Also available on PlayStation Vita and Windows
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is a spin-off to the Danganronpa series that takes place in the same timeline as the first two games but adopts a totally different genre. Whereas Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair were mostly visual novels (albeit with some adventure and exploration involved), Ultra Despair Girls is a third person shooter. While the storytelling and overall tone of despair isn't quite as well done here as in the first two games, it's still a great game for fans of the Danganronpa series.
The game takes place shortly after the events of Danganronpa 2 and stars Komaru Naegi, little sister of the first game's protagonist, Makoto Naegi, and Toko Fukawa, one of the other characters from the first game. When a Future Foundation mission to rescue a "Captive" goes awry, the clueless and mostly helpless Komaru, recently rescued from an 18 month kidnapping and confinement, finds herself on a hostile island filled with homicidal Monokumas with only this bizarre and rather distasteful girl, Toko, to help her survive. Thus begins her mission to escape the Towa City and find out what the hell has been going on in the world since her imprisonment began.
The game is broken into five chapters, each one filled with a variety of (admittedly simple) puzzles and a boss fight. The game starts out extremely interesting as it gives a bit more backstory to what the survivors of the Killing School Life had been up to since their escape from Hope's Peak Academy. Unfortunately the plot goes from interesting to okay around the end of chapter 2. It's not that the writing suddenly tanks or anything. Rather it just feels like it plateaus a bit whereas the first two games kept taking the drama to new heights with each chapter. I do try to give credit where credit is due, however, and the writers did do an excellent job with Toko's character development. I felt that she was a fairly static character, all things considered, in the first game, and they really delved into her personality and flaws in this game, giving her character a depth that she never quite achieved in the first game.
Visually the game looks pretty much like you'd expect from Danganronpa with only fairly minor enhancements over the first two games. The sound, unfortunately, doesn't quite live up to the first game's masterpiece soundtrack. It's not bad, per se, but it's just pretty average all around. The enemy character designs are quite well done, though, even if the soundtrack doesn't stand out. Over the course of the game, you fight close a dozen different kinds of Monokumas, and different Monokumas require different strategies and different ammunition types. Each type of Monokuma is well designed and much more than just a pallet swap, something that a lot of games tend to fall victim to.
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls doesn't really stand out as being particularly impressive, especially for those who aren't fans of the Danganronpa series, but it's a very competent even if average game. Those just looking for a good shooter may not find what they want here, but even if it ranks third out of three in this department, the story is worth playing through. It doesn't quite live up to the high standards set by Trigger Happy Havoc, but it's a good game in its own right. Just don't expect Game of the Year material.
My Rating - 3 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.