Sun, Sea & Slaughter: Danganronpa 2 – Goodbye Despair

Danganronpa 2 [Steam page] is a game about students killing one another because a teddy bear tells them to. They’re on an island rather than in a locked-down school building because this is a sequel. New game, new environment. If you’ve played the first game, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect – lots of conversations, occasional investigation scenes when someone does a murder. Think Phoenix Wright but replace the judicial system with a bizarre and sinister setup that’s more like And Then There Were None than Battle Royale. It’s out now.

When I heard that there would be PC ports of the Danganronpa series, I was excited. People with a history of recommending good, weird things had told me these particular weird things would be right up my street. I played the first game for an hour, maybe two, and never went back to it. Maybe I’m just not attuned to the flow of visual novels but I hated the characters and found clicking through the tiny snippets of dialogue intensely tedious. I don’t care about backstories that appear to have as much depth as the clothes these people are wearing. I’m not surprised or interested to discover that the girl with the sporty build and clothes is really into sporty things and, yeah, I can give her gifts to make her like me!

I didn’t even see a murder! I signed on for murders and mysteries and investigations and I ended up with a lot of clunky dialogue smeared across a clumsy interface. The pace, as with many visual novels that I’ve tried, made Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture seem like a hundred meter sprint.

But maybe you’re one of the people who enjoyed the first game. There are plenty of you out there and a second helping might be just what you’re after. This installment promises improved trials and minigames.

Once you’ve got a suspect in your sights, turn up that tropical heat in a variety of timing and reflex-based game systems to reveal the ultimate truth and escape with your life.

Meanwhile, my wait for an enjoyable murder-student holiday simulation that caters to my specific tastes continues.

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9 Comments

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  1. Trillby says:

    I thought the first one was bat-shit insane, and worked very well as surreal...if not quite art, then at least creation. While the story was absolutely linear and the mini games highly tedious, the themes the game brings up and the cracks in the facade were sometimes genius.
    There's gold in them there hills, but just be ready for a lot of digging.
  1. Trillby says:

    I thought the first one was bat-shit insane, and worked very well as surreal…if not quite art, then at least creation. While the story was absolutely linear and the mini games highly tedious, the themes the game brings up and the cracks in the facade were sometimes genius.
    There’s gold in them there hills, but just be ready for a lot of digging.

    • SpiritBoy says:

      Also one of the main issues with whodunnit games is that sometimes you just want to scream the answer at the game but it won’t accept it. (The first case in the first game is just, ugh, are you people stupid?)

      • Zelos says:

        The first case definitely suffers from being a tutorial. They needed to cover all the basic mechanics, and avoid anything too difficult to figure out.

        But, that being said, their actions aren’t at all unreasonable or illogical, even if they might seem stupid for not discussing the message sooner (we don’t exactly have an “ultimate genius” in the cast; intelligence is not a prerequisite for attendance); it’s simply not enough to convict someone. Danganronpa trials epitomize “beyond reasonable doubt” because the students need to be certain that they’ve made the right choice. Even if the message was the first thing they discussed, everything else would still need to happen to discover exactly what it meant.

        The rest of the cases do a fairly good job of obscuring the murderer, in my opinion. The only other case that I felt was immediately obvious was the final murder. But that was carried by a desire to uncover the secrets and motives of the game master, rather than the murder itself.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      It’s a good thing this the top comment otherwise I might have missed it.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Nah, the first one was just weird. This one is batshit insane :)

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    Oakreef says:

    was that a game gear at about a minute in?

  3. Buggery says:

    Gee man, I’m not too keen on defending shameful animes but:

    “I don’t care about backstories that appear to have as much depth as the clothes these people are wearing. I’m not surprised or interested to discover that the girl with the sporty build and clothes is really into sporty things and, yeah, I can give her gifts to make her like me!”

    It sounds like you barely even started the damn game. The first courtroom sequence basically completely shatters almost exactly everything you complained about here by the time it’s over.

    • malkav11 says:

      He does explicitly say that he only played for an hour and change and didn’t get to the murder, much less the courtroom sequence. But yeah. Half the point of the game is how it plays with, rather than just replicating, the anime tropes it deals in. So it’s important to get past that surface impression.