In the last generation, the genre of Graphic Adventures was cleared on portable consoles, until then limited only to Japanese territory or to PC releases in the West.
With Professor Layton's debut of Level 5 on Nintendo DS, more and more titles of the genre began to land on our consoles, making the English gentleman a real "Open row" for a series of titles (or remakes) that attracted more and more people to games where the plot was and is all now the main selling point.
Most of Visual Ninel of Japanese mold, however, was still relegated to its own land, and limited to PSP Japanese with few exceptions, including the excellent 999 Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors on DS, which saw its "sequel" on PS Vita e 3DS, with the equally excellent Virtue's Last Reward.
One of the Graphic Adventures remained confined to PSP in Japan since 2010 it was just Danganronpa: Academy of Hope and High School Student of Despair, a title never released from Japan, except through importation or illegal methods.
The game was only the beginning of a much wider franchise: in fact, two manga and two spin-offs were drawn from it, up to giving life to a real sequel, again for PSP in 2012, and even an animated series in 13 episodes last summer.
Last October, again on Japanese soil, Spike Chunsoft offers Danganronpa 1 ・ 2 Reload, a remaster of both chapters for PS Vita, with new features and new extras.
When it seemed that even this relaunch of the series remained confined to his homeland, NIS America came to the rescue of hungry Visual Novel users and announced the location of the first chapter, promising the arrival of the second in the case Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (this is the new western title) had met expectations.
Finally, last February 14, the American launch date of Danganronpa, NIS surprised fans with the confirmation of the arrival, this fall, of the second chapter of the series.
But before worrying about this second unpublished (always on western territory ndGuido) chapter, let's see if Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc has the qualities necessary to enter the circle of high-level graphic adventures.
Welcome to the Hope's Peak Academy
Naegi makoto he is an average student, he does not excel in any field, he has no hobbies, his tastes are reflected in those of most boys of his age. You can imagine his amazement when he is accepted in the most prestigious school in his city, where to be admitted you have to be the best in your field.
Among his classmates he will find only the best, such as Junko Enoshima, theUltimate Fashionista, or the best model in the country, or Chihiro Fujisaki, theUltimate Programmer, the best computer programmer, or Sakura Ogami, theUltimate Martial Artist, a colossus over two meters tall who is said to be the strongest human being on the planet.
Makoto is surrounded by fourteen phenomena, and having been drawn by pure chance by the director of the academy, he is awarded the title of Ultimate Lucky Student, a title that for the events that will happen shortly thereafter in Danganronpa can no longer be defined as incorrect.
On the morning of the ceremony at the beginning of the year, in fact, Makoto will pass out in the hall of the school, to wake up in a dark class completely isolated from the outside world.
Upon reaching the entrance to the academy, he will meet the other fourteen elements that will accompany him in this tragic adventure, and the evil mind behind their isolation: Monokuma, an animated teddy bear that, unlike its cute and cuddly appearance, will turn out to be a real treacherous carrion.
If our heroes want to get out of the prison academy, they'll have to kill one of the other members, and get away with it during Class Trials., real trials at Ace Attorney, where young students will face off to save their lives and frame the culprit; the alternative to murder proposed by the diabolical bear and complete isolation from the outside world, spending the rest of his life in the Academy.
Obviously, Monokuma will not remain with his paws in hand, and to encourage students to do the crazy gesture, he will give them incentives, in the form of videos, letters and so on, like a real criminal mind.
Will Makoto be able to save himself and find out who is hiding behind the black and white plush? The despair and hope of our unlikely hero are obviously in the player's hands.
This is just the beginning behind the articulated plot of the title of Spike Chunsoft, who manages to entertain the player for about fifteen hours thanks to the twists, the many quotes to be found, the comic and dramatic dialogues and the incredible characters characterized to the extreme.
The strength of Danganronpa lies precisely in its stereotypical characters to the maximum, enough to earn the title of Ultimate in their field; between sportsmen, idols and nerds, the player will not be able to help but appreciate the skill of Spike Chunsoft's boys in extending the traits of each student and the evil Monokuma, dragging him into the classrooms of Hope's Peak Academy and making him become attached to more than one of cast members.
Unfortunately Danganronpa does not have multiple endings (or rather not real ndGuido) and therefore, once the adventure is over, only the extras will remain to be unlocked (or trophies if you are a completist), highly undermining the replayability of the title, which is limited to pure personal pleasure, or to games on higher difficulty levels.
No Ordinary Life
Being a Visual Novel, you will spend most of your time reading the dialogues between the fifteen protagonists or Makoto's endless thoughts; between one dialogue and another, however, the title of Spike Chunsoft offers two very different categories of gameplay.
In the phases of daily life, you will find yourself moving Makoto, with a first-person view, between the classrooms and the environments of the academy and selecting whatever catches your attention with the X button, you will find useful Monocoins, coins needed to buy gadgets from the special machine.
During the Free Time, in fact, we will be able to decide to strengthen our friendship with one of the other students, spending some time together and giving him one of the aforementioned gadgets. If it suits you, we will be able to unlock special skills that will come in handy during the Class Trials.
The investigation phases close the roundup dedicated to exploratory gameplay: even in Danganronpa, every time a murder occurs, Naegi will have to collect any evidence and clues that can be used during the trials (just like in Ace Attorney). The system remains the same as for normal exploration, ie just move the cursor over a point of interest to analyze it. In addition, we will need to talk to all the other guys, to be sure that nothing has escaped us and proceed with the adventure.
The investigation phases will end only when the player has collected all the evidence scattered around the academy, and will coincide with the start of the dreaded Class Trials.
I Class Trial they are the very core of Danganronpa's gameplay. During each process, you will face four “mini-games”, if we want to call them that, which will test your intuitive and reaction skills.
I Non-Stop Debate are the game sections most present in the process, you will have one or more Truth Bullets (bullets of truth) to choose from via L, to refute the false claims of other students. Obviously there is only a false sentence and only a suitable bullet, and as you continue in the game you will be hindered by "flying thoughts" that you can get rid of with a simple touch (feature implemented in this new version for PSVita).
In the unfortunate case you should make a mistake, a little energy will be taken away from you until the inevitable Game Over, even if almost always the correct statements are easily understood.
During the Hangman's Gambit you will have to guess the mysterious word, in a real hangman game, by selecting the letters that will appear on the screen for a certain amount of time and at the higher difficulty levels more letters will appear for less time.
Il Bullet Time Battle it is perhaps the most difficult mini-game, because it does not require intuitive skills, but a good sense of rhythm to coordinate key presses with the on-screen indicator. During the BTB in fact you will have to silence the one you are talking to (Not necessarily the culprit of the case ndGuido), who will try in every way to overwhelm your voice with screams and other statements.
In all three mini-games you can slow down time by consuming the concentration bar (by pressing the R key) and further facilitating the already low level of challenge proposed by the guys at Spike Chunsoft.
The fourth and final mini-game is the Closing Argument, where you will have to fill a comic by reconstructing the crime, thanks to a sequence of images among which, continuing in the game, there will also be incorrect events. Once the comic is complete, you will witness the inevitable animated crime scene, which will end with the accusation of the culprit.
Between one mini-game and the other Makoto will be faced with multiple choice questions, which in case of error, will cost him a penalty, while if you guess the answer you will be rewarded with a little extra energy.
The difficulty of the Class Trials is not too high, all to ensure a fluidity in the plot and not to block the player in one point, maintaining the fast pace of a real debate. Despite being simple, the Class Trials represent the real heart of the game, imprisoning the player alongside the 15 boys and urging him to give his best.
Danganronpa's graphical upgrade is especially noticeable in the static screens, where the 2D sprites of the characters stand out completely thanks to the screen OLED di PS Vita. Unfortunately, the animated run footage and pop-up environments don't show the same benefit and are simply cleaner than the PSP version.
NIS America has completely localized the game in English, voice acting included, giving Anglo-Saxon voice to all the protagonists, unfortunately the quality level is lower than the original one, where each voice perfectly characterized the character making it alive.
The music of Masafumi Takada, known to most for the music of Killer 7 and No more Heroes, close the circle and give further entertainment, which goes beyond the game, anchoring itself to the player's brain.
Danganronpa is a successful graphic adventure that will entertain lovers of the genre despite its ease, and will certainly attract the attention of lovers of Japanese animation.Verdict 8.5 / 10 She is prettier than me, but I kill better Comment Spike Chunsoft's excellent work finally arrives in the West thanks to NIS America, and will surely please anime and manga fans who are passionate about video games. The extreme care dedicated to the characters, the multiple quotes, and the plot full of twists (more or less predictable) guarantee a title that cannot be missing in the libraries of PS Vita owners who love the genre. The only flaw is the format: in Japan the Vita version of Danganronpa is offered with its successor included at the same price at which only the first chapter is offered by us. A sacrifice perhaps hateful but necessary to finally be able to have the excellent work of Spike Chunsoft in your hands. Pros and cons ✓ Excellent characterization of the characters
✓ Full of quotes
✓ High-level soundtrack
✓ Class Trial Funny ... x ... But perhaps too simple
x Low replay value
x English dubbing not up to the original