Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Review
Whoever murdered her raise your hand…well played, lets go over the evidence shall we
Available on: Steam/PS4/Mobile
Genre: Detective Mystery VN
Publisher: Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd.
A school especially made to house students that are the best in their field and lucky for you, the student you take control of, Makoto, was accepted as one of the ultimate students. Though the difference between Makoto and the others is that he was accepted by lottery and is an everyday man like anyone. Sadly, Makoto may not be entirely lucky as he is trapped within the school with a bear named Monokuma and the only way to escape is to kills someone and get away with it. Can you survive as an average guy surrounded by ultimates?
Danganronpa is not just a basic visual novel, but one that does mix up different play styles other than reading text. You’re able to roam the halls where students will also be hanging out and when in rooms you’ll be able to investigate items and talk to the other students, which can get you a pretty coin that you can use at the school store. If you happen to not feel like walking to your destination, you can teleport close to where you need to be at.
Once a murder takes place and you investigated the body and other necessary areas, it’s time for the trial. The best part of Danganronpa is the trials and well it has to be if it takes up a huge chunk of time. In this part of the game, everyone gathers into a courtroom and talks through to figuring out who was the killer. Taking on a gun reticle, you will be loaded with truth bullets that you can shoot down contradictions. If they mix up where the murder took place, you can shoot it down and correct them. Every so often you will have a Hangman’s Gambit which is just filling in letters for a word. Lastly, if someone gets a little too heated and you can’t contradict them normally, you will be put into a fast rhythm game called Bullet Time Battle. Once everything is sorted out and everyone knows how the murder happened and who did it, you will be tasked to put together a manga style strip that will retell everything. And well, the killer might be put to a horrible death but at least the rest of you are fine.
Between cases, you will get opportunities for free time that will allow you to hang out with someone as long as they’re alive. You will also be able to skip this, however it may not be in your favor as it not only let you know the person better, but they can give you a skill that can help you during cases. Depending on how you play, you will find these very helpful just as increasing your rate of fire.
As you can see this visual novel is a long one, the main story is around 30 hours and extra content can bring it up to 50 hours. Despite this length, it never feels like it was repeating information or over explaining something simple to pad out the time. Even when there is no dead body to investigate, you can still tell that it hangs over everyone. Each character is interesting and there is no doubt you will end up having favorites. Even if you don’t decide to spend free time with them during the main story, you still get their background and how they think in this situation as time passes. The only downside that Danganronpa really has is that Makoto can be a little stupid, which can be chalked up to trying to make the playable character more relatable.
The art is presented like all the other visual novels, but does present the dark atmosphere these students are under and is directed greatly. The death scenes are the best as they die based on their character and are equally as gruesome as it is animated for viewing pleasure. Danganronpa also offers both English and Japanese audio and it is superb. The only thing that could have been improved is how easily you can switch languages as it’s unclear till you realize that you can if you go back to a previous chapter.
After you get done with the story, that is not all you can do. There is a School Mode, also called Enchanting Dangan Academy, that unlocks after you finish the main story. Acting as an alternate universe if the situation didn’t escalate to killing others. Instead Monokuma tasks you to make his backups over 50 days, with each having a set time to complete. Your task is to not only get enough supplies to build the back-up, but manage everyone so you can get the supplies. Making sure they don’t pass out from exhaustion due to not being able to rest up, make sure the school stays clean, and put everyone in the task they excel at. As they continue scavenging or cleaning, their stats in that area will increase. After working you will get free time, giving you more opportunities to fill out their report cards than you could in the main story or go down the romantic route to get their ending in this alternate universe. All the stats you achieved will move onto new games, so don’t stress out trying to build everything your first try.
After hearing a lot about the Danganronpa series and how much some of my friends liked it, I decided to buy it and try it out. After completing the first installment, I am glad I did and I see how so many people fell in love with this series. Despite the small negatives about Makoto, Trigger Happy Havoc is one of my favorite visual novels. If you are a fan of visual novels or even just like whodunit stories, Danganronpa is definitely a game you want to check out. I can’t wait till I get a chance to get into the sequels.