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Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls: Less Adventure, More Action
Company: NIS America

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls takes what is already a rather unusual series and sends it in a different direction that shows that Danganronpa doesn't have to stick to the murder mystery structure that Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair followed.

Instead, Ultra Despair Girls actually goes for a third-person action setup that uses both shooting and melee combat mechanics. While the other two Danganronpa titles put your character in danger, Another Episode throws you in the middle of the mayhem with various forms of Monokuma hunting you down.

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls has you primarily playing as Komaru Naegi, a high school student who has been a captive for over a year. When the chaos that followed Trigger Happy Havoc broke out, she was able to escape from her strange prison, only to find herself hunted by strange black and white robotic bears that the followers of this series will recognize all too well.

Soon after her escape, she will encounter other characters that appeared in the first game, and she will be handed a megaphone-like device that turns her voice into commands she can use to hack and mess with the Monokumas. These new Truth Bullets consists of an attack that will do damage to the robots, one that will make them dance, catch fire or even put them under the player's control, but as you would expect, these are all features of the gun that will have to be unlocked as Komaru makes her way to safety.

Komaru soon teams up with Toko Fukawa, one of the students that escaped from the first game's survival/murder challenge. While Toko herself is a scared little girl, she has gained some control over her twisted killer alternate personality, Genocide Jill. When you switch to Genocide Jill, the game takes on more melee styles of combat as she uses her very sharp scissors to tear through the enemy robots. The only real caveat is that Genocide Jill is on a timer, and when the batteries in the stun gun that triggers Jill run out, she reverts back to Toko and you once again control Komaru.

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls also features some RPG and customization elements to the game. As you take out enemy Monokumas, Komaru and Toko will level up. With those levels, Toko will gain more complex (and effective) melee attacks while Komaru will get the ability to add some skills to make the Hacking Gun more useful.

While Ultra Despair Girls is much more action-centric than the other two games in the series, there is still a lot in the way of cutscenes and dialogue. As a result, the interactive graphic novel feel isn't completely lost in this game, it just replaces the investigation portions with action and survival horror aspects (especially when you've run low on ammo and you don't have enough charge to summon Genocide Jill). But the game doesn't completely abandon players that prefer to experience the story more than the action. The game will feature three difficulty settings that ramp up the amount of action the player will face. So, those wanting to run from one cut scene to the next will be able to do so with less effort on the lower settings, while those wanting a harder challenge (and less ammo) can choose the tougher ones.

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is set between the first two Danganronpa games and will hit the streets in September with an ESRB rating of Mature (it is a Danganronpa game, after all). While this game isn't like the other two, if you want a better feel for what happened before Goodbye Despair and to see how several of the first game's characters have changed after the events at Hope's Peak, then Ultra Despair Girls promises to be a good source. Look for our full review of the game soon.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer
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