at. Full of variety regarding colors and nice contrasts, everything from the cutscenes to actual gameplay look great. The animations that happen when you fire your weapon are a little corny but that's part of the charm. At times I found myself wishing the game took itself just a bit more serious though as I rarely felt like I had the odds of survival against me, and it was due to just how cartoonish the world is.
Seeing an enemy turn to face me and begin running should cause some panic, but I mostly saw it as lighthearted and comical moments. That's not to say there are moments of genuine anxiety but part of me wanted those moments to be more frequent. The voice acting is great simply because it's there and has found an english dub. To better critique it though, it actually sounds pretty good. It wasn't often that I what someone said was a bit cheesy or even cringe worthy.
The game is definitely suited more for fans of the Danganronpa universe, and would make for a bit of a difficult entry point for newcomers. Luckily, not too long ago, NIS America brought the first two Danganronpa titles (Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2 : Goodbye Despair) to PlayStation 4, so there's never been a better time to dive head first into the series. The combat is not the best, and lacks any true difficulty, but it changes the gameplay up (for better or worse). I would have liked to see better enemy intelligence, or even just to have a bigger fear of them getting close. While the characters and dialogue served their purpose with only a few weird moments the story is the selling point of the title and one worth a play through sooner or later if you like the art and universe.