Danganronpa 1.2 Reload - PS4 Review: Part 2

Diiiing doooog… diiiing dooong… Ahem, may I have you attention please? The time is now 10:00 P.M. "The Second Part of the review" is now in effect. As such hang onto your hats as the dark dreary school has been replaced with a bright sunny beach somewhere down south. The name of the game is the same even if the scenery has changed.

Starting off in the same manner as the first, the protagonist is invited to the school though unlike the first, they are an Ultimate. What's their Ultimate? They forgot due to the shock of having walked into the school and then having found themselves on a sunny beach paradise with a pink bear who's told everyone involved that if they want to leave? They have to live in peace and harmony. This is Danganronpa though and sunshine and rainbows don't last for very long. Hello again Monokuma, what do you have in mind this time?

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Because of some of the similarities, I left a few things out in Part 1 in order to concentrate more on them in Part 2, such as "Ultimates". The original fifteen students of the first *spoilers* plus the one that was already hidden away *end spoilers* were all invited to that particular school for a specific reason. They were all known as the Ultimate in what they did. A prodigy in their field. Baseball, being an Idol, a Writer, a Businessman so on and so forth. The same can be said for this second group of sixteen. They are all Ultimates in what they do though I found that unlike the first, I found it a lot harder to actually like this group.

The cast of Danganronpa just clicked. Even those that I didn't quite like eventually grew on me. The cast of Danganronpa 2 however? I didn't mind half the cast and of the half that remained? I was annoyed with some and I had honestly hoped that some of the others were on the fast track out. It's not to say that their writing or their designs were bad, actually the opposite, they were quite well written and as such, I hated their person.

Going straight from the first into the second it's easy to see both the similarities, the improvements and the contrasts from the get go. The similarities come in the playstyles. You move around in the first person, you can inspect how many points of interests that a room has by the click of a button and you can interact with those or another person by simply clicking on them. Improvements come in how much smoother it is to move around and how much smoother the environment looks. It's much less blurry than its predecessor. The contrasts? Those come with some of the other similarities.

You are trapped on this island with fifteen other people who now all have a motive to leave. If they kill someone, get away with it, they can leave. Doing so however means that everyone else dies. This gives the rest of the group a motive to stop them as they obviously don't want to die. Even if this paints a clear cut picture of how things are, there's never a clean cut picture even when you've amassed all the clue as Truth Bullets which is what makes Danganronpa's experience so damned good. Mentally scarring, but good.

Visually Danganronpa had a muted color scheme with a building completely shut out from the rest of the world including the "natural light". All the windows were covered with sheet metal and bolted down and all the doors to the outside were locked. ZERO natural light could make it in making night and day all sort of blend into one short of the two announcements from Monokuma for it being 7am and 10pm. Basically wake up and get out of bed and hurry up and get to sleep all while the interface turned from Yellow (Day) to Blue (Night).

While Danganronpa 2 follows this same formula, there's all the natural light in the world but the feeling of being trapped is just the same. Instead of being locked away in a giant building, you are essentially marooned on a resort island with no way off. While you can see the sun, feel the breeze at your back and even jump into the ocean for a swim, you are just as trapped here as you were inside the school making it possibly worse than before as there's no real way to enjoy yourself when you're constantly watching you back to make sure someone doesn't try to stab it.

Unfortunately stabbing does ensue and as such, murders and Class Trials are both back and in full force but not without some upgrades to keep things interesting. Searching for Truth Bullets for Class Trials remains the same with you requiring to talk to others and to investigate several locations in order to find clues. This ammunition is still going to be used in the same manner, but, why keep something the exact same when it works? Danganronpa 2 has you not only counter-argue with others but also agree with them in order to drive your points home.

That threw me off the first time. Wait? I have to agree with, crap then I can't say A, B or C! Multiple other features make their returns but not without some changes of their own. Hangman's Gambit which was an easy fill in the blanks now requires a lot more effort and gives a lot less help. Instead of floating letters that you just need to aim and break you've now got to mix two or more AND make sure they are going in the right order.

Even the comic book styled conclusion have gotten a revamp though personally I'm not sure if for better or worse. Now instead of having all the pieces with some extras thrown in to mess you up while putting it all together, you instead have sets of clues with extras thrown in to throw you off. Instead of saying "Go" to have everything play out you know now immediately that a clue was placed in the wrong slot. Going from having everything to work with over to a small set was off putting at first and after a bit of trial and error I did prefer the original style of having everything to work with from the get go. Everything to work with and immediately being told that you're wrong could be nice for Danganronpa 3. I guess we'll find out soon.

For anyone that's never played Danganronpa or Danganronpa 2, Danganronpa 1.2 Reload is a must as long as you don't mind be a tad horrified and mentally scarred. They are both brilliant in their presentations and their writing with each hitting the right level of emotions such as some lighter stuff after the heaviness of a murder and then a trial. Yes you know another one will be coming but in the meantime they let you relax just that little bit before taking it away all over again.

Game Information

Sony PlayStation 4
Spike Chunsoft
NIS America
Visual Novel?
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Originals also on:
PS Vita / PC

Provided by Publisher

Article by Pierre-Yves


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