Also available on PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Windows, OSX, Linux, Android, and iOS
I decided to play through Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc on the suggestion of some of the folks in the Racketboy Slack chat. I'd picked up the PS4 port of the first two games not long ago, and they all said it was totally my type of game, so I figured I'd give it a shot. While I was interested right from the start, it did take me a little while to really "get into" the game. Once I did, however, I got more and more intrigued as time went on, staying up past midnight on multiple occasions to see the end of that chapter or class trial - something I've not done with work the next day in six or seven years.
Danganronpa is a visual novel similar in many ways to Corpse Party; most of the narrative is delivered through the standard visual novel dialogue, but there is no small amount of exploration, puzzle solving, and mystery unraveling that you must do as well. The basic premise of the game is that you're in a school for "ultimate" students - the Ultimate Pop Star, the Ultimate Baseball Player, the Ultimate Writer, etc. The only problem is that you're trapped in the school by a psychopathic bear, and the only way to "graduate" and leave the school is to kill one of your classmates and not get caught.
One of the first things that attracted me to the game early on was the memorable and diverse cast of characters. This is also one of the things that broke my heart early on. I started referring to the game with my friends - and aptly so, I believe - as Trust Issues Simulator 2017. As soon as I start to feel like I can trust a character, he or she stabs me in the back; as soon as I find a character I really dig and pick her as a waifu, she goes off and gets killed. This game is a lot like The Walking Dead in that it goes out of its way to play with my emotions. Unlike The Walking Dead, however, the storyline and characters were enough to keep me playing despite the emotional abuse (I quit watching The Walking Dead after three or four seasons because the emotional cost began to outweigh the benefit).
The core of the "gameplay," however, is not the visual novel aspect but the mystery aspect. I've not played this series (a travesty, I know), but I've been told that it's very similar to the Ace Attorney series in this regard. Whenever one of your classmates is murdered, you have to investigate the murder scene and the available areas of the school to uncover the culprit because a certain amount of time after each murder is a class trial; if you correctly determine the murderer, only that murderer is punished (read: executed in an increasingly horrific fashion), but if the group comes to an incorrect judgement, the murderer is allowed to leave the school while everyone else is killed in some unspeakable way. Being an oblivious dolt, I was utterly rubbish at this part of the game. As with most games, however, my pure trash-itude did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying it. If anything, the investigation and trial parts of the game were what kept me playing despite how terrible I usually was at them.
When I was told that this game was right up my alley, I went in expecting there to be some amount of waifu seducing. While you certainly have a few waifus to choose from (though you'll never know who lives and who dies until you've finished the game), and you can spend some free time with each character to build up your relationship, there's not much actual "waifu" aspect; you don't get any substantial dating sim aspect until you clear the game once and unlock "School Mode." That's not to say that spending time with your classmates is useless, however; you can unlock skills that you can equip and extra skill points to help you in various ways during the class trials.
I wasn't sure how to feel about Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc at first, but Bogus kept telling me how much of a "me" game it was, so I stuck with it, and I'm extremely glad that I did. I've played through a lot of visual novels - it's a guilty pleasure of mine - and while I'm not sure I can say that this first Danganronpa game is my favorite, it's definitely the most intellectually stimulating one that I've yet played. If you're not into games that are largely very passive and text based, this may not be the game for you, but if you like games that really make you think and uncover secrets and mysteries, then this definitely needs to go on your queue.
My Rating - 5 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.