The Playstation Vita continues to lack great games and new releases remain few and far between. This is unfortunate for many Vita owners who, like myself, see great potential in the Vita. Danganronpa, a fairly well known anime and visual novel series, is one of the more successful games on the Vita. Enter the third game in the Danganronpa franchise, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls. Will this Danganronpa blaze its own path to glory or burn itself to the ground?
A spin off of the visual novel series Danganronpa, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls tells the story of Komaru Naegi, a young girl who has been held captive within an apartment for an entire year. One day, a deadly bear called a Monokuma breaks down her front door and kicks off a series of events that leads Komaru into facing the Warriors of Hope, a group of children controlling the Monokumas. The Warriors of Hope are using said Monokumas to murder every adult that they come across. As with every Danganronpa, there is a ton of reading to be had, which is not a huge deal. I did, however, have a hard time caring about any of the characters or events. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the dark and dreary atmosphere, but the Warriors of Hope were annoying, Komaru is boring, and I couldn’t even tell you the other character’s names. In all fairness, I really enjoyed Toko Fukawa, who you meet very early into the game. Her split personality, Genocide Jill, is completely off her rocker and is as fun to experience as she is to play as.
Graphically, the game looks pretty good. Monokumas look frightening, characters look good, megaphone effects are fun, and the overall sound is pretty solid as well. I’m not a huge fan of the repetitive scenery in the city, but it did add to the sense of dark, dreariness which is cool.
Speaking of gameplay, Ultra Despair Girls is a third person shooter that puts the almighty hacking megaphone in Komaru’s hands. With the megaphone, you can shoot a variety of bullets called Truth Bullets. These bullets are used to move objects, attack enemies, and, at one point, even make your enemies dance. I do like the variety of bullets that you unlock and will eventually have at your disposal, but it definitely gets stale after a while. Luckily, you’ll have Genocide Jill to even things out. To use Jill, you’ll have to fill up a gauge that will slowly deplete when you call upon her genocidal rage. When playing as her, the game suddenly becomes hack and slash heaven, as she attacks enemies with a scissor in each hand. As far as overall combat is concerned, the game gets stale very quickly. In fact, the only part of the gameplay that I actually liked was playing as Genocide Jill. The fact that you only fight different varieties of Monokumas doesn’t help at all.
All in all, I’m not a huge fan of Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair girls. The story isn’t very interesting, the characters are mostly bland and boring, the gameplay is monotonous, and the variety in enemies is awful. The game does look and sounds pretty good, has a cool, dark atmosphere, and Genocide Jill, who is pretty damn awesome. Unfortunately, this spin off of the Danganronpa series is a game that I’d recommend every Playstation Vita owner skip.
Final Score: 5.5/10