Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Review

Danganronpa

Hope’s Peak Academy, the sign of hope for the entire world. The school is full of the best of every field, and only those “Ultimate” students can enter the school.

People such as the Ultimate Baseball Pro, Ultimate Programmer, and the Ultimate Moral Compass all come together at this school to show off the true hope for the future. But when all the students fall into a state of despair, it causes chaos throughout the school.

Will they keep their hope to go on, or will despair take over and cause the end of their school life?

Contains minor spoilers for the first half of the game, so tread carefully if you plan on playing the game.

Story

After receiving a letter from the Hope’s Peak academy, entirely average Makoto Naegi is asked to join the school as the Ultimate Lucky student because he won a raffle for the school.

He does research on some of the people going to the school and when he arrives, he is immediately thrown into a prison of metal covered windows and cameras everywhere, guarding him and the 14 other students that became locked in the school.

Obviously confused, they all head to the gym to discover their headmaster, a mechanical teddy bear named Monokuma.

Monokuma labels himself as the reasoning the school is locked up, and that it is to cause despair to all the students.

After hearing the anger and fear of the students now realizing they are trapped, Monokuma tells about the one way that a student can graduate from Hope’s Peak Academy; you can leave the school if you murder another student and get away with it.

monokuma

After days in the school, the first murder occurs and the first class trial begins, where the various remaining students argue and persuade to find who the “blackened” is.

If they guess right, the person is executed and their school life continues. If they are wrong, however, everyone else gets punished and the one who betrayed the class can graduate.

Anymore would turn into heavy spoilers for the game, but as the story progresses, the characters attempt to uncover the mystery of the mastermind, and the school that surrounds them.

Characters

The characters found throughout Danganronpa contain about everything that you’d expect from a whole class of high school students, allowing everyone to find a favorite in the mix of Mondo the Biker Gang Leader, Chihiro the Programmer (my personal favorite), and Kiyotaka the Moral Compass.

All of the different characters allow anyone to find a character to appeal to, whether you love the rebel characters, the cute goofy ones, or the characters that are just mean for no good reason, if you like that.

makoto

Throughout the game, you experience free time, which can be spent hanging out with the other students. You can give them gifts, and learn new things about them, developing them more as they go on.

These events can give you special skills to use in class trials such as more time per segment, or helping you concentrate better.

The game uses the bonds you build with characters both with and against you, almost always making you worry that your favorite character may be the next killer, or the next victim.

Music

The music in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc covers so many different fields and circumstances, that the theme can’t really be decided, but it makes all of the music very well.

Tracks that seem to have entirely different themes work together incredibly well, causing pieces like Trigger Happy Havoc, Class Trial (Chaos), Welcome to Despair, and Super Btb to fit into their respective parts of the game so well, that it feels like your emotions are being shifted around by the game simply having a small amount of background sound.

Gameplay

This will explore the two different areas of mechanics. The main game mechanic is walking around the school, talking to other classmates, and the investigations, which are done by a single system of walking from room to room in the school.

A fully developed map of the school can be traversed with people that you can talk to constantly changing places through the building.

One problem with this system of walking is that it suffers the same flaw as some virtual novels with similar mechanics to this, in that the people do not actually move, only being still images that are in the environment.

This disconnects the characters from the player, however the game attempts making up for this through detailed cinematics and pictures that can send players back to feeling connected in the environment.

mondo

The investigations take this mechanic to the next level by allowing the character to gain Truth Bullets from the environment. These Bullets act as the evidence that is collected for the murder trials, and can range from physical evidence, to the account of a fellow student.

This info is then brought into the trial where it can be used to argue for innocence or guilt alike.

file 5

After the investigations, the game heads into the class trials. In these trials, there is a set of different styles of “games” where the information is revealed in trial that leads to the accusation of a guilty party.

The most notable part of this is Nonstop Debates where the characters talk back and forth very fast and the goal is to use your Truth Bullets to destroy any fake information that you find in the game.

These mechanics all develop as time moves on, and become more and more difficult, such as having to swap through multiple bullets, and remembering the words that someone uses to destroy other fake information.

The game uses these mechanics very well, causing a fast-paced battle that can trick up some players very well, making the game challenging even in the late game.

Altogether, the mechanics throughout Danganronpa make it a very fun game, with some tricky clues to find in the world, and even more difficult mysteries to solve.

Overall

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a very special game of its variety. It employs some mechanics that are completely out of nowhere in a game such as itself.

The visual novel category has very many unique games, but not nearly enough can hold the standard of suspense and terror that is offered in Danganronpa.

This game can hold someone tense for the entirety of a trial, eerie of the despair that is taking hold, only for hope to come out of nowhere and free the player and characters alike. This game also has the ability to do the opposite, turning a peaceful event into pure fear and despair.

The true question is, will you succumb to despair, or hold your heart full of hope for the future? Only you can find out, and I very much recommend this game to anyone who wishes for a deep story, with many different mechanics that can blow near anyone out of the water.

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