Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (PlayStation 4) Review

By Eric 16.07.2017 4

Review for Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls on PlayStation 4

Danganronpa is an ever-expanding visual novel series that follows a storyline through multiple games and even a few anime shows. The story revolves around people murdering each other in an on-going apocalypse. Originally on the PSP, the first title was a heavy visual novel, mixed with detective and trial components of trying to figure out which high school kid killed someone else. Having since expanded into other games, as well as an anime, the series has been largely successful. Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls follows a side-story between the first and second release.

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls has as complicated a plot as its name is long. Making the very odd genre change from detective/trial visual novels to a third-person action romp seems like it would not work and, largely, this train of thought would be correct. Before thinking that this spells disaster, though, over 80% of the 'game' is simply story, and as such stays true to its roots, meaning it is enjoyable.

The action follows Komaru Naegi, the sister of the protagonist of the first entry, who is mysteriously trapped in a city for over a year before it is attacked and everyone starts dying. For those who have never played a Danganronpa before, the plot revolves around a 'despair' that starts to infect the whole world and eventually causes everyone to kill themselves, and others, en masse. The leaders of the despair have an iconic black/white bear named 'Momokuma' that serves to taunt and be somewhat of a joke character, despite the dark tale.

Screenshot for Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls on PlayStation 4

To be clear, this dark theme follows in the footsteps of its predecessors - that remains the same. People are murdered repeatedly throughout the game, never in an overtly grotesque manner, but the game does not spare written detail about things, such as describing inner organs and what certain characters will do to them. The narrative switches between several different ways to spin the yarn: anime, 3D movies, in-game models, talking portraits, 'execution' style cartoons, and then the third-person shooter element. It jumps between these frequently, and it can often be a touch jarring. The anime scenes are wonderfully done and set what is a high bar that many of the others fail to reach. The absolute worst is what could be called '3D movies' in which the characters are rendered in 3D models (different from their in-game models, oddly) as they do things like run or talk. This section of storytelling is absolutely abysmal, to put it lightly, as the models look horrendous and any story is usually rendered nullified simply by how bad the faces/emotions look.

Screenshot for Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls on PlayStation 4

The 'execution' cartoons are familiar to anyone in the series, and while very odd looking they are part of the series, so not a big deal. The talking anime portraits are largely well done and a majority of the story takes place using them. The third-person parts are completely average, however. The gamer controls Komaru who has an electronic gun to shoot the Momokuma robots. She walks and shoots, nothing more, nothing less. There are various extra things the gun can do, but they don't really matter in the end as the best 'shot' is the first one, and any gamer with any third-person experience will be getting headshots most of the time. There is a very strange balance, though, as it is fairly easy to be killed health-wise but the game absolutely dumps over-kill levels of ammo on the player - in a game where you are never flooded with enemies to begin with! Komaru can switch with the melee 'Genocide Jack' who uses scissors to kill. She does not take damage but operates on a timer. In general, she is never needed, and her calmer alter-ego, Toko Fukawa, serves as pretty good characterisation for the two girls to banter back and forth.

Screenshot for Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls on PlayStation 4

Bouncing between the various ways the story is told, the third-person shooter sections, random puzzle parts, and so on, ruins the immersion. This is amplified by random 'anime moments' where someone will have just been killed but then someone else has exaggerated fourth-wall-breaking cut-scenes with bright lights flashing. Unfortunately, that is the way it is. Luckily, this is a small part of the overall adventure and, while not good, it does not outright fail. Anyone playing this is going to be here for the story, and it delivers in that regard.

Fans will want to look past the very odd genre Ultra Despair Girls is set in, and it is easy enough to beat even if not especially good at this genre. The action parts are very easy, with only something like personal challenges of trying to say get 80%+ headshots the whole game to make it at all difficult. Non-fans likely will not like this latest Danganronpa for multiple reasons, of which the convoluted plot is a major one. For those invested in the series' story, though, it stays true to its roots and, as such, comes highly recommended, despite some bad gameplay sections.

Screenshot for Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls jumps oddly between different genres, which fits in an otherwise enjoyable story. A vast majority involves simply clicking through the story, which per the series in general is largely pretty good. The convoluted plot, and heavy 'anime moments' make it tough to recommend to non-fans of previous releases, but those who enjoy the first or second title will have a great time here as most of the feel still remains, despite the very odd genre change.

Developer

Spike Chunsoft

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

i like the part with the rape machine.

Having beat resident evil 5 using pretty much just a pistol this game felt really really easy...but the story was pretty fun.

Insanoflex said:
i like the part with the rape machine.

That was the most unexpected thing lol.

Azuardo said:

Insanoflex said:
i like the part with the rape machine.

That was the most unexpected thing lol.


i like it when a game surprises me. this game was full of surprises and is constantly subverting expectations and has something to say about how characters are written.

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