Review

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Written by: / / 2 Comments

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a remake of Spike Chunsoft’s murder mystery adventure game originally released for the PSP in 2010. This is the first time the game has been available outside of Japan.

What You Need to Know

Danganronpa takes place at a prestigious high school called Hope’s Peak Academy. A group of students with various specialities or ‘ultimate attributes’ are accepted into the school and upon arriving they meet a sadistic bear named Monokuma who tells them that their only way out of Hope’s Peak Academy is to murder a fellow student and get away with it.

You play as a hopelessly average teenager called Makoto who was only accepted into the school by winning their special lottery and thus becoming the Ultimate Lucky Student. What follows is a lengthy murder mystery game where you’ll need to use your wits to ascertain who the ‘blackened’ is as your classmates get picked off one by one by their own peers.

DanganronpaSS1

What’s New?

Danganronpa serves up an intoxicating blend of the social interaction of the Persona series and the courtroom drama of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney franchise. Each chapter is marked by a murder, investigation and class trial where you’ll need to find contradictions in your classmates’ statements in order to expose the truth behind each killing.

There are many novel mini-games associated with each class trial, from firing ‘truth bullets’ at weak points in your peers’ testimonies to slotting pieces of evidence into the right frame of a manga illustrating how the murder took place. After the conclusion of each chapter a new floor of Hope’s Peak Academy opens up and you’re free to explore these new locations and socialise with your surviving classmates during downtime in your investigation.

What’s the Same?

If you’ve played other visual novels then you’ll likely feel familiar with Danganronpa’s emphasis on story and character. Just like the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games, this title is fairly linear and there aren’t multiple ways to bring the killers to justice. Danganronpa’s high school setting is also common fare for this type of game but I guarantee you that it’s never been portrayed in such a twisted way before!

If you’re a fan of Ace Attorney then you’ll also feel right at home during Danganronpa’s class trials where unearthing contradictions and presenting the right evidence at the right time is the key to success.

You’ll Enjoy Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc If You Liked…

… The Persona series. Whether you’re a fan of Persona’s Social Links or its intriguing, character-driven narrative, Danganronpa offers a fresh yet pleasantly familiar experience.

… The Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series. You may not be a spiky-haired defence lawyer in Danganronpa but ferreting out evidence and contradictions in your classmates’ statements is still the name of the game.

DanganronpaSS2

What I Liked

5.) Danganronpa features a dual-audio option so if you would prefer to listen to the original Japanese dialogue then you can.

4.) The game’s art style didn’t grab me at first but the more I played the more I grew to appreciate its unique flavour which doesn’t get bogged down in one format (as evidenced by Makoto’s dream sequences and the manga element of class trials).

3.) Each of Danganronpa’s cast members is memorable in their own right and I found it intriguing to watch their interpersonal relationships play out over the course of the adventure.

2.) When you start up a new game you can choose between different Logic and Action difficulty settings. This has an impact on how challenging the mini-games are during class trials so choose wisely depending on how complex you want this element of the game to be.

1.) Danganronpa’s English localisation is absolutely brilliant and I was hard-pressed to spot a single grammatical typo or spelling error during my time with the game.

Favourite Moment

The greatest games hook you within the first hour or so and it didn’t take very long for me to realise that Danganronpa’s storyline was going to be one of the very best I would experience in the murder mystery genre. It’s hard to convey in words exactly how good and enjoyable the game’s plot is so all I can do is heartily recommend that you experience it for yourself!

DanganronpaSS3

What I Didn’t Like

- 3.) The game is linear in the sense that your actions can’t affect who lives and dies, and there aren’t multiple ways to solve each murder.

- 2.) Danganronpa’s characters are always wearing the same clothes despite the game taking place over multiple days. A few wardrobe changes here and there like you see in Persona 4 Golden would have been great.

- 1.) While Hope’s Peak Academy’s main areas are nicely detailed, the corridors and open areas you move through to get to them are very bland by comparison. Thankfully you can warp between areas of interest using an in-game menu so time spent wandering down sparsely decorated corridors can be kept to a minimum.

Least Favourite Moment

During one section of a class trial, I failed so many times that I was convinced there was some bug in the game preventing me from progressing past that point. After giving it a bit of thought I realised that I needed to use a briefly explained technique which essentially allows you to take phrases from your classmates’ statements and use them as ‘truth bullets’ to shoot down weak points in other students’ testimonies.



What’s Extra?

Besides traditional extras such as bonus artwork and a movie gallery, Danganronpa features multiple difficulty settings which you can take advantage of if you found it too easy during your first playthrough. Furthermore, if one of your favourite characters was murdered early on in the game then you may want to replay it so you can max out your relationship with them before they meet a cruel fate.

The Bottom Line

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is one of the best reasons to own a PS Vita at the moment, and if you want to see its sequel localised then be sure to tell all your friends how good it is once you’ve experienced this thoroughly entertaining and consistently surprising title for yourself!


Tags: ,