The sequel to one of Kotaku's favorite games of 2014, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair launched just seven months after its predecessor. In that short of a time, NIS America managed to localize another great game. If that feat alone weren't impressive, the game itself is actually really good, even if you don't like the visual novel genre.
Danganronpa 2 follows the familiar visual novel formula - talk to characters, uncover story elements and use gained knowledge to progress forward, that much isn't new. What is new here, however, especially to those that aren't very experienced in the genre, like myself, are the exploration elements.
At various points throughout your adventure, you can explore 3D environments in search of clues. It's a nice touch that makes the whole game feel a bit more interactive. The meat of the game is this: the students of Hope's Peak Academy must kill one another. If they get away with it, they graduate. If they don't, well, they're killed themselves. Each chapter has you solving one of the murders using the information you collect.
The game's dialog is well-written and the clues don't come off as beat-you-over-the-head obvious, so you'll actually end up thinking as you try to go through. Danganronpa 2 also does a great job of providing an incentive for talking to other characters outside of the main investigations. As you become friendly with your classmates, you'll unlock abilities to use in trials, and they're definitely helpful.
Game mechanics are pretty much secondary in visual-novel-style games however. What really matters is the story, and Danganronpa 2's mysteries will lure you in and hook you immediately.
If visual novels are your thing, then you owe it to yourself to give Danganronpa 2 a look. You won't regret it.
For a more in-depth look at Danganronpa 2, check out Kotaku's full review here.