–A story that fits the franchise perfectly and leads to amazing character development
–The new adventuring in third person as a shooter is a blast
–The soundtrack is amazing well done and fits the franchise beyond perfectly
–The game brings a new and striking visual setup for the franchise
–Some mechanics in the gameplay can make the game feel clunky at random intervals
–Visual appeal can be lost at times, which causes a loss of player immersion
–Minor bugs such as sound hiccups and enemies detecting you when their back is turned
You’d probably not be surprised when I say that I actually love this franchise, but when it comes to having an enemy I absolutely abhor? This franchise made this happen, but in an absolutely perfected way. Oddly? It’s not that awesomely disturbing character we’ve come to know as Monokuma; the villain of this games franchise as well as the most homicidal mechanical bear I’ve ever seen in my life. Instead this game features a set of villains that will make you want to rip your hair out if you ever run into a kid like these. In this title we get to see a set of kids that aren’t just crazy, they are self-absorbed, homicidal, and even just shy of being absolutely freaking crazy enough to send chills down your spine. This is something that will be a consistent theme within Ultra Despair Girls.
The game starts off by introducing us to our everyday high school girl who doesn’t seem to have much going for her, except for the fact she is completely normal, and has nothing special about her. In truth, Komaru Naegi is your average girl who likes to chill-out in her Towa City apartment. However, things go nuts when her life gets turned upside down on its head and thrown into a life gone nuts as she is taken captive by an unseen force that eventually dumps her out in Towa City once more, but it is not what she knew. Towa City has been taken over by a massive army of Monokuma’s and a group of children who become known as the Warriors of Hope who are controlling them. Their revolution has incited children to murder adults and cause the house to become a children’s paradise where adults are not present, but instead very dead.
If you aren’t a stranger to Danganronpa, there is one theme you may keep rather familiar with, one of them being the fact that the franchise is beyond well known for its unspeakably difficult and cruel motives that every character seems to have somewhere down the road. This can include small things such as saving people or simply choosing routes that may yield painful plights for entire groups of people. For those who are unfamiliar with the titles, Danganronpa games are an emotional rollercoaster, one where players will find moments that the game will come close to their heart and other moments where the game shows a very harsh as well as cruel reality where players will find themselves going outside of their known comfort zones. This is all charged by the game using a very dystopian feel where all hope will truly be lost in the long run.
The games story isn’t just driven by the dialogue, which is shown off in a graphic novel approach that is uncommon for games such as these. In the game where dialogue isn’t being represented, players will find themselves overcoming exploration as well as puzzles using the hacking gun, which is Komaru’s only tool for survival outside of her wits and cunning. The hacking gun features several unique features such as Blast, which kills Monokuma’s; Dance, which literally makes them dance like a bunch of weirdo’s; Knockback, which does just as it sounds like; Move, which makes things move, and even Reveal that uncovers secret locations as well as hidden messages. This is where the gun is one of the most important tools in the game as players spend time going through leveling, upgrading it, and even making it one of the most versatile utility in the game. With it players will explore puzzles that would otherwise be difficult and purely annoying due to levels of frustration.
Between these rather carefully crafted puzzles that get more difficulty with time, there is an underlying issue that will leave many players wanting to slam their Vitas down in pure frustration such as the Monokuma’s in each puzzle that can easily catch our overly feeble Komaru who seemed to die rather easily if caught. The downside to this portion is the simple fact that Komaru doesn’t even attempt to use her hack gun to survive, but instead merely dies once one comes near her. This shows her lack of mobility, which in the long run is hard to cope with as the maps are huge, boss sequences can take a while, and even difficult when Komaru is taking off larger enemies that will swarm her. This is where her friend Toko seems like she would be rather helpful when she goes into her killer mode known as “Genocide Jack” who seems to suffer a bad case of Multiple Personality Disorder. Though there is something that is more painful than the mechanical flaws such as the timer on Genocide Jack, bullets for the Hacking Gun, and even Monokuma Balls that will chase you down during your game. This is the game deciding to crash during some of the most taxing fights, and even requiring me to reset my entire Vita before returning to the game. Some of these included my Vita going sluggishly slow, which has surprisingly not been seen as of late, but it does happen on a rare basis. Just keep in mind that when this happens, you’ll notice it, and it will become infuriating.
Unlike previous titles, Ultra Despair Girls is not something that will keep you intrigued to play when it comes to this title, but instead it is the story that is very carefully written and even crafted so that fans will remain as engaging as this one. Instead it’s the very text heavy story that will keep fans indulged thanks to how well written and engaging it is. This includes the fact that both Komaru and Toko aka Genocide Jack both seem to pull off quite a bit with their scripted chemistry that allows for a rather amusing time and well crafted senselessness that is a comical relief. Unlike its previous titles, however, the visuals and even the music both add to the experience thanks to how well coordinated they are together in existence. This follows through quite well with the games use of scenery, 3D models, and even the use of of some 2D novel like moments.
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls – Vita [Reviewed]
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Publisher: NIS America
Price: 39.99 USD
Released: Available Now
Much like the previous titles, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair girls has several things that follow it through and allow it to be a unique twist to the franchise. Such a unique one that the game could easily set the scene for future titles that want to follow suit as a mediocre survival-horror-shooter title that keeps itself unique with the setting, the story, and even the conversations that take place, but to those who liked the interactive novel approach? It seems that this game will be the one that ends this for the series and that is something nice to see as long as the variations keep true to what the franchise is about. Much like the franchise we’ve come to love, Ultra Despair girls is a game that sticks true to its roots thanks to visual dialogue through conversations, insanity, and overall well coordinated character development. This is a psychotic story and adventure that should be enjoyed by all whom own the Vita and love these kinds of games.
Our review is based upon a pre-release of the final version that was given to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 6 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over onTwitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.