Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls

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Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls
Danganronpa AnotherEpisode Cover.jpg
Cover art, featuring Monokuma (bottom), and silhouettes of Komaru (left) and Toko (right)
Developer(s) Spike Chunsoft
Publisher(s) PS Vita, PS4
Microsoft Windows
  • WW: Spike Chunsoft
Director(s) Shun Sasaki
Producer(s) Yoshinori Terasawa
Yuuichiro Saito
Writer(s) Kazutaka Kodaka
Composer(s) Masafumi Takada
Series Danganronpa
Platform(s) PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
Release PlayStation Vita
  • JP: September 25, 2014
  • NA: September 1, 2015
  • EU: September 4, 2015
  • AU: September 10, 2015
PlayStation 4
  • EU: June 23, 2017
  • NA: June 27, 2017
  • JP: June 29, 2017[1]
Microsoft Windows
  • WW: June 27, 2017
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls[a] is an action-adventure video game developed by Spike Chunsoft for PlayStation Vita. The game is a spin-off of the Danganronpa series of visual novel games, set between the events of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair.[2] The game was released in Japan on September 25, 2014 and was released by NIS America in North America on September 1, 2015, in Europe on September 4, 2015, and in Australia on September 10, 2015.[3][4] The game was released on the Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4 worldwide in 2017.[5]

Gameplay[edit]

Komaru using a Hacking Megaphone to shoot a Monokuma enemy
Toko in Genocide Jack form, attacking a Monokuma enemy

Unlike the visual novel gameplay of the previous games, Ultra Despair Girls is a third-person adventure game with horror elements, in which players control Komaru Naegi as she tries to survive in a city overrun by Monokuma robots.[2] Komaru is armed with a megaphone-shaped Hacking Gun that can use various types of Truth Bullet, which are unlocked as the game progresses. Using the Hacking Gun, Komaru can perform various actions, such as attacking enemies, taking control of them, activating certain machinery, or scanning the environment for clues or hidden items.[6] During the course of the game, Komaru is also assisted by the first game's Toko Fukawa, who uses a stun gun to switch over to her split personality, the serial killer Genocide Jack. When the stun gun is charged up, players can temporarily take control of Jack, who can attack with razor sharp scissors. Attacking enemies fills up the "Scissor Fever" gauge, allowing Jack to perform special attacks to instantly defeat multiple enemies.[7] Monocoins earned from defeating enemies can be used to purchase upgrades for both Komaru's Hacking Gun and Jack's scissors, and various skills can be unlocked and equipped, such as extended health. The game features three difficulty settings, with harder difficulties containing less ammunition and fewer opportunities to use Jack's assistance.[8]

Plot[edit]

The game takes place half a year after the events of the first game, prior to the events of the second game. Komaru Naegi, the younger sister of the first game's protagonist, Makoto Naegi, has spent the past year locked inside an apartment complex in Towa City, unaware of the events that have gone on in the outside world. She is suddenly forced to flee when she was attacked by deadly Monokuma robots and comes across Future Foundation member Byakuya Togami, who gives Komaru a special Hacking Gun that can fight against the robot and orders her to escape the city. However, Komaru's escape fails and she is captured by a group of elementary-school children known as the Warriors of Hope, who seek to create a utopia for children by murdering all the adults with their robots. They force Komaru to join their "Demon Hunting" game and drop her into the city, where she is saved by Homicidal maniac Genocide Jack, who soon reverts to her true self, Toko Fukawa, a survivor of Hopes Peak High School. Toko can now control Jack through the use of a stun gun. Learning that Byakuya may have been kidnapped by the Warriors of Hope, Toko agrees to team up with Komaru to find Byakuya and escape the city. Along the way they encounter a resistance group, run by Haiji Towa, and meet a white bear robot named Shirokuma.

As Komaru and Toko go on their journey, fighting against the Warriors of Hope and encountering much despair along the way, they learn that the Warriors of Hope are in worship of Junko Enoshima, the Ultimate Despair responsible for bringing about the end of the world, and seek to create a successor. Confronting the group's leader, Monaca Towa, and defeating their advisor Kurokuma, Komaru is given the choice of destroying the Monokuma Controller, which would stop all the robots but at the cost of sacrificing all the children wearing Monokuma Kid masks. Monaca then reveals that her goal is to turn Komaru into the next Junko Enoshima, trying to coerce her into destroying the controller by allegedly revealing her parents were killed. However, Toko, having learned a great deal from travelling with Komaru, slaps some sense into her and together they overcome despair in order to defeat an out-of-control mech. As Monaca is inevitably rescued by Nagito Komaeda, who encourages her to become the next Junko herself, it is revealed that both Shirokuma and Kurokuma were controlled by the real Junko's AI, who has Izuru Kamukura carry out the next part of her plan. Meanwhile, after rescuing Byakuya, Komaru and Toko decide to stay behind in Towa City to help out those who need it.[2][9]

However, if Komaru chooses to destroy the controller before learning its true purpose, the Bad Ending is triggered and all of the Monokuma Kids are killed as their masks explode. Komaru becomes the hero of the resistance, but she feels extremely guilty for what she has done.

Development and release[edit]

With the two previous entries in the Danganronpa series being visual novel adventure games, members of Spike Chunsoft wanted to develop a spin-off game that was more action oriented.[10] One of the proponents for a spin-off game was series writer Kazutaka Kodaka;[11] he had wanted to write a story of two characters running away from despair, and he felt that the easiest way to do this was through an action game that necessitated movement.[12] When Spike Chunsoft green-lit the proposal, they let Kodaka have free rein to write the narrative for Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls.[13] Kodaka stated that he spent an equal amount of time writing the dialogue and backstories for the protagonists as he did for the antagonists.[14] One aspect of Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls that the development team was worried about was whether the shift in gameplay genres would alienate players who were not good at action games. They decided to add the mechanic of switching between characters, as Genocide Jack would make the game significantly easier.[13]

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls was announced at a Sony Computer Entertainment press conference in September 2013, where the first gameplay trailer was shown; the trailer also teased the third entry in the series.[15] It was then released in Japan on September 25, 2014.[16] To promote the game, Spike Chunsoft offered several pre-order bonuses, including digital wallpapers, mousepads,[17] and a smartphone stand.[16] Additional merchandise such as Monokuma stuffed toys and an armband were also offered at Comiket.[18] NIS America localized and published the international versions of the game.[19] It was released in North America on September 1, 2015, in Europe on September 4, and in Australia on September 10.[20] NIS America offered a limited edition of the game, which included a concept art book, the game's soundtrack, and other collector's items.[21] NIS America released the game for PlayStation 4 in North America and Europe in Summer 2017.[5]

Other media[edit]

The game has received two manga adaptations. A manga by Machika Minami, titled Zettai Zetsubō Shōjo: Danganronpa Another Episode: Genocider Mode, began serialization in Kadokawa Shoten's Dengeki Maoh magazine from January 2015. A second manga by Hajime Toya debuted in Kadokawa Shoten's Famitsu Comic Clear magazine in February 2015,[22] and will be serialized until July 2017.[23] Two comic anthologies by various artists were released on January 24, 2015 and May 25, 2015 respectively.[24][25]

A Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls mobile app featuring Komaru was released for Android in Japan in August 2015. The app allows users to manage their smartphone files and cache, and Komaru's expression will change depending on the amount of storage used.[26]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic72/100[27]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid6.5/10[28]
Famitsu35/40[29][30]
Game Informer5.5/10[31]
GameSpot7/10[32]
Hardcore Gamer4/5[33]
VentureBeat85/100[34]

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the game received an average score of 72, based on 35 reviews.[27] The game sold 70,596 copies within its debut release week in Japan, and 85,930 copies in two weeks.[35][36] The Steam release had an estimated total of 32,000 players by July 2018.[37]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Known in Japan as Zettai Zetsubō Shōjo: Danganronpa Another Episode (絶対絶望少女 ダンガンロンパ Another Episode)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Famitsu scan February 21
  2. ^ a b c "Danganronpa: Another Episode Features More Characters From The First Two Games". Siliconera. 2014-06-23. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  3. ^ "Danganronpa: Another Episode Japanese release date set". Gematsu. 2014-06-24. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  4. ^ "Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultimate Despair Girls release set for 10th of September, 2015". EB Games. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  5. ^ a b http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2016-11-18/nis-america-to-release-danganronpa-another-episode-for-ps4/.108973
  6. ^ "Danganronpa: Another Episode's Megaphone Weapon Has All Kinds Of Uses". Siliconera. 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  7. ^ "Danganronpa: Another Episode stars Komaru Naegi". Gematsu. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  8. ^ "Danganronpa: Another Episode Has A Mode For Players That Just Want To See The Story". Siliconera. Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Danganronpa: Another Episode's main characters introduced". Gematsu. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  10. ^ Ta, Anthony (February 25, 2015). "Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls Interview". TheGamerAccess. Event occurs at 1:14. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Danganronpa: Another Episode Will Surprise Fans Says Scenario Writer". Siliconera. December 9, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  12. ^ Clements, Ryan (March 11, 2015). "Danganronpa Another Episode: Your Questions Answered". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Schreier, Jason (March 5, 2016). "A Brief Q&A With The Writer Of Danganronpa". Kotaku. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  14. ^ North, Dale (March 12, 2015). "Danganronpa writer isn't interested in creating bite-sized mobile experiences". VentureBeat. p. 2. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  15. ^ Romano, Sal (September 9, 2013). "Danganronpa: Another Episode announced for PS Vita". Gematsu. Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Danganronpa: Another Episode Introduces The RPG-Themed Villainous Kids". Siliconera. June 25, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
  17. ^ Romano, Sal (August 28, 2014). "Danganronpa: Another Episode Japanese shop-specific pre-order bonuses announced". Gematsu. Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Survive Comiket With These Danganronpa: Another Episode Goods". Siliconera. August 16, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
  19. ^ McWhertor, Michael (February 19, 2015). "Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls coming to Vita in US this fall". Polygon. Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
  20. ^ O'Connor, James (September 1, 2015). "Danganronpa: Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls launches this week". VG247. Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
  21. ^ Romano, Sal (May 19, 2015). "Danganronpa Another Episode limited edition announced". Gematsu. Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Danganronpa: Another Episode Spinoff Game Gets Manga Adaptation". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-02-01. 
  23. ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2017-06-17/danganronpa-another-episode-ultra-despair-girls-manga-ends-in-july/.117626
  24. ^ https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4758008388/
  25. ^ https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/475800854X/
  26. ^ Romano, Sal (August 11, 2015). "Danganronpa Another Episode-themed Android smartphone optimization app announced". Gematsu. Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
  27. ^ a b "Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 5, 2016. 
  28. ^ Dale, Laura K. (August 28, 2015). "Review: Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls". Destructoid. Modern Method. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  29. ^ "絶対絶望少女 ダンガンロンパ AnotherEpisode". Famitsu. Enterbrain. Retrieved August 5, 2016. 
  30. ^ Romano, Sal (September 16, 2014). "Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1346". Gematsu. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  31. ^ Juba, Joe (August 27, 2015). "Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls". Game Informer. GameStop. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  32. ^ Kemps, Heidi (August 26, 2015). "Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on August 28, 2015. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  33. ^ Estrada, Marcus (August 24, 2015). "Review: Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls". Hardcore Gamer. DoubleJump Publishing. Retrieved August 5, 2016. 
  34. ^ Newman, Heather (August 24, 2015). "Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls spins a great yarn with sometimes-awkward action". VentureBeat. Retrieved August 5, 2016. 
  35. ^ Olney, Alex (October 1, 2014). "Super Smash Bros. Slams the Competition Yet Again, 3DS Sales Drop". Nintendo Life. Gamer Network. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  36. ^ Olney, Alex (October 8, 2014). "Super Smash Bros. Takes the Lead in Japan Once Again, 3DS Sales Dip Further". Nintendo Life. Gamer Network. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  37. ^ Orland, Kyle (2018-07-06). "Valve leaks Steam game player counts; we have the numbers". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 2018-07-10. Retrieved 2018-07-11.  Complete list. Archived 2018-07-11 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]