If you had asked me 10 years ago if I thought a visual novel on the Psp was a system seller I’d have told you to jog on. Also I would likely want to have a look at your time travelling technology! Cycle forward to many years later and my Psp collecting dust, I look up a list of “hidden gems” and find Danganronpa.
Wowzers. Part visual novel, part action word game and part anime Saw adaptation. This game is dynamite. There’s a good reason it’s been ported to vita, PS4 and tablets. The story, artwork, puzzles and just everything is superb. I’ve explained to friends who have looked at the visual novel style and have been put off (as I was once) by explaining it’s just a means to an end, that works well with this story. It’s a “who done it” to magnificent extreme proportions. Familiar characters that are easy to learn, clever use of tropes to through you and a cracking soundtrack.
It did spawn an anime and manga series but unfortunately unlike the persona series didn’t really nail what the game was all about.
Then came the sequel. Danganronpa 2 island resort. The Vita only (at first before ports) sequel is just as good. It does start off slow and feels a little forced for the first few hours but it does find its own unique step and drives home to a simply shocking conclusion. Including an extra dating sim mini game that was added to the port of the first game after completion it’s packed with little extras. The only criticism I could find is the main character isn’t quite as likeable as the first but this is a minor complaint at best.
The spin off series Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is the misstep so far and to be fair this is largely because it’s a completely different genre from the franchise roots. It’s a push to recommend to fans but plenty of people enjoy a fairly fun action game so for them more power to ya!
Oh and lets not forget to mention the VR test demo on PS4! I’ve not personally had a chance to have a go on but I’ve still got in on my PS4 ready for the day I get a go with VR. Motion sickness be damned!
So now we get to the meat of the matter and personally my first experience of what Danganronpa can look like on a PS4 (previously only played the psp/vita ports).
So here’s a handy chart for you to follow;
Danganronpa V3 Demo Review – SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY!
Japanese audio on games like this is a godsend. I’ve had great games crushed before by terrible dub (Glares at Persona 4 Arena Ultimax). Hang on, they’ve changed Monokuma’s Voice actor? Ok this will take some adjusting, the voice isn’t as evil but the laugh is spot on. The ambient music is great but I feel like the theme music is being stretched now that it’s in it’s 3rd/4th iteration of remix.
Same system as the previous games for exploration but with new editions. The view change to interactive objects only is a nice touch and ‘smashing’ objects feels like something I’ll be using on every single area until I find 1 coin….again. Same system of progressing the story to find the next murderer. It is annoying that you can trigger the murder and miss introductions leading to a lot of “who are you? *quick google*” moments at the start.
Class Trials are mixed up this time! New mechanics added to the classic structure that I refuse to spoil but lets just say it’s something you’ll want to see for yourself.
My word the graphics are super crisp! Nice cell shading and non, mixed with 2d objects and bold beautiful interface. Definitely a big thumbs up from me here! Also the text is clear and easy to read, essentially like saying “the gunplay is superb” in an fps for a visual novel. The only thing nit pick I had was when in Class Trail mode the focus and special effects made it a little too hard to see everything going on. Still this is a minor point in a very polished presentation.
A lot of love for not starting as a guy and the little back and forth between Hajime and Makoto was ace. This whole “your the protaganist” thing is very interesting. The writing so far is definitely a step up from the start of 2, I can feel questions of what’s going on and who these people are forming! Damn you demo! Also Kokichi Oma is the most suspicious of supiciousnessly people in this game so far (well except for THAT person).
Ah this is great, hope the main game carries on from this demo… Wait… Demo?….OOOOHHHHHH!