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Spike Chunsoft

tri-Ace photo
tri-Ace

Spike Chunsoft and tri-Ace's Exist Archive looks even better in motion


I'm interested
Aug 03
// Chris Carter
Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky, the newest project from tri-Ace and Spike Chunsoft, looks pretty great. Now, compliments of for latter part of the collaboration, we have a gameplay trailer that shows us a bit more ...
Exist Archive photo
Exist Archive

Tri-Ace and Spike Chunsoft unveil their new RPG


Introducing Exist Archive
Aug 02
// Kyle MacGregor
Oh hey, I didn't see you there. I was just reading about Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky, a new role-playing game from Star Ocean studio Tri-Ace and Spike Chunsoft of Danganronpa fame. Revealed in the latest iss...
Danganronpa VR photo
Danganronpa VR

Cyber Danganronpa VR: Class Trial could be the start of something neat


Tech demo for Project Morpheus
Jul 24
// Jordan Devore
Spike Chunsoft has been playing around with Project Morpheus, and Cyber Danganronpa VR: Class Trial is the result. As that subtitle indicates, it places players directly inside of a class trial. The tech demo was shown this w...
Spike Chunsoft x Tri-Ace photo
Spike Chunsoft x Tri-Ace

Spike Chunsoft, Tri-Ace team up to make an RPG


New project to be unveiled next week
Jul 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Zero Escape and Danganronpa studio Spike Chunsoft is teasing a collaboration with Tri-Ace, the company behind Square Enix's much loved Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile franchises. The countdown site doesn't give a lot to go on...

Mystery Chronicle photo
Mystery Chronicle

Get a load of Spike Chunsoft's Mystery Chronicle


Here's the intro
Jul 07
// Chris Carter
Spike Chunsoft is gearing up for a July 30 launch for Mystery Chronicle on PS4 and Vita in Japan, and you can take a look at the game's intro now. Shiren the Wanderer and Danganronpa collaborations have already been con...
Zero Escape 3 photo
Zero Escape 3

Zero Escape Volume 3 announced for 3DS, Vita


Coming summer 2016
Jul 03
// Kyle MacGregor
Today at the Aksys Games panel at Anime Expo in Los Angeles, the publisher and Zero Escape series director Kotaro Uchikoshi announced Zero Escape Volume 3. This is the next entry in developer Spike Chunsoft's visual...
Attack on Titan 3DS photo
Attack on Titan 3DS

Attack on Titan now available on 3DS in Europe


Australia and New Zealand, too!
Jul 03
// Kyle MacGregor
Shingeki no Kyojin: Humanity in Chains has finally arrived for the Nintendo 3DS in PAL territories. The action game allows players to suit up in Omni-directional Mobility Gear and take on Titans as either familiar faces from the manga and anime series or characters of your own creation. For €30, the (digital-only) title comes with an exclusive 3DS theme. You can find our review here.
Attack on Titan 3DS photo
Attack on Titan 3DS

Attack on Titan 3DS maneuvers to Europe next week


Plus a discount for North America
Jun 26
// Kyle MacGregor
After a short delay, Shingeki no Kyojin: Humanity in Chains is launching across Europe, Australia, and New Zealand next week on July 2, Atlus USA announced today. If you're curious as to why the Nintendo 3DS game is being rel...
Danganronpa photo
Danganronpa

The new Danganronpa launches in September


Another PS Vita exclusive is on the way
Jun 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is on its way to North America on September 1, publisher NIS America announced today. After that, the plan is to bring it to Europe on September 4. Here's the premise: "Komaru...
High fashion photo
High fashion

Danganronpa: Ultra Despair Girls gets limited edition


Want to rock a game tie and eye patch?
May 19
// Steven Hansen
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is coming to North America and Europe this fall. It's a weird little third-person megaphone shooter with light puzzle elements set between the first and second games in the mai...
Attack on Titan 3DS photo
Attack on Titan 3DS

Copyright forces Atlus to rename Attack on Titan


Complications cause delay for Europe
May 02
// Kyle MacGregor
Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains appears to be having some difficulty coming to Europe, as a copyright claim has forced Atlus to rename the game and delay its release. The publisher didn't provide specifics on when we...
Hotline Miami art photo
Hotline Miami art

This Japanese Hotline Miami art is sick as hell


In the face of evil
Apr 15
// Jordan Devore
Danganronpa maker Spike Chunsoft is publishing Hotline Miami: Collected Edition, a localized bundle of the original gorefest and its thumping sequel Wrong Number, in Japan this year. Ahead of its June 25 release for PS4 and PS Vita, here's the bundle's slick promo art and logo. You've earned a new fan today, @b0neface. [Via Shane Bettenhausen]

J-Stars Victory Vs+ is a shallow masher, but it's fanservice done right

Apr 15 // Chris Carter
J-Stars Victory Vs+ (PS3, PS4 [tested], Vita) Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: Bandai Namco EntertainmentRelease: TBA 2015 So what the hell is this game? Well, it's a 2v2 brawler that's set up a lot like Bushido Blade. All battles take place in large arenas in a 3D format, so you can run around to your heart's content as you try to chase down or escape your foes. According to Koji Nakajima, the game's producer, the "core focus" is strictly on 2v2 fighting, with AI taking the place of a partner if you aren't engaging in two-player co-op. The cast is probably the most impressive part, hosting well-known characters like Kenshin, Goku, and Naruto, alongside of more obscure ones like Toriko and Gintoki Sakata, who only dedicated anime fans may know of. The good news is that you'll likely find a lot of favorites regardless as the final cast is massive, weighing in at 52 characters. Even better news -- Nakajima states that there are "no plans for DLC." If you want some background info on the roster, you can check it out by way of an in-game gallery, which details their personal story. The demo I played hosted matches in Hidden Leaf Village from Naruto, furthering the Bushido Blade comparison. Environmental objects like houses can be blown up, paving the way for more destruction, and there's a lot of room to move around. All told, there's over 10 stages in the final build and given the open-ended nature of just the one I played, that seems like more than enough. I did have some camera issues when the action took place in more enclosed spaces, but there is a lock-on feature, and blowing up those spaces made things more manageable. Blowing up stuff is always a good idea in J-Stars. The way the game works is that each team of two needs to achieve three kills total, at which point the round ends and said team is declared the victor. It's simple enough, especially when the control scheme is so easy to pick up. In addition to your typical "weak and strong" attacks there are also a few supers, as well as team ultimates -- in the case of Goku, a Kamehameha and a Spirit Bomb would fulfill those roles respectively. There really is no finesse in J-Stars Victory -- it's a masher through and through. Although there's a lot of nuance in terms of animations (Goku's flight dash is completely different compared to Kenshin's run), every character pretty much operates in the same fashion, mashing either of the two attack buttons when their opponent is open. Attack animations are very lengthy and advanced tactics like canceling are few, so the opportunity to punish is near constant. What's really impressive though is the commitment to how the characters are portrayed in-game. I asked Nakajima to elaborate a bit on how they came up with some of the movesets, and he replied that "it was a really tough thing to reproduce. Since a lot of the cast wasn't strictly action based, we needed to improvise. Take Kankichi Ryotsu, a police officer. His character really likes remote control cars, so we implemented that as an attack in the game." This isn't just a statement to fluff up J-Stars -- it's absolutely true. Although I'm not thrilled by the lack of depth when it comes to the combat system itself, each character feels like a different experience in terms of their animation. J-Stars Victory Vs+ is set to arrive on June 30 in 2015 in the west, and its release is nothing short of a miracle. Just don't go in expecting a deep fighter, and you'll likely enjoy it.
J-Stars Victory Vs+ photo
Damn if it doesn't feel good to beat up Naruto as Goku
It doesn't take an otaku to see the appeal of J-Stars Victory Vs+. It features a host of famous anime characters, from Kenshin to Goku to Naruto. It's like the Marvel vs. Capcom of Shōnen Jump properties, a mag...

Review: Etrian Mystery Dungeon

Apr 06 // Chris Carter
Etrian Mystery Dungeon (3DS)Developer: Spike Chunsoft, AtlusPublisher: AtlusRelease Date: April 7, 2015MSRP: $39.99 If you've never played a Mystery Dungeon title before, it's fairly easy to explain, despite the fact that each title is quite difficult to master. It's a roguelike (and I actually mean roguelike, not the overuse of the buzz term to denote permadeath) that takes place mostly within randomly generated labyrinthine locations, tasking one with staving off monsters, earning loot, and leveling up a swarthy crew. It's entirely turn-based and takes place on an invisible grid that can be toggled at will -- so if you don't move, even if there are enemies in the room, nothing happens. It's less of an action game and more of a tactical affair, where position and conservation of gear and skill points matter. In Etrian Mystery specifically this is mostly due to the fact that every step takes FP (Food Points), you can only carry a certain amount of items into a dungeon, and the toughest limitation of all -- your party has to actually finish or escape a dungeon to get any loot and prevent any losses of gold or items. If you fail in any fashion, it automatically saves your game and it's back to town with your tail between your legs. The way movement and combat works is through a "leader" system, controlling one of four members with the other three in tow. While you're in control one can manipulate any character at will, but the others will go about their business automatically with a sort of Gambit-like system. You'll also be able to change your formation to protect more fragile members, and since many monsters can one-shot casters, it's important to get used to the practice. [embed]289800:58006:0[/embed] Party composition absolutely matters too, and having two melee with two ranged characters will make a world of difference. Naturally choosing what classes will take you quite a while to decide, as there are ton of options, including but not limited to tanks (Defender), healers (Medic), debuffers (Hexer), warriors (Landsknecht), ninjas, samurai (Wanderer), dancers, casters (Runemaster), and more eccentric hybrid classes like royals. CPU characters mostly make good decisions, but unfortunately the Gambit mechanic only has an "on or off" toggle for abilities -- no complicated formulas to flip through to get exactly what you want. Of course, that's where manually switching leaders comes in, and bosses give you direct control over each member for every action. There's no way to sugar coat it, Etrian Mystery Dungeon is tough. At one point in the second dungeon, I descended a flight of stairs into a room with five enemies who could each two-shot the party. One of them killed my caster instantly, grew stronger as a result, and one-shot my subsequent characters. Shortly after I realized the auto-level system was off, and I hadn't assigned skills for my party. I returned after some grinding and my runemaster smoked half the room with his newly acquired spells before they could make a move while my tank taunted the remaining foes to soak damage. It was immensely satisfying. Each individual dungeon is no joke, and you pretty much have to do sidequests and level up a balanced party, including your reserves. A decent chunk of quests that are required to buff up individual classes also must be done solo without help, which can get very dicey on lower dungeon levels. Etrian Mystery Dungeon makes you work for pretty much everything, and punishes you for failing. That's perfectly okay with me as the tools to succeed are sufficiently provided, but one should definitely know what they're getting into. The reason what Etrian Mystery works so well is mostly due to the fact that the game opens up the more you play it. Each dungeon layout is randomly generated, but you can build "forts" to lock in certain levels for a hefty fee. As a secondary benefit you can also send standby party members there to train at a higher experience rate, and later in the game they serve a new purpose of keeping gigantic monsters away from town. As you start to unlock new parts of town you'll also have the option to redevelop areas of your choice for extra benefits, like more reserve spots in a party or extra stock in the town shop. The town itself is all menu-based, but it's incredibly easy to move around, organize your party, save, locate missions, buy items, and eat one-dungeon food buffs. The art style isn't all that impressive once you're in the actual dungeons, but the character models, town, and landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful, as is the soundtrack. It's also important to note that a rich engrossing story isn't really the core focus here so much as constantly entering dungeons and bettering yourself. While there is a tenuous narrative afoot, the real meat of the universe is found in tomes or in-game database entries, as most of the dialog is basically table-setting for more dungeon crawling. I really enjoyed some of the relationships between the townsfolk, but they didn't have a lot of interesting insights or meaningful backstories. The more I played Etrian Mystery Dungeon the more I fell in love with it. While the learning curve is pretty steep and the rewards are fairly low-end early on, you really do get as much as you put in. It gives existing Mystery fans a lot to stick around for, and serves as a nice entry point for newcomers, so long as you are willing to learn. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Etrian Mystery Dungeon photo
Same old dungeon, lighthearted new feel
Mashups are often born purely for fanservice-related reasons, and as you can probably guess, the results are mixed. For instance, it would be tough for an RPG developer to make an action game based on two different puzzle pro...

Attack on Titan 3DS photo
Attack on Titan 3DS

Atlus localizing Attack on Titan 3DS game this May


Confirmed for both North America and Europe
Apr 01
// Kyle MacGregor
Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains is officially on its way to North America and Europe. Atlus USA just formally announced plans to publish the Nintendo 3DS action game as part of today's Nintendo Direct presentation. Expec...

Review: Fossil Fighters: Frontier

Mar 24 // Jed Whitaker
Fossil Fighters: Frontier (3DS)Developer: Red Entertainment, Spike ChunsoftPublisher: NintendoReleased: March 20, 2015MSRP: $29.99 Fossil Fighters: Frontier is the third game in a series of Nintendo published titles that have flown under the radar. Many would say this is a Pokémon ripoff, but that isn't fair, as Frontier has far simpler mechanics that vary the formula in its own way. There is no evolution apart from the adorable sidekick dinosaur named Nibbles, and each creature has a defined set of eight moves that are unlocked via finding each piece of its fossil. There are far fewer elemental types of creatures to deal with. It makes for a dull experience. Players take on the role of a young male or female warden who watches over dig sites, tasked with driving the aptly named "Bone Buggy" around digging up dinosaur fossils to revive them as vivosaurs, as well as protecting the parks from rogue vivosaurs and mischievous persons. Along the way you meet some "Paleo Pals" of whom you can choose two at a time to battle alongside you with their vivosaurs. The story is pretty light until about halfway into the game when a very Dr. Robotnik-like character shows up with an evil scheme that you have to put an end to. Battling feels very different from other games in the genre as your Pals' two vivosaurs automatically fight alongside yours. Similar to Pokémon you get to choose from four moves of the eight unlockable per combatant, and which enemy to attack. During the animations for the attacks you're able to use a limited number "support shots" to increase the statistics of your vivosaur for that turn. Support shots include more defense, speed, chance of critical hits or refilling health; support shots are critical to battle. A majority of your time will be spent watching your Paleo Pals battle while deciding on how to use your support shots to affect the battle, which isn't very engaging. Vivosaurs look great on screen and their attack animations actually show them connect with the enemies, unlike Pokémon. Anything that isn't a core character model though looks very jagged and ugly due to the 3DS's dated graphics. The amount of vivosaurs in the game is low, the majority of which are just reskinned of the most recognizable dinosaurs such as longnecks, raptors, T-rex and triceratops. There's only so many times you can watch the same vivosaurs do the same moves before you get tired of the tedious waiting and repetition, a running theme for Fossil Fighters: Frontier. Between battles you'll be driving around to the different dig sites finding fossils to excavate and revive. Digging up fossils is controlled by using the stylus on the touchscreen to use drills and hammers, which amounts to scribbling. A limited amount of time is given based on what battery you have equipped to your Bone Buggy, as you can purchase larger batteries that grant more time. Uncovering fossils is as tedious as in the original game and can't compare to the thrill of catching a Pokémon. Each piece of a fossil grants your vivosaur a new move, and each piece has a rare variation that grants a different move. These can be mixed and matched as you see fit prior to going into each park. Driving Buggies feels rather slow, even with a fully customized vehicle, and only ever really feels entertaining in the late game where you can run over speedboosts to attempt to jump a canyon. There are some grand prix time trial races that you have to compete in, which equate to driving from one end of the park to the other, and are quite easy. The grand prix races seem included just to artificially extend the game, as it is rather shallow. Early on you're forced to enter each dig site only to have to go back to it as soon as you leave for some story event that is taking place. This happens numerous times and only serves to extend the playtime. The same could be said about support shots, which are limited in number but can be refilled after a battle by driving to stations throughout each park, even though your vivosaurs stats reset after each battle automatically.  Multiple times I found myself in battles where the difficulty suddenly spiked, our vivosaurs were no match when the battle just before they had easily wiped the floor with the enemy. This led to grinding at the tournaments you can enter in each park. The tournaments consist of three or four battles in a row with a limited number of support shot refills, and are vastly easier than any of the late game battles. Luckily there is an "auto" option on the bottom screen that allows the computer to take over for your vivosaur as well as your Paleo Pals. I was relieved when I didn't have to manually grind, but I shouldn't be relieved to have a game play itself constantly! I'd say around 10 hours of my 26 hour playthrough was dull, automatic grinding. Those also looking for a game to play with their friends will want to seek help elsewhere, as online play only consists of ranked battles versus strangers, although you can see your friend's rankings. Local co-op only allows players to enter dig sites together, though I wasn't able to test this out as it requires two consoles and two copies of the game. Overall multiplayer seems rather tacked on. For a game that is clearly geared towards children, the difficulty spikes and grind in the later part of the game didn't really make sense, nor did teaching kids to win their battles with what equates to a mean steroid habit. Fossil Fighters: Frontier feels like a basic idea of a game surrounded by hours of repetition just to artificially extend the length. The battling isn't fun, the driving is dull, the graphics aren't easy on the eyes, the story is predictable, the characters are all tropes based on their ethnicity; in the world of Fossil Fighters: Frontier entertainment is extinct. [This review is based on a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.]
Fossil Fighters: Frontier photo
Ex-stink-tion
I used to love dinosaurs. Growing up I watched The Land Before Time nearly daily, and I really wanted to be a paleontologist just like Alan Grant. If there was a video game with dinosaurs in it, I experienced it it,...

Etrian Mystery Dungeon is a quirky spinoff in line with series legacy

Feb 26 // Alessandro Fillari
Etrian Mystery Dungeon (3DS)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: AtlusRelease date: April 7, 2015MSRP: $39.99 For those unaware, Etrian Mystery Dungeon is a spinoff of its mainline series Etrian Odyssey. Playing as adventurers seeking fame, fortune, and glory, you must explore dangerous monster-filled dungeons while helping out local townsfolk in need. In and around the village of Azlarga, you build your reputation amongst the locals who come to rely on you for help. Over the course of your adventures, you'll acquire new weaponry, abilities, and and party members that wish to join in on your successes, and hope to conquer the more nefarious and deadly dungeons that remain untouched by explorers' hands. In similar vein to last year's Persona Q, EMD takes several of the series' concepts and gameplay ideas, and injects them into a brand new setting. In Mystery Dungeon, the action is moved to the tried-and-true roguelike dungeon crawler school of thought. With an overhead third-person angle, you have to keep watch of your party members and their surroundings as they venture through the environment. Utilizing grid-based movement, positioning is everything. Certain party members use either ranged or close-range abilities, and must be placed accordingly. With only four characters to bring with you into the field, you'll have to choose wisely from the several classes that EMD has to offer. While exploring, you'll want to monitor the status of your party members. As some traps poison people, or debilitate movement, you have stay stocked up on recovery items. For every step you take, you also drain FP (food points), which affects stamina and combat prowess. Once that's completely drained, your party leader will sustain damage for every move you make. In order to stay ahead of this, you'll have to keep them well-fed, or have another member of the group take point. This puts an interesting spin on exploration, as often times you'll have your tank lead. But if he's too tired to take charge, then you might be forced to escape or have one of your more vulnerable members lead. [embed]288216:57511:0[/embed] Fortunately, there are many different ways to stay on top in dungeons. Certain classes can scout ahead and spot traps and monsters, while others can keep the party buffed and in good health. Also, there are several areas within the labyrinths that are fairly safe, which can be fortified by your group. In these forts, you'll remain safe, and they can be used for quick travel back to the outside. Forts are run by members of the guilds you can join back in Azlarga, and they help monitor your resources. Loot, minerals, and other special resources found in the dungeon can be taken back to the forts, though, keep in mind, they can be still be attacked and destroyed by monsters in the dungeon. So it's important to make sure if you want to invest the time and money to build one, especially in a dangerous location. The Etrian Odyssey series is known for its tough challenges, and EMD definitely retains that for dungeon exploration. Every dungeon you travel to is randomly generated, which not only keeps things interesting, but has you on your toes. In some cases, the first few floors of the dungeon might be a cake walk, but traveling to a fresh location might have you walk right into several traps and powerful foes. Despite the challenges, there are many opportunities to save yourself and your crew. If you for instance wipe, you can send in rescue units for your team for evac back to town. Unfortunately, you'll lose out on items and currency found at that location. So it's always best to keep a fresh save at all times. I'm usually not that partial to dungeon crawlers, but I found Etrian Mysery Dungeon to be charming, despite its difficulty. The visuals and art style are vibrant and colorful, which is a welcome departure from the common brown and grey aesthetic of roguelike dungeon crawler RPG titles. I found the presentation to be fun, and the world is one I would love to explore again. I expect players to be quite taken with Mystery Dungeon. With its release in April, it should also scratch an itch for fans eager to play Etrian Odyssey V, which is still a ways off. Granted, this is a bit different than previous EO titles, but that's actually kind of a good thing. It's another approach to dungeon crawling, sure, but at its heart it's a similar experience fans will love.
Etrian Mystery Dungeon photo
Hardcore dungeon crawling with a new perspective
Over the years, Atlus has become one of the more endearing presences in gaming. One thing fans appreciate is its tendency to switch things up. The publisher has a handle on the niche gaming scene, and it's reassuring to know ...

Danganronpa photo
Danganronpa

Danganronpa Another Episode heads west this fall


Spike Chunsoft's latest creation confirmed for North America and Europe
Feb 19
// Kyle MacGregor
Good news, everyone! Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is coming west this autumn, publisher NIS America announced tonight at a press event in San Francisco. Unlike the first pair of Danganronpa titles, b...
Etrian Mystery Dungeon photo
Etrian Mystery Dungeon

Etrian Mystery Dungeon shows off the Medic


This is looking great
Feb 06
// Chris Carter
What do you get when you mix Etrian Odyssey and the Mystery Dungeon series? Etrian Mystery Dungeon of course! With development handled by dungeon master Spike Chunsoft, the new 3DS game will bring in that clas...
ATLUS photo
ATLUS

Etrian Mystery Dungeon crawls to 3DS on April 7


Atlus sets roguelike role-playing game's release date in stone
Jan 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Etrian Mystery Dungeon will arrive in North America on April 7, Atlus USA announced today. The project is a collaboration between Atlus and Spike Chunsoft, pairing the character classes and skill trees of Etrian Odyssey with Mystery Dungeon's exploratory roguelike design.  Atlus plans to include a bonus soundtrack disc with all pre-orders and first-run copies of the game.
More weaboo games! photo
More weaboo games!

New SaGa and Deception games are in development


Also, a lot from Spike Chunsoft
Dec 11
// Steven Hansen
It has been over ten years since Unlimited Saga. There have been re-releases in the interim. And a Gree social game, Emporers SaGa, a couple years ago in Japan. From the same source that brought us confirmation of Gravity Rus...
Etrian Mystery Dungeon photo
Etrian Mystery Dungeon

Etrian Mystery Dungeon comes west next spring


Atlus goes rogue!
Dec 03
// Kyle MacGregor
Etrian Mystery Dungeon is heading to the Americas in 2015, Atlus USA announced today. The crossover project is a partnership between the Shin Megami Tensei studio and Spike Chunsoft, makers of strange series like Da...
Etrian Mystery Dungeon photo
Etrian Mystery Dungeon

Etrian Odyssey gets a Mystery Dungeon crossover


Atlus and Spike Chunsoft, together again
Nov 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Well, it looks like Atlus and Spike Chunsoft are having another baby. The studios announced a new collaborative project today, Etrian Mystery Dungeon. For those unfamiliar with Mystery Dungeon, it's a series o...

Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Sep 28 // Brittany Vincent
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (PS Vita)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: NIS AmericaReleased: September 2, 2014MSRP: $39.99 Follow the upper crust of high school students (the "Ultimates,” as they’re called), promising young people with extraordinary talents meant to make the world a better place. The class of 16, including protagonist Hajime Hinata, are taken on a field trip to the abandoned resort of Jabberwock Island to discover how hope, friendship, and other positive ideals can benefit them -- at least, that’s the line of nonsense they’re fed to get them to cooperate. Of course, things aren't as bright and happy as your pink rabbit plush toy of an instructor claims. As it turns out, Jabberwock Island devolves into an inescapable prison manned by the malevolent Monokuma. While the students can live comfortably on the island, there's no hope for any of them to escape -- unless someone gets away with killing another student without being caught. Much of Danganronpa 2 unfolds via interaction with other characters; back-and-forth dialogue exchanges compose the glut of gameplay as you uncover the mysteries of Jabberwock Island. With key players being killed off left and right, it needs that kind of balance, and the English script does a great job of providing it. Best of all, where most visual novels are content to throw wall after wall of text at players, giving little incentive to continue beyond the branching dialogue choices, Danganronpa makes excellent use of a variety of different play styles to keep up the momentum. [embed]281591:55775:0[/embed] The first of these you encounter are Phoenix Wright-esque segments where you explore crime scenes in a first-person point of view. This perspective gives the game a bit of a claustrophobic feel, emphasizing the hopeless mood that permeates the academy walls as you gather important evidence and testimonies against a possible culprit in a murder case. Finding enough clues eventually leads to a Class Trial, a set of fast-paced mini-games that put your skills to the test. Each mode of play in a Class Trial is a rapid-fire battle of wits as you point out relevant evidence to each character's testimony, "shoot down" letters to reveal clues, debate against other students in a rhythm game of sorts, and build comic strips depicting what you believe to have gone down in each case. The minigames have been overhauled from the last game, however, and they seem closer to puzzles than games of skill this time around. There's also a new segment known as the Rebuttal Showdown, which finds you "slashing" down arguments left and right -- literally. If that isn’t enough variety, there’s even a snowboarding minigame that requires you to answer questions that relate evidence to the current trial at hand. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and Danganronpa 2 has it in spades. Where the visual novel segments are at times too passive and overly wordy, Class Trials are an impeccable exercise in getting the blood flowing. They're as punchy as the neon-hued pop art, which is devilishly good at complementing the grisly deaths the students eventually succumb to. I also quite enjoyed the soundtrack, which, like the original game prompted me to go in search of a copy to enjoy outside of the game long after it had ended. Coupled with the unpredictable tone and often hilarious exchanges, it just felt right, which is a combination many games, especially quirky ones like this, can rarely do correctly. In the end, it all comes together in a most delightful way. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is an accomplished amalgam of storytelling, character interaction, and deduction – plus, a macabre attitude that isn’t afraid to show its true colors. It's just as bizarre and engaging as its predecessor -- and in an age where sequels often crash and burn, that's reason enough to say goodbye to despair.
Danganronpa 2 review photo
Do that to me one more time
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc was an intelligent riff on the perils of high school -- you know, if you had thrown a murder mystery in between classes and the principal was a maniacal stuffed animal. Its sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, takes a beleaguered trope and turns it on its head. This is one "trapped on a desert island" story that takes things to another level entirely.

Danganronpa photo
Danganronpa

The new Danganronpa looks absolutely insane


Spike Chunsoft's bizarre spin-off launches in Japan on September 25
Sep 10
// Kyle MacGregor
Spike Chunsoft has shared another trailer for Danganronpa: Another Episode and it's pretty much pure madness. The PlayStation Vita title is set to release in Japan come September 25. No yet word regarding a potential western release, but we will be sure to keep you apprised. In the meantime, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is out now across North America and Europe.
Danganronpa photo
Danganronpa

Danganronpa Another Episode gets daft trailer with megaphones


I don't know
Sep 01
// Steven Hansen
Absolute Despair Girl: Danganronpa Another Episode -- thanks, horrible naming conventions -- takes place between the first Danganronpa and the second, Goodbye Despair, which comes out in North America on Tuesday. Another Episode is coming to Japan on September 25. 
Danganronpa 2 photo
Danganronpa 2

Double your dose of despair with these new Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair screens


Lots more accusatory finger-pointing!
Aug 04
// Brittany Vincent
If you're eagerly awaiting another dose of despair via Danganronpa, you'll want to check out this hefty new batch of screenshots for Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, releasing September 2. There are a few interesting surprises...
Danganronpa photo
Danganronpa

Taiwanese Danganronpa fans can say goodbye to despair with this Danganronpa double pack


Deductions for days
Jul 28
// Brittany Vincent
Taiwanese Danganronpa fans have plenty to be happy about, with Sony Computer Entertainment Taiwan releasing a double pack of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair on August 21 for NT $2,090 (~$70...
Danganronpa 2! photo
Danganronpa 2!

Here's how Danganronpa 2's murder mystery works


Monokuma explains
Jul 09
// Kyle MacGregor
The Danganronpa series sure has an interesting concept behind it. A group of kids are held hostage by a murderous bear, who encourages his prisoners to murder one another on the sly. Should the culprit get caught, well,...
Danganronpa photo
Danganronpa

Preorder the latest Danganronpa spinoff in Japan and get a cuddly smartphone stand


As cuddly as Monobear can be, anyway
Jun 27
// Brittany Vincent
Spike Chunsoft's Absolute Despair Girl: Danganronpa Another Episode is headed to retail shelves in Japan on September 25, and fans have yet another reason to get excited about the impending Danganronpa spinoff: this adorable ...

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