Komaru Naegi has been imprisoned for a year and a half. Having fallen into a regular daily routine, she doesn’t have much hope of being rescued. However, the day of rescue has come! Will it be her knight in shining armour?
Well sure, it’s her knight in shining armour, if knight’s in shining armour are bears with very sharp claws set out to kill her. She’s still able to escape though, and this lets her meet up with Future Foundation. Unfortunately, a crazy series of events involving kids and even more bears with very sharp claws happens, and she’s now stuck alone and with a wristband. Well, I guess she isn’t alone, because she does meet up with Toko Fukawa – or rather, Genocide Jack and then Toko Fukawa. Oh and that bear with very sharp claws? It’s Monokuma.
After having played the first two Danganronpa’s, I can’t tell you how excited I was to play this one. Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls takes place between Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair. This time, the story follows Komaru Naegi as she’s trapped in Towa City. The game also takes a genre leap – Another Episode is a third person shooter. Don’t worry, it’s still just as dark and twisted as the other two titles.
Your weapon of choice in Another Episode is a hacking gun developed by Future Foundation. The hacking gun supports a wide variety of bullets that you’ll unlock as you play. Each bullet is useful and you’ll often be switching between them depending on the situation. Switching between them can be a tad awkward as you need to use the d-pad to select which you’re using. If you can’t do it on the fly then you can press square to pause time until you select which one you want. I say it’s a tad awkward because when you need to try and get one that’s not directly on a button, you often end up on the wrong one. This also tends to lead to getting hit. Getting hit is really painful.
Should you choose to not want to use the hacking gun, you also have access to Genocide Jack. Genocide Jack is invincible but can only stay out for a limited period of time. The amount of time she can stay out is indicated by the battery gauge in the upper left. I’m not sure if it’s different on other difficulties, but this gauge refills fairly quickly over time on Easy when you’re in control of Komaru. Genocide Jack can be quite effective at taking out Monokuma’s and can help get you out of a bind quite nicely. I mean it too – if Komaru is about to die, you’ll enter Despair Time. Despair Time gives you a circle and you need to stop it at the right time. Stop it in the yellow, Genocide Jack will save you and use one battery. Stop it in the blue? She’ll do it without using a battery! I mainly used Genocide Jack to get me out of tough spots when there was just too many Monokuma’s for me to handle at once.
Speaking of difficulties, you have three to choose from when you first start the game. For simplicity, let’s just call them Easy, Normal, and Hard. I had originally started the game in Normal but quickly changed over to Easy. I’m not really sure what the differences in the difficulties are as I didn’t immediately notice any differences. Monokuma’s still took the same number of hits and I took the same amount of damage. I imagine there has to be something that differs between them, I’m just really not sure what.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not used to playing shooters (really, my only other experience in some kind of third person shooter is the Tomb Raider reboot), but the Monokuma’s can be a bit tricky to hit. Namely, their weak spot is really tricky to hit. Their weak spot is the red eyes, and the hitbox for it seemed like it was all over the place. Some hits that I swore hit it didn’t give me the “Nice Shot!” message, and others that seemed way off did. It doesn’t help that they move a lot and each type of Monokuma is a bit different to hit their weak spot. There’s also a nice little bonus for doing so – hitting the weak point will grant you a Gold coin, the best possible, so long as the enemy can drop items.
You like puzzles too, right? Another Episode has you covered! Puzzles in this game come in the form of Arcade Rooms. With only a few exceptions, these Arcade Rooms want you to try and kill all of the Monokuma’s at once. The trick is figuring out how to do so. Luckily, there’s an arcade machine before you go into the main room that lets you look over the layout of the room and the Monokuma’s. It also tells you which of your bullets you can use in that room. If you mess up the solution be prepared for a fight as you still have to kill all of those Monokuma’s to proceed.
You also like collectibles, right? I knew it! Another Episode is filled with collectibles. Collectibles are found in the form of small shiny spots on the ground. These are everywhere, and yet it feels like you can go ages without finding one. You need to be extremely thorough to even find all of them. Most of these are just books or notes you can find, but sometimes there are also skills available to find. These skills are really useful. There are also Hidden Kids to find. These are a bit trickier to find – you need to look for sparkles that sometimes aren’t even visible from certain angles. Once you do, you need to use the Detect bullet on them until they pop out.
Another Episode features a leveling system. You level by, of course, killing Monokuma’s. As you level up you obtain more skill points (SP). These can be put to use to equip the previously mentioned skills, all of which have a certain SP value. So try and kill as many Monokuma’s as you can – it will pay off. I do wish it did make it so you did more damage with your bullets, thus needing to use less, but it doesn’t. Monokuma’s will take the same amount of hits to die regardless of level, with the best way of dealing damage being to hit their red eye.
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls helps fill in for story between the two other titles. And despite the genre leap, Another Episode manages to maintain what makes Danganronpa “Danganronpa”. It’s still just as dark and twisted and will pull you in all the same. Even though I’m not one to typically play shooters, I really enjoyed my time with Another Episode. I highly suggest it to Vita owners, along with the other two titles in the series. So what are you waiting for? Go get it now.
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls Review Score
You can find Emma’s review of Another Episode here.
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is available on Amazon.
I would like to thank NIS America for providing me with a copy for review.