I can’t stress enough how much I’m loving all these Japanese video game franchises we’ve been getting so far in 2017. Yakuza 0, Gravity Rush 2, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue have all been fantastic. Nier: Automata and Person 5 are also on my list to try. For those particular titles I had some background knowledge about them, I wasn’t going in totally blind but when Danganronpa 1-2 Reload showed up in my inbox for review yesterday afternoon I had no idea what to expect.
I’ve only had Danganronpa 1-2 Reload for less than 24 hours so this is far from my full review but I will share with you what I’ve experienced after 7-8 hours of play because this is a weird game. Think of it as Battle Royale with a talking bear named Monokuma. I’ve you’ve been in a Hot Topic recently you might recognize his creepy face.
Some of you might have played Danganropa 1 and 2 on the Playstation Vita but this totally flew under my radar. The PS4 version includes various enhancements and some new content.
After my short time with the game, I can tell you that I’ve been missing out on a damn good game. That’s if you like text adventures. HLTB.com lists Danganronpa 1 as around 24 hours long. 24 hours of you clicking X and reading through text. If you are ready for that then Danganropa is going take over your life. I thought it was more of an RPG like Persona and was greatly shocked, but I’m loving it.
I’ve only had time to check out Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, which is set at Hope’s Peak Academy, a prestigious high school reserved for the nation’s “ultimate” students. Things get a bit twisted when the academy’s students find themselves trapped inside with Monokuma, a maniacal bear who has taken them all prisoner to play his deadly game of despair.
Essentially to live and “graduate” students must kill each other and not get caught by their peers. So far I’ve lost a few students including my soul mate and felt utterly despaired. The word despair is used a lot in this game. It’s not a game full of cheer and joy. It’s a really twisted, fucked up experience that had me clicking the X button until 5AM.
When a student body is discovered, a “class trial” is held, in which the remaining students must discuss amongst themselves who the murderer is. If they can successfully figure out who murdered the victim, the culprit alone will be executed. However, if they guess incorrectly, the culprit will be able to leave the school and everyone else will be executed. That’s a lot of pressure.
There are two main styles of game play in the Danganronpa: School Life and Class Trial. School Life follows a standard visual novel style as players explore the school grounds, converse with characters and move the story forward. During the games ‘Free Time’ sections, players can choose to interact with a character of their choice, learning more about them and earning new skills that can help them in the Class Trial. School Life is divided up into two sections; Daily Life, where the story simply progresses, and Deadly Life, where players must search for evidence relating to a murder. I spent my time impressing the girl of my dreams and than she died. Now I’m back to being a weird outcast loner. Don’t be like me.
The Class Trial is the main gameplay mode of the series, in which students discuss amongst themselves who the culprit is. This involves various different types of mini-game, the most common of which is the Nonstop Debate. Here, characters will automatically discuss the case, and it is up to the player to spot contradictions in their statements and shoot them using “Truth Bullets” containing the corresponding evidence. Other gameplay types include shooting letters to spell out a clue, using rhythmic button presses to argue against a specific character, and constructing a comic strip depicting the events of a murder. I really like these Class Trials. They keep you on your toes and our a nice break from all the dialogue.
You take the role of the Makota Naegi, pictured above in the top left corner. Those other 14 students are going be come your friends and enemies depending on who you side with. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few of them get taken out. I’m looking at you Yashuiro Hagakure. Hey, a guys gotta graduate ok?!
The only game I can really compare Daganronpa too is Ace Attorney, though this has a bit faster gameplay. I’m looking forward to diving back into the game and seeing who dies next, and really how much my choices and friendships affect the outcome of the game. I have a feeling I’m going get killed off sooner than later. Hopefully my gifts will win over some friends who will have my back when the school becomes an all out bloodbath.