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Danganronpa series: Trigger Happy Havoc, Goodbye Despair, Ultra Despair Girls, Killing Harmony...


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Look - another game set in a Japanese school!

uBGvhiT.jpg

Mandatory dramatic trailer:

 

Metacritic 80

 

Danganronpa is an adventure game set in Hope's Peak Academy, a school with a reputation so good that anyone who graduates from there is said to be set for life. The current year's new students are, as always, a big deal - fourteen of the most prestigious and talented youngsters from their fields, such as the Ultimate Baseball Star, Ultimate Programmer (...) and, er, Ultimate Fanfic Creator.

 

And you - Makoto Naegi. You are the "Ultimate Lucky Student" who won the fifteenth spot at the school by virtue of winning a raffle for your place. Showing up for your first day you enter the school, but find that everything is not quite as it seems... You find yourself trapped in the school along with the other new students, and are informed that the only way out is to commit the perfect crime - murder a fellow student, and don't get found out.

 

If you succeed, you're out. If you don't, things might get a little... grisly.

 

Danganronpa's been described as a mix of the social segments of the recent Persona entries, investigations like Phoenix Wright and storytelling in the mould of Virtue's Last Reward, along with featuring an idiotic animal antagonist to boot. As such spoilers will probably ruin it for everyone so:

 

USE SPOILER TAGS when discussing the story please!

 

Also buy from Grainger Games for £27 (Price correct as of 21 March 2014).

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This is pretty good, it's no Persona 4 (or even as good as Phoenix (so far) but it's definitely interesting and pretty well written with suitably OTT characters and Japanese weirdness (one of the characters is some sort of fat fanfic creator who is a huge perv).

It's got some slightly odd bits as well like the way there's a sort of rythm action segment to a part of the 'trial' that you have.

My one gripe so far is that you can't seem to go 'wrong' much like you can't in Phoenix and so on either, I'd quite like a game of this style whereby you could still continue but maybe not find everything out, or get a 'wrong' ending (a bit like VLR I suppose) because this has that automatic progression after you've done your investigations that Phoenix has. Good game generally though and would recommend it to fans of VLR or Phoenix definitely.

As a tiny little aside. I think some of the navigation could be improved as well, the FP controls are a bit weird and the way it 'loads' the room that you're in can get a bit boring

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As I've done with Virtue's Last Reward and Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, I was hoping to talk about my experiences playing the game as I played through it... but I accidentally finished it this morning.

I had a lot of fun with Danganronpa - it is the kind of game that really appeals to me. The idea of unravelling a mystery as it happens mixed with a definite feeling of having limited time available, meaning the choices you make during free time carry extra weight as you won't just be able to grind out all of the available options at your leisure.

Unfortunately as b00dles says, the story progression is super-linear. The most frustrating moment relating to this came about halfway through the game, when:

You are working on the overall investigation with Kyoko and have knowledge of a massive secret about one of the other characters. The game gives you an option: Tell Kyoko this information? Yes/No

Select Yes, and the game tells you "maybe I shouldn't do this without more proof. Yes/No"

This seems to happen until you select No, meaning it's not really an option for you to choose at all...

I'm going to spend a bit of time on some of the post-game content before going into discussions about the meat of the story, but one thing I really loved is the way you are required to traverse the school even during a lot of plot advancement - you never really know when something is going to happen so entering/leaving any one individual room gives you a real feeling of trepidation. When you have to travel even a short distance the corridors and rooms feel almost claustrophobic, and it's a genuine relief when you make it to your destination without any unwelcome interruptions.

It's not quite the same bleakness as Virtue's Last Reward, which is just grim from the start and becomes more depressing as the game goes on, but it's definitely more like Scooby Doo + Murder when compared to the Zero Escape formula. Monokuma provides some comic relief, as well as the majority of characters being fun to interact with in their attempts to try and live a normal life without going bonkers.

Will add more about the specifics of the trials later as describing them might be a bit spoilery.

I am totally on board for Danganronpa 2 (which is apparently expected later this year?), which I felt was worth mentioning in case any of the above came across too negative. There were a couple of things that I felt weren't done perfectly but they're small quibbles against a game that had me hooked for a good twenty hours, and I'm likely to chuck a bunch more time into from here.

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My gaming schedule's pretty busy at the moment (still playing TxK on the Vita and EDF/SFIV at home and there's a bunch of stuff coming this spring oh god) but it definitely sounds like something worth keeping an eye on. Sadly my DR knowledge doesn't extend past a few messages on social sites from anime nuts and a random PSP demo download from the JP store years ago (before I realised how text-heavy the games were); even so, it sounds like you can enjoy THH without knowing the whole history of the franchise.

Also someone needs to make that list of ace Vita game threads and stick it in the OP of the Vita megathread.

Also also I always get worried about these visual novel-y things and how much they punish your fuck-ups, but from looking at b00dles' post it sounds quite lenient... :D

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Yeah this is the first game in the series and is a Western Vita re-release of a Japanese PSP game :), The second is due out later in the year and whilst there is a third game in the works, its a sequel to Trigger Happy Havoc and takes place before Goodbye Despair. The producers also mentioned there will be an actual Danganronpa 3.

FWIW, this has been one of my surprises of the year. I was hooked from start to finish.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've really enjoyed Danganronpa's main game, it does a lot of things that I really liked and I'll probably go into a bit more depth about that soon.

The post-game content is leaving a pretty sour taste in my mouth though...

"School Mode" is billed as a "what-if" situation - what if the students get to school and the school isn't ready for them? Thus begins a resource-gathering exercise which feels like a glorified phone game, but also gives you an opportunity to complete all your social links after finishing the game.

You have to build clones of Monokuma, and you have 50 days to do it in. Each one you create results in you being awarded Trip Tickets, which can be spent in free time to hang out with the other characters around the school. If you take a character using a trip ticket to one of the six locations, there'll be a short dialogue and then you get three conversational options to choose from, which will go down well, or poorly, or whatever. From there you go up in that character’s estimation a set amount depending on how well your trip went. It's all very dating sim, and Monokuma is available to tell you at any time how much each character approves of you.

Do this enough times with the same character and you unlock a new section called "Trigger Happy Heart" where you seem to be able to read their inner thoughts. It's identical to the trials, only you have two bullets - Affirmation and Negation, and the trial content is the character you're with worrying about something.

It’s effectively a nice guy simulator, though the fourth or fifth time I encountered it was with Celeste, and when I answered I got a weird popup of Makoto and Celeste’s portraits with “CONSENT!” in the middle which was inexplicably hilarious.

The Trigger Happy Heart bit comes in at about 66-75% approval. Once you get a character to 100% approval, on completing the mode (which has its own, completely terrible, ending anyway) you get a little extra cutscene at the end of School Mode, and then that character gives you a present.

On the first run through this mode I only really had time to do one character as I was finishing off the social links first, so I picked Sayaka. She gave me underwear, which I guess was amusing enough. Second time through I took on four more characters - Aoi, Celeste, Kyoko and Chihiro.

They all gave me underwear. Each piece of underwear even has a paragraph describing it and speculation on why it is worn by that character.

I suddenly have no further desire to play this mode. It was a bit of a slog anyway but fucking hell.

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Ive not even touched the post-game content, I read what it was (which wasn't as detailed as your description) and it didn't really appeal, I was happy enough with the games main storyline.

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  • 1 month later...

Started this at the weekend. Early days (not got to the first trial yet), but I'm completely head over heels for the presentation. Looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous.

I love the little hop as you start a conversation with a character ^_^

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Why didn't I know this thread existed when I played through the game a few weeks ago?

Anyway, same as above really: it's a good game, and even though the trials were better than VLR's puzzles, it wasn't as enjoyable overall. Still very entertaining though, it had me hooked until I finished it, and I'll be picking up the sequel when it lands later this year. Haven't tried any of the post-game content, but it doesn't sound like I'm missing out on anything really. Needed more bear puns as well, and Monokuma wasn't as good as the rabbit in VLR. The worst part of the game though: it just makes me sad that it doesn't look like ZE3 will ever see the light of day (and I think DR has to take some blame for this).

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  • 1 month later...

I'm right near the end of this and will probably finish it tonight. I think to echo the general thoughts around here, it's nowhere near the quality of either of the Zero Escape games but it's still pretty good. I often found the trials a wee bit tedious (most of the time I had figured out the murderer a good half hour before the cast and it can be fairly boring to go through all the machinations) and the actual mechanics of the various sections all seem a little 'off'. Much prefer the gamey bits in VLR.

Still, the last hour or so has been pretty bloody mental. Plenty of KERBLAMMOs and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all comes together. I was worried that the story seemed far more straightforward compared to VLR, and although it seems unlikely that it's going to compete with that for sheer headfuckery, there's been a fair few unexpected twists and turns and it's all building to a nice crescendo. I also think the tone is pretty interesting, partway between comedy and abject horror. Just about pulls it off.

The music is completely fantastic though. Highlights for me are the 'dark scat' in the non stop debates and the 'BA-BOO-BA-BA' when Monokuma appears. ^_^

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Just finished this earlier in the week. Great game. Some interesting pop culture nods, some being Japan specific.

Totally surprised when one of the characters, Celeste, made an obscure reference to a particular manga/anime -

playing Russian roulette mahjong - a shoutout to Akagi, a pretty good gambling manga/anime

.

It's too bad that NIS America weren't able to release both games on 1 cart, like the Japanese release.

Guess splitting up the games is a good way to gauge the demand for this type of game.

Sequel is out 5th September. NISA are asking £59:99 for the special edition -

http://store.nisaeurope.com/collections/pre-order/products/danganronpa2-goodbye-despair-limited-edition

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  • 1 month later...

Spent an hour and a half with it last night. So pleased I went in completely blind...

Danganronpa 1 and early 2 (mostly character discussion) spoilers...

The fuck has happened to Byakuya?! Also, several characters have more than a passing resemblance to the survivors of the first but with different names so I'm not sure what's going on there. In fact, this makes the absence of a Kyoko and Hiro rather curious. The Ultimate Princess whose name escapes me looks a bit like Junko and the Ultimate Yakuza looks a bit like a girl, possibly mirroring the Chihiro thread in the first. In fact, a few of the characters seem like a cross between two, Ultimate Gymnast a mix of Sakura and Hina and Ultimate Mechanic a mix of Mondo and Genocide Jill.

Loving the juxtaposition in tone. No doubt it will kick off soon but being told to stay on an island and get along rather than stay in a school and kill each other is giving it a pretty creepy atmosphere.

Good first impressions. Can't wait to have some idea of what the fuck is going on.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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