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E3 2014 hands-on impressions: 'Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair'

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After playing Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair was definitely on the list to try out at E3. For those who are unfamiliar with the series, the game is a visual novel that thrusts the player into a murderous story of a kill-or-be-killed caliber.

A murderer is present within the group of characters and it is up to the player to play his/her cards right, to utilize evidence at the crime scene, and offered throughout the game, to deliver an accurate verdict of just who the killer is.

The game's feel, look, and gameplay can be compared to great titles like Persona and Ace Attorney. With the high school setting and being able to rank up social links with characters, the player can add a little more to the story by learning more about each one. The substance of the game is the exploration. The player will need to become familiar with the environment and the characters to be able to solve the murders. If the murder is brought to light successfully, he or she will suffer an execution. If the killer gets away with murder (literally), then he/she will be "blackened" and the rest of the class will be executed.

Once a murder is committed, a Class Trial ensues. During the Class Trial, the classmates bring forth the evidence that they have recovered and, based on the information and evidence the player has found, the player finds cracks in the statements. When a statement presents itself to be false, the player fires, what is called, a Truth Bullet at the statement.

Since the game is all about reading, the demo did not do much justice. Danganronpa titles are too involved to get in enough time on a quick demo. However, we got to get a feel for the new environment, characters, and see what changes we can expect with Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair.

Being that the original had just seen its remake released in states for the PS Vita on February 11, 2014 and that Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair will be out seven months later on September 2, 2014, players can expect to be greeted with the same great visuals. The game takes on a cartoon/comic book type look with some really cute characters. The difference is in the game's setting. The sequel takes place on an island and everything is adjusted to fit the environment. Not only do the visuals take on the island feel, but the music fits the scene, as well. While fans were used to an icon at the top-left of the screen that displayed as the music played, they are now greeted with a guitar icon and the music is the kind you would expect to hear playing on a tropical island.

To meet the same criteria of the first title, to be able to leave the island, the player must kill another student and be blackened (get away with it), or else they are forced to live on the island forever, with no return home. The main difference that can be said would be that the exploration time takes on a different feel. For fans familiar with the first title, it plays out through a first-person view of the character, Hajime Hinata, as he makes his way through the school. In Danganronpa 2, Hajime can be seen during exploration time, as it takes on a side-scrolling perspective. It felt a little awkward, since he can only go right or left and seemed to take away from the feeling of actually exploring. It felt as though the player is forced to only visit certain areas. We can assume that this is not the case, since the main element of the game is exploration and it may just be a small portion of the areas that take on this aspect. Again, this was a quick demo of the game.

Another difference is the inclusion of a virtual pet that the player must tend to. The pet grows as the player's in-game steps accumulate. While the pet can be accessed in the pause menu, it was just introduced and was too early in the demo to see what it was all about.

There are other modes that have been reported to be included in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair that will add to the lasting appeal to the game, including a more friendly mode that focuses on building relationships with the other classmates, the ability to see an alternate storyline, and a mode in which Monomi (the pink and white bunny) fights off enemies.

Being a fan of the first game, it is great to see that we don't have to wait very long to get our minds wrapped around the twists and turns awaiting in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair!

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