• **Updated on June 26, 2017 to reflect our thoughts on the PS4 and PC version.

    It’s usually a strange move to take a visual novel series and do a follow-up title that’s a large departure from it’s original gameplay. Going from a story driven experience to a third person shooter is quite the leap, after all. While the game does have issues with this shift in gameplay styles, the narrative is strong enough of an experience to make it still deserve a place as an acceptable entry to the main series.

    The game is about the sister of Motoko Naegi, Komaru Naegi. She was mentioned in the first Danganronpa, but now it’s time for her story to be told. It begins a year and a half after the ‘Tragedy’ mentioned in the first game, and roughly six months before the second game in the series takes place. After being held captive for what seemed like forever, she’s attacked by killer robot teddy bears, but saved by men in blacks. One of them gives her a special gun and tells her to meet them at their extraction point. Unfortunately things go sour, and she ends up captive by five crazy children. They release her so she can participate in a killing game where she is their prey. Thankfully after she is dropped off, she runs into a girl named Toko. The only problem is that she has issues; of the split personality kind, let alone having character flaws in her normal state. Now they have to find a way to get out of the city and possibly stop the children from killing all the adults in the city.

    The story is very engaging, and you get to learn a lot more about not only the two girls, but the supporting cast as well. More so than even in the previous two titles. The backstories for the supporting cast were largely only seen through whatever scraps the game gives you for maxing out your classmates during break time. Instead it’s told through the narrative or the various files strewn throughout the game’s maps. In fact, there’s so much narrative, some people might be annoyed at the game’s pacing, especially near the conclusion. The narrative is the bread and butter of the series, and the localization is well done. Thankfully though there is as much game as there is plot. There are some issues present though.

    While the narrative’s quality is as good as the other entries, it has a few problems. The game’s shift to visual novel with some action bits instead makes a full transition to action gameplay. The action is done from the third-person perspective similar to a game like Resident Evil 4. You will walk or run through levels, with occasional ambushes from Monokumas of varying types attacking you at set points. Ammo is never really scarce, but item boxes might not contain the type of ammo or item you really want. So there’s some level of tension with conservation of resources. Thankfully your hacking gun isn’t the only method of dealing with the Monokumas. You can switch to Toko’s split personality Genocide Jill. She’s a berserker who is invulnerable and wrecks everything in her path. The drawback is that she can only fight as long as she has battery life and initially it drains quickly. You can get skills to increase the number or duration of batteries, along with other improvements through a shop. If you still end up getting caught by a Monokuma’s instant death attack, you can escape by doing a simple QTE. If the triangle button is pressed in the blue area, you save a battery charge. Otherwise it gets spent. The game is relatively easy though. If you want a real challenge, you will have to play on the hardest difficulty. Although the gunplay itself can be a bit wonky at times. Monokuma’s all can take great damage from hitting their red eye, which is their weak point. That’s assuming you can hit it, as the hitbox for your gun is very small, about as small as the laser sight bead. Even point blank shot often miss because of this. Boss fights can also be annoying at times due to the camera being always focused on them. Trying to run from attacks or pick up item becomes difficult as you can imagine. Aside from the sometimes wonky combat are the puzzle rooms. The idea is to challenge the player to clear the room efficiently for bonus coins. While they are interesting, they feel largely unnecessary and break up the flow a bit.

    Thankfully the music, voice acting, and story are all engaging. Even if the game can’t seem to settle on a visual style, the dissonance in each style brings a certain level of chaos that’s in line with the game’s themes. Some cut-scenes are presented as cell animated, computer generated, or the comic book styled animations seen in the other games. The only other issue is the lack of a chapter select like the previous two games.

    If you are playing the game on the recently released PS4 and Steam ports, you’ll benefit from tighter controls, significantly improved resolution, and a constant and smooth 60 frames of animation. There still isn’t any subtitle option for the animated or computer generated cut-scenes though, nor is there a Japanese audio track option like the other Danganronpa games. At least you’ll still be able to download a patch later that will fix this, but it should have been programmed back into the game.

    Despite these issues, the game is still a fun experience for fans of the series, regardless of platform. Although the PS4 and PC versions are definitely the better experiences. Perhaps it’s not the best starting point for newcomers though. If you have at least played the first Danganronpa, it’s a good point to continue, even if there are slight spoilers for Goodbye Despair.

    Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls - Review
    A fun third person shooter that manages to still be worthy of sharing the series namesake, even if there are some kinks in the gameplay.
    Our Score7.5
    • The story is interesting and you get a lot more character development than in the main series.
    • The switch to third person shooter doesn't diminish the experience too much.
    • There are some wonky issues related to the shooting mechanics at times.
    7.5Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (0 Votes)