(Articles in the Ramble Ral section are presented “as is” with minor editing. For more information please see its section page. They will probably contain spoilers for the game in question)
I beat DangitRonpaul 2 recently (timely!!!) so let me see if I can make this short. Obviously there’s probably spoilers ahead.
Structural issues with the concept aside (why is there a Persona-like relationship building mechanic in a murder mystery game when the character could die and make you waste all your effort because they don’t give a skill until you maxed out the relationship and New game+ doesn’t matter because THIS IS A MURDER MYSTERY YOU DON’T PLAY THOSE TWICE), I think it’s much improved over the original.
(In regards to that particular criticism I made, the new Island Mode makes it easier to quickly read all the social link like scenes for completionist sake)
The one thing that comes to mind as a major improvement in DR2 is that trying to solve the murders is much more satisfying because they feel more complex and better constructed where the 1st game actually seemed to get really sloppy and the solutions kinda seem really obvious after the gender hijinks one.
However, the big thing I don’t like about DR’s murders though is that it always seems you can’t use the character’s current personalities to determine motives for murder because they’ll end up pulling something out of their arse and reveal and actually murderer X was cheated by his ex-BF character Y and that’s why he decided to murder him now (or whatever) without any form of set-up which is disappointing when you can generally solve how the murders were committed with the clues given to you, just not WHY the characters did it.
There’s a bunch of characters I like better too – standouts to me is probably Nagito who acts as the “adversarial ally” that Byakuya did in the original game, but where the latter kind of came off as kind of a moron who felt like his actions would shoot himself in the foot and be stupid decisions no matter how you look at it, Nagito’s interesting because he’s helpful but also completely messed up so the begrudging help dynamic is interesting to see play out.
On the flip side of characters I don’t expect to like but ended up doing so is Chiaki
Lots of reason for that like her title being “Ultimate Gamer” which will definitely makes a lot of people cringe on reflex but amusingly enough it didn’t really end up being a huge factor in her personalichkeit.
Also somewhat unusual for her character archetype of being the smart introvert girl is that she’s surprisingly assertive, she just makes very good decisions on when to stay back and when to step in.
I guess you could say she made a certain something of mine rise up……. <— not really but I wanted to use that joke.
For step backs I say the new mini-games are a pain in the arse. That's about it.
The most interesting thing about DR2 is that I think it's very inspired by Metal Gear Solid 2 where the writers really play around the fact that it's a sequel and actively exploits the player's familiarity with the first game by setting up very similar situations and then sucker punching you. (Spoilers) For example, the memory loss, done for malicious reasons in the original game, is instead used for non-malicious reasons in DR2 (but ended up causing problems anyway due to circumstances)
(Big Spoilers here)
Also the fact that the game takes place in a Virtual Reality world and a big part of the game’s themes is how much impact even “simulated” experiences can make an impact on “reality” even if “they’re not real”
Funny enough a VR theory was one of the things that came up when I was playing the first DR and trying to guess what direction the plot was going in, so to actually see it used in the next game is lol
It’s kind of unfortunate that the follow-ups to this series appear to be rather ill-received so it looks like they dropped the ball at the finish line – amusing how many mystery trilogies there are with a widely acclaimed 2nd entry and a poor finisher.