Review: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

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when Makoto arrives for his first day of class, he suddenly falls unconscious, and when he wakes up he finds himself in a classroom within the school—with the windows barred and the doors locked. As he explores the abandoned, dirty halls, it becomes clear that something is very wrong. He and his new classmates make their way to the gymnasium, where a demented robotic bear, calling himself Monokuma and claiming to be the school’s headmaster, makes a declaration: “You’re all going to be living here from now on. If you want to go free, your only choice…is murder.”

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Pros:

  • Great anime style graphics. Explore the school in a 2.5D world. Characters will be 2D whilst the world pops up in 3D. The two work together as the characters being 2D allow you to look in every part of the room.
  • Absolutely brilliant story, It will pull you in in the very first few minutes and wont let go like a fat kid on a cupcake. Just when you think you may now whats coming next, BOOM something from left field smacks you in the face.
  • Controls can all be done via the face buttons or you can opt to use the touchscreen. Either way works really well but obviously touch screen is quicker and easier.
  • A graphic novel game style, Despite its strong graphical likeness to the Persona series, Gamers will not be expecting the game to be a game book type game. Do not let this put you off.
  • Huge roster of characters in the game, All with their own unique style and place in the game. You will son decide who you like and who you hate. The main “bad guy” is a robot panda MonoKuma who looks so badass, Think if Bender and Super Ted had a secret love child, This would be the spawn of that affair. Being raised on nothing but Chucky films and Burger King. Thats why hes such a great iconic character to have in the series. He looks scary, he only wants to inject fear into players lives.
  • The game basically eveolves around you trying to escape the school and return to your world. The problem is the evil Teddy robot MonoKuman wants everyone to kill each other. For he has said he will let anyone graduate as long as they kill someone. Already the tone has gone dark, But bring it on.
  • Each character in the game is the “Ultimate” at something. We have people like the ultimate moral compass, the ultimate baseball star for example. This gives you an indication on their skills and weaknesses.
  • The game is split between two phases, In the first phase (daytime) you have free time, this you can skip but using it allows you to free roam the school grounds, interact and learn more about your class mates. Another bonus of this is you can earn extra skills which come in to play later on. Everything you learn about a character gets filled in in your notebook. The second phase is where MonoKuma will deliver more pressure for the class mates to off each other, Moments later a class mate will die.
  • The game then branches into another territory which can only be described as a modded version of Ace Attorney. For after a death, A court style meeting is arranged. Here evidence will be seen, arguments will be had, questions will be asked and answers will be given. You are in charge of trying to work out the fact from the tat and question people. Using truth bullets you can pick apart class mates testimonials. Key words will be highlighted and shooting it with the truth bullet will destroy their story.
  • The trial breaks all of what could of been a text reading bore fest into a selection of mini games. You can play a hangman style game, A bullet truth standoff where quick button presses will see you selecting key words to fire back.
  • When interacting with characters in free mode, A purple highlighted word may appear, Hitting that will yield more information on your classmate and can help alot later on.
  • The school is a huge place and easy to navigate with thanks to a simple control scheme, coupled with the ability to bring up a mini map at any point. The map is translucent so you can simply leave it up as you roam.
  • The music is just as dark and sinister as the story.
  • Voices options allow you to select English or Japanese.
  • Tutorials will always pop up when something new is about to happen.
  • Has the handy addition that when in a room it will not let you leave until you have fulfilled the task given. This is helpful if you forget or get lost.
  • You can save at any point from the menu.
  • Notebook: This will aid you in so many ways, It will auto-fill with information you gathered from talking to class mates, it will allow you to re read any previous story elements or dialogue exchanged with others. And of course the map.

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Cons:

  • The English voice over in general is alright but a few of the pronunciations are cringe worthy.
  • The game lets you feel like you have full roam of the world and in some part that is true, But in terms of advancing the story, you are led every step of the way with no deviating.
  • The mini games whilst fun are very short and don’t get as much limelight as you would hope.
  • The pace of the game can be somewhat slow in places, The first half hour is a lot of reading and minimal button presses.

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In Summary, The game is a good one to own, Not your conventional “game” per say, It does have a right to exist. I found the game to be enjoyed like a book, Put some headphones on, lie in bed and immerse yourself into one hell of a story. Being a visual novel game, it needs a good story to stand any chance. It does and then some. The main story is dark, funny, shocking and most of all fun to read. Your crew of classmates may have a few that bug you so much you want to punch your Vita, But for everyone you hate there will be two that you love. Fans of Ace Attorney will like what the game does and new players may well have their eyes opened to a whole new genre. A worthy purchase in anyones book.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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