From the developers who brought us 999, comes Dangan Ronpa. The story follows Makoto Naegi as he starts his first day into Hope's Peak Academy, the most prestigious high school, filled with Ultimate (Super High School Level in Japanese version) students. Each student has a special talent/skill that makes them the best of the best in their respective skill/talent. Before Makoto knew what was happening, he wakes up in a classroom with everything barracked and sealed in. What seems to be an elaborate opening ceremony on the first day of school soon become a deadly game of despair.
Dangan Ronpa is a visual novel with class trials consist of mini-games. Available only on PSVita.
Every character is a strong stereotype due to their ultimate skill/talent and are pretty cliche in nature but don't let that fool you into thinking they're all going to be boring. In Free Time mode, you get a chance to talk to each individual and learn more about their back story and what they are thinking especially after being place in such a desperate situation.
At first I wasn't too fond of the art, but once you start playing, it really blends well into the 2.5D popup art. The bright colors and neon pink blood all mix really well together, and really pops out when playing on the PSVita Phat. I can't say how Dangan Ronpa will look on the new PSVita 2000. Overall, it grew on me, and now I love it. In fact, I was going crazy snapping screenshots throughout the game.
I'm going to say. I really am. I like the story and plot way more than I did with 999/VLR. For almost the entire game, I could feel the tension building as you run around the school trying to figure out what's going on and how to get out. At every chapter, you will scramble to desperately figure out who's next and who you should talk to before they might be the victim or the murderer.
The game plays a lot like first person adventure game mixed with VN elements. Think Professor Layton or even Myst. Then there is the Investigation mode, trigger after a murder, which still leaves you in first person but now requires you to gather clue much like Ace Attorney. Once you're in the class trial, that's where the mini-games begin as you go through a series of different minigames to "Make your argument" and prove who did it.
There are quite a chunk of extras in the game. It mostly consist of artworks but one extra stands out. School Life Mode, which is a What-If scenario that is unlock after completing the game. In this mode, you have the chance to learn more about each character without the fear of them dying.
Since the game is a remake of the PSP version, the controls are very similar to using a PSP (the right analog is hardly if ever used) with a few touchscreen commands thrown in. But everything you can do on the touchscreen/rear touch, can be done better with buttons.
This is a YMMV (Your mileage may vary). I found the trial aspect to be a bit of a drag only because I can figure out 95% of what happen by the very start of the investigation. So it becomes a series of playing through the mini-games until the right option pops up.
However, that's not to say this will not be a drag or easy for everyone. What may have been obvious to me, may not be so to you. If so, then you may enjoy this element of the game even more.
While the music isn't bad, it almost felt like it's on a repeat. I found the music in VLR to be far better.
Those little icons in the comic book mode, as you recreate the events. They are so damn tiny, it's hard to tell what's happening in the icon.
It's definitely a worth owning title if you have a PSVita especially if you're into the VN and murder mystery genres. Also, you have the option of selecting between English and Japanese voice acting, I've played through the game using Japanese VA. The game last around 20-25 hours, with the School Life Mode being around 5-8 hours. Also, avoid the anime until you finish the game. A lot of the tension builds up from not knowing what's going to happen next, doing so will remove a lot of the fun.
Also, be sure to check out Marsh Naylor's Review on Dangan Ronpa.
Still unsure, be sure to check out the trailer.
This review was created with Talk Amongst Yourselves' official review format.