Overall - 80%
NIS America and Spike Chunsoft's murder mystery-focused Danganronpa series is taking its robotic Monokumas into uncharted territory with Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultimate Despair Girls. Does this shooter spinoff usher a new era of hope, or will it leave you in despair?
NIS America and Spike Chunsoft’s murder mystery-focused Danganronpa series is taking its robotic Monokumas into uncharted territory with Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultimate Despair Girls. Does this shooter spinoff usher a new era of hope, or will it leave you in despair?
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultimate Despair Girls Review
Unlike the other entries in the series, Danganronpa Another Episode treads new ground with its gameplay. Class trials are out in favor of over-the-shoulder third-person shooting. The game is far more frantic than usual, with the main character Komaru Naegi wielding “Truth Bullets” against waves of robotic Monokuma bears, beasts, balls, and more. Players can also take control of series mainstay Toko Fukawa in hack-and-slash segments reminiscent of God of War or Ninja Gaiden.
So how do each of these girls handle in Danganronpa Another Episode? The shooting segments work well enough, with a laser sighted pointer making it easy to snipe away at targets. Each Monokuma has a weak spot located in its eye, making one-hit kills that much more satisfying. The aforementioned “Truth Bullets” also shakes things up as well, with different bullets causing the enemy Monokumas to dance, short circuit, or get knocked back. The fact that these bullets are gradually rolled out throughout the game helps to make each level tailored around each element, rather than thrown in as an afterthought. However, this also makes the game a little too easy. These Monokumas may look menacing, but their slow pace is no match for your wide arsenal and laser sight. Still, blasting away the horde remains entertaining through its 15 hour length.
This also extends to Danganronpa Another Episode’s puzzles. Spread across the game’s world of Towa City are “Monoku-Man” arcade machines that force players to use the environment to their advantage. Victory gives you a higher score and fewer enemies, while failure results in battle. It’s a welcome break, offering a more cerebral take on the shooting and slashing,
Of course, a Danganronpa game is nothing without its story. Much like the other titles, Danganronpa Another Episode prides itself on a story full of dialog, mystery, and disturbing moments. Though the main character Komaru Naegi is defined as a “normal girl,” she still manages to have plenty of character as she faces off against the antagonist group known as the “Warriors of Hope.” Much of the plot is shrouded in mystery, but characters are defined through both major story points and also smaller little off-sides that come from reading “Demon Hunter” posters or books on the ground. While story segments can often rival story segments in terms of length, it still manages to be entertaining for those looking for a bit more exposition in their games.
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultimate Despair Girls hits all the right notes for a spinoff, retaining the spirit of its source material while still trying something new. It might not be the most challenging game around, but those looking for a bit more despair in their life have come to the right place.