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Posted by moonhead on Oct 13, 2014
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc – PS Vita

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc – PS Vita

Is Danganronpa another quality title to add to the recent glittering PS Vita catalogue or just weird a Japanese game with a weird name.

This is without a doubt a true piece of Japanese gaming weirdness with a cast and storyline as strange as its title. The game is a little like a strange mash-up of the visual novel games like 999/Virtues Last Reward and the Ace attorney series and the RPG weirdness of the Persona series. But in truth despite the references to these titles its very own strange beast.

So lets start with the story which is quite controversial, hard-hitting stuff and typically Japanese. You control Makoto who has been given a place at the best school in the country called Hopes Peak. To attend Hopes Peak you have to be the Ultimate at something so in the new intake of 15 students you have the Ultimate Fashionista and Ultimate Baseball player and so on. Danganronpa 4Strangely Makoto is the ultimate in nothing and gained his place in a lottery, so he is the Ultimate lucky student. However once in the school it soon becomes clear that not all as it seems and you being detained with the other 14 students. At this point you are all confronted by Monokuma the maniacal robotic bear headmaster who informs you are now trapped in the school and to graduate and leave you have to murder a fellow student and get away with it in a class trial.

The game plays a little like a text heavy point and click with you moving freely around the school talking to your fellow students there is some voice dialogue but it is mainly text. This is until the first murder takes place and then the game goes into trial mode and you try to gather all the pieces of evidence before going into the Class Trial. These class trials are the home of the more traditional gameplay elements with mini games. The best parts of these are the trials are the live debates which have you in a first point view using the evidence gathered to fire truth bullets (yes Truth Bullets) at text scrolling across the screen. These sections can be a little trial and error in how you use the evidence but are among the most enjoyable element of the game. Fail in these trials and the ultimate is free to leave the school and the remaining students get punished but if you succeed the Ultimate on trial gets killed by Monokuma in typically grisly horrific fashion linked in some way to their Ultimate ability.

Danganronpa 3The presentation is fantastic with wonderfully weird anime graphics full of colour and attitude. The story and script are tightly written and humourous and the spoken dialogue is of a high quality to. Considering this is a dialogue heavy game the translation is top-notch and manages to convey the weirdness, horror and humour.

As for the game it’s very linear and poorly paced. There is no deviation from the path and even though you are free to move around the school you are tightly lead the right way. The pacing is awful in places especially the opening prologue part of the game and up to the first murder takes an age. The constant repetition of written and spoken dialogue really begins to grate very quickly especially as you need to keep characters repeating themselves so you can challenge sections of their text. The quality writing helps but even this is then let down by the usual Japanese gaming stereotypes in the games cast.  Although the game does genuinely surprise in places you can guess most of the time where it is heading even in the trials.

In short the game is just not for me the pacing and repetition of dialogue just switched me off. This is not to say the game is bad at all and in fact I am sure that there are plenty out there who will love it just for the quirkiness and outrageousness of the script and setting. In fact if Drew was reviewing this I reckon you Danganronpa PSV 2could add two more points to my score but in the end it just did not float my boat.


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