Danganronpa 3 Confirmed For 2016, New Details Revealed

The Tokyo Game Show has confirmed that Spike Chunsoft’s Danganronpa 3 will launch next year, and though we don’t have an official release date we do have a new trailer showing off gameplay.

Famitsu reports that the third game in the series is called Danganronpa V3: A New Semester for Everyone’s Killing Life, which will contain similar gameplay as the first two games while incorporating some new mechanics like bluffing into the courtroom segments.

This time around the game focuses on a school for only the most cool students around, which will of course lead to all of the students being trapped and having to kill each other without being caught in order to escape. Just another murderous day at the school of Danganronpa.

The series will also be getting a new anime called Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak, which is aiming to close some loose ends regarding some of the previous games’ characters ambiguous fates.

It’s also worth reiterating that Danganronpa 3 will be the first game in the series to be available for both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, which is great news as it means this great series will have a *much* bigger audience to tap into now.

Zero Escape 3’s Official Title Is Zero Time Dilemma

The beloved Zero Escape series is going to be continuing next year with what will be the third entry in the series, and now we know what that entry will be called. Akysys Games and Spike Chunsoft have revealed that the official title for the game is Zero Time Dilemma.

Here’s a little snippet of what to expect from the latest game in the series:

“Building on the success of its predecessors, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Virtue’s Last Reward, series mastermind Kotaro Uchikoshi has pulled out all the stops to deliver the most compelling and mind shredding gaming experience ever seen on a handheld platform. Choice is your only method of salvation and your only means of escape. How much of your humanity will you sacrifice to earn your freedom? As a new age of ruin looms large on the horizon, you must make impossible decisions and weather unimaginable consequences as you straddle the line between absolution and damnation.”

Oh, and you should start planning your escape now, because Zero Time Dilemma will launch in the Summer of 2016.

Zero Time Dilemma

Danganronpa 3 Announced At TGS 2015, Coming To Both PlayStation 4 & Vita

The awesome Danganronpa series continues, as Spike Chunsoft announced at Tokyo Game Show 2015 that Danganronpa 3 is on the way.

Interestingly enough, this new visual novel will be releasing for PlayStation Vita AND PlayStation 4, which marks the first time the series has appeared on Sony’s home console. It makes sense, as it means a LOT more people have a shot at experiencing what will more than likely be a sweet game.

There’s no news on the release date for Danganronpa 3 yet, but you can check out the announcement trailer for the game directly below.

Condemn O.R. Condone – Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (PlayStation Vita)

The first two Danganronpa games for the PlayStation Vita are two of my favorite games that you can find on the console, without question. Featuring characters that are *completely* out of this world and a story that constantly had my head exploding, both games are visual novels that are able to just *be* visual novels due to the strength of the writing. However, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is a spin-off that takes place between the first two games and is no longer a visual novel, but a third-person shooter. It’s a big change for the series, though it wasn’t pulled off as well as it could have been.

This time around we’re controlling Komaru Naegi, who is the little sister of Makoto from the first game. The game begins with her being imprisoned in an apartment for a year and a half, which is a result of “The Tragedy” that we learn about in the first game. After months of being alone, a Monokuma robot eventually breaks in to try and kill her, but she’s able to escape and is soon provided with a hacking gun to take on the army of Monokumas roaming the streets. And this is what the majority of the game consists of: gunning down wave after wave of variations of Monokumas in third-person combat that’s serviceable, but definitely not good enough to keep it interesting for very long.

While I have nothing wrong with third-person shooters, in a series that previously featured a fantastic visual novel experience which culminated in incredible courtroom debates, this game just doesn’t offer a good enough replacement. As you are wondering the streets of Towa City to try and escape with your sidekick Toko, the mechanics involved are pretty basic. If you see a Monokuma running at you then you stop, point your gun and aim for the weak spot in the eye. You’ll get variations of bullets that allow you to do things like make the Monokumas dance to distract enemies, knock them back so they drop their shields, or even hack into them to manipulate them into attacking other enemies. However, the controls are pretty clunky and the combat itself isn’t challenging or deep enough to really make it all that fun.

The challenge is further diminished when you switch to your sidekick Toko, who acts as a summon that you can call on to deal devastating damage in a short amount of time until her charge runs out. I rarely found myself in a position where I *couldn’t* use Toko, and when the standard boss fights came around at the end of each of the game’s five chapters I was able to beat them to a pulp with Toko without any fuss at all. It is great to be able to go nuts on a hoard of Monokumas, but Komaru’s hacking gun is usually plenty to get the job done thanks to constant ammo and health drops. It also doesn’t help that the taking on hoards of Monokumas gets repetitive after a while, even if the game does offer up new versions of Monokumas that require you to take them out with slightly different tactics.

Fortunately, the game is able to throw in some puzzles that will actually require you to use your head if you want to get through them in one go. There are dozens of rooms you will come across that will have Monokumas lined up in various position and you need to figure out a way to take them all out at once. These rooms can be very tricky to figure out, and result in what is probably the most satisfying gameplay element that Ultra Despair Girls has to offer. Other little puzzles are strewn throughout the game that will require you to figure out passwords to move on, and one in particular towards the end really had me stumped. I wanted to just kick down the friggin’ door because I was being an impatient idiot, but eventually I figured it out and I stopped crying. It was these brief moments that gave me the sense of victory that the first two games regularly did, and I loved that.

While the new gameplay elements don’t really shine through very well in this game, it is thankfully elevated quite a bit by another fantastic story and characters. Komaru and Toku’s bond that grows throughout the game results in some really funny and heartfelt movements, even if it does get a bit too cheesy at times and made me want to projectile vomit. Apart from them you have the Monokuma kids and leaders, who are all determined to kill all of the adults in the world and create a children’s paradise. The bat-shit crazy aspect of the first two games is perfectly replicated here, but the fact that a lot of it now involves children creates a creepiness that even goes beyond those first two games.

The story is also crucial to the first two games, as it sheds a ton of light on the overall story arc and provides plenty of revelations on both the game that comes before and the game that comes after it. It all culminates to a finale that, while maybe not as mind-blowing as the first two games, is still the highlight of the game and featured several twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. You never really *know* what’s really going on in a Danganronpa game until the end, and I was glad that I hadn’t had everything figured before the ending game.

While Ultra Despair Girls isn’t on the same level as the incredible Trigger Happy Havoc or Goodbye Despair due to the shift in genre, it’s salvaged thanks to another great storyline. You really feel like you are in a world that is completely off its hinges, and the dread of walking through the streets and seeing Monokuma kids dancing around the dead bodies of adults is something that chilled me more times than once. However, these moments are unfortunately mixed in with run-of-the mill third-person shooter gameplay that just isn’t a whole lot of fun when all is said and done. Still, if you were invested in the storyline that the first two games had to offer then you won’t regret playing through Ultra Despair Girls.


Spike Chunsoft Announcing New RPG Next Week

Developer Spike Chunsoft is responsible for some of the greatest video games to come out in recent memory, including games in the Zero Escape and Danganronpa series. Now it has been revealed that they are gearing up to release a brand new RPG, which will be revealed next week as the cover story of Famitsu.

Zero Escape

As far as what series this will be a part of or if it will be a brand new IP is anyone’s guess, though the fact that the issue will have a whopping 14 pages dedicated to it means it has to be a big deal. So, I guess we’ll just have to wait until next week to see what this mystery project is all about.

Oh, and if it ends up being a Danganronpa RPG I’ll explode with joy.

Next Danganronpa Game Launching This September

NIS America has revealed that the next game in the Danganronpa series, called Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, will be coming to the USA this September.

While this game takes place in between the events of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, it will actually feature a stark shift in gameplay from visual novel to action adventure. Here’s the synopsis:

“Komaru Naegi, little sister to Makoto Naegi, has been imprisoned inside a mysterious apartment for over a year. One day, she is rescued by Byakuya Togami of Future Foundation, but the rescue is derailed by a sudden attack of hundreds of Monokumas.

Komaru soon discovers that the city has been taken over by a group of children calling themselves the Warriors of Hope. Their leader, Monaca, declares that the city will be the site of a Children’s Paradise, and to accomplish this, all the adults will be exterminated. Komaru teams up with Toko Fukawa to try to survive the rampaging Monokumas, escape the crafty Monokuma Kids, and uncover the secrets of the city.”

Even though this game will play much differently, that plot synopsis alone sounds just as amazingly crazy as the other two games in the series and I can’t wait to play it. Check out the Welcome to Despair trailer for the game below.

Condemn O.R. Condone – Etrian Mystery Dungeon (3DS)

Etrian Mystery Dungeon has a steep learning curve, but if you stick with it then I dare you not to fall in love with it.

Mashups are a fickle thing, as many times they will pale in comparison to the series that the games in question represent. However, when you can take two series and then take only certain elements that blend well with each other then you have a recipe for success. This is exactly what Atlus and Spike Chunsoft have done, taking Etrian Odyssey and the Mystery Dungeon series and turning them into a surprisingly deep dungeon-crawling tactical RPG called Etrian Mystery Dungeon.

The game operates by presenting you with a series of dungeons that contain several randomly-generated floors, and you must navigate them while taking down baddies, picking up loot and managing your team of heroes. As you move one space along each floor’s grid the enemies will also move one space, meaning that if you do nothing then the enemies will do the same thing. However, if your entire team goes down then you are shipped back to town and you will lose much of your inventory. Thus, you really need to choose each and every move you make wisely.

It’s this style of gameplay that turns it into a more skill-based, strategy affair then a typical dungeon-crawling hack ‘n’ slash, as the location of your characters and how they deal with both battles and simple traversal of the dungeons is important. Each step you take sucks up your party leaders FP (Food Points), and if that meter depletes the leader will begin to lose HP. This requires you to constantly have other members of your team take the lead to share the load, but in doing so it puts them more directly in harms way.

This leader system is also the basis of the game’s battle system, where you will control one character while the other 3 will perform actions based off of AI subsets. You need to be careful in these battles, as if you leave a weaker character unattended you may find them stupidly take on a monster they can’t handle. Thus, making sure that your damage dealers and takers are near the front of the line and that your healers and debuffers are near the back to avoid any unwanted scenarios is a must. It’s a system that is limiting in a way, but I like how it forces you to think in advance when you know a battle is coming up. If your attackers FP is running low then you should consider putting your weaker character on the front line for a bit, but be careful that you don’t run into a room with strong enemies or that character is done for.

The classes that your party consists of is also imperative, as you definitely don’t want to go into a battle with 4 of one class. This is where the game really requires you to experiment with what works best for you by giving you access to many different classes that fall into categories like warriors (Landsknecht), tanks (Defender), healers (Medic), debuffers (Hexers) and more. It’s essential to really mix it up with the classes, as I eventually found that having two melee-centric characters followed by two ranged/healing-centric characters was the best formula to not only deal damage but also stay alive. It all really depends on your style of play, and the game allows you to craft the type of gameplay that works best for you.

As is the case with many roguelikes, Etrian Mystery Dungeon is tough as nails. The enemies that you face right from the get-go will give you a run for your money and will possibly wipe the floor with you. To make matters worse, if even one of your characters fall in battle then the monster who took them down will get MUCH stronger and make your life living hell. This means that the game will definitely require you to level grind and get better gear before soldiering on to the next dungeon, though leveling in this game moves pretty quickly and never becomes tedious.

At the end of a dungeon you will usually need to take down a final boss enemy, and these battles, thankfully, utilize a more hands-on mode of gameplay. Rather than having a leader that the AI follows, you have direct control of each one of your characters. Seeing as the bosses are definitely deserving of their titles, you really can’t afford to have any kind of auto-pilot actions going on and it’s smart of the game to make that change in these situations.

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While the game may seem like a simple enough dungeon-crawling tactical RPG at first, it just continues to get deeper and deeper the more you play it. You’ll eventually get to the point where you can build forts inside of dungeons, which results in the typically randomly-generated floor’s layout becoming permanent for easier traversal. Not only that, but these forts can be used to send your reserve characters to, which allows them to gain a solid amount of experience points and level up even though they are not in your party. These forts will become imperative in the later parts of the game, as the conflict becomes more prominent and these viscous beasts called DOEs come to wreak havoc on the game’s town.

Speaking of the town, Aslarga serves as your hub world as you return from each dungeon. It is navigated entirely by menus with a general aerial view of it being displayed on the 3DS’ touch screen. Even though you don’t actually get to travel through it, the character and area details that are shown when you go to a shop or inn are beautiful. The characters all have a very charming look to them, and each one is written well enough that interacting with them is a joy. Also, the game’s soundtrack is phenomenal and extremely catchy, with the town’s main theme getting stuck in my head on several occasions. As you progress through the game the town will open up more, as you have the ability to put money towards redevelopment for several different areas that will result in more quests, weapons, armor, inventory space and more. There’s always something else for you to work towards improving in the town as you return from dungeons, and this constant variety of gameplay is very welcomed.

While there is a semblance of a narrative that ties this whole quest together, the game is more about gameplay than it is story and it works in this case. It has an old-school feel where you are just focused on overcoming the next challenging obstacle and preparing as much as you can to do that. That being said, the brief character interactions that are on display here do their job of keeping you invested in what’s going on and caring for each of the characters. It’s all a very simple premise, but its simplicity is part of what makes it so endearing.

Etrian Mystery Dungeon is a game I enjoyed more the deeper I got into it, as the initially punishing gameplay began to click and became more rewarding. The game has tons of loot to be found throughout each dungeon, regularly giving you the potential to make your team stronger and better-suited to take on the next big challenge, which is a routine that never gets old for me. Seeing as the dungeons are randomly generated, even return trips to old dungeons while level grinding end up feeling unique. There’s definitely a learning curve to be had for newcomers, but if you stick with it then you’ll eventually reap the fruits of your labor.