REVIEW : DanganRonpa – Trigger Happy Havoc (PS VITA)


PS VITA has some good Anime styled narrative games like Virtue’s Last Reward and Persona. DanganRonpa : Trigger Happy Havoc is the best of Persona, murder mystery and Virtue’s Last Reward which gives PS VITA another amazing Game. DanganRonpa is a gem on PS VITA and here is why. 

In DanganRonpa : Trigger Happy Havoc , players adopt the role of Makoto Naegi, an average student who is given the opportunity of a lifetime. He is invited into this Ultimate institution – Hope’s Peak  filled with Ultimate students. The reason he is invited there because he won a lottery and now is the ultimate lucky student. He takes his chance and enrolls himself in the Institute. Entering the institute he soon realises that there is something wrong and he is not that lucky.

After entering the institute and having been drugged, Makoto finds himself in a classroom with  windows covered by thick sheets of metal bolted to the frame. When Makoto spots a monitor and camera he realises that something is terribly wrong here . Makoto soon finds out that he is trapped with other Ultimate students in this institute. Soon after he meets the reason behind the ordeal that is happening – a monochromatic bear named Monokuma, who proclaims himself as the principal of Hope’s Peak. He lets the students know that they are trapped in this school, and will live there forever. There is only one way out of the school- kill a student and don’t get caught.

Upon committing a murder of a classmate, a candidate becomes “blackened” at which point a trial is held. If the student cannot determine who the murderer is or gets it wrong then they will all die, allowing the culprit to walk free. Guess it right and the killer will get a fatal punishment by Monokuma.

The interesting part about DanganRonpa is that when Makoto do discovers the reasons behind a murder and they actually make sense. They’re not a random act of violence used to move the plot along but due to another characters snapping or being manipulated by others into taking action. Someway or the other the victims do bring the fate upon themselves and are the partial reason for their death. Other reason being murderer just wanted to be free or in rare cases pure evil.

DanganRonpa is filled with large text of dialogues, which help in story progression and also makes you familiar with other students. When not reading through text boxes, you’ll either be wandering the halls of Hope’s Peak academy or engaging in class murder trials. The former is done in 3D with players using the analog sticks to navigate. Once you have entered a room, you will only be able to interact with objects and look for clues for the trials.

When you enter trials, it is whole another ball game. The first phase of a trial is the Nonstop Debate. In these, the player uses Truth Bullets- evidence found in the investigation- to strike down contradictions in the other students’ statements. The trials are constantly moving, and you need to pay attention and think carefully to shoot the correct statement. After a Truth Bullet counters a lie or slip-up, there is a break where the students discuss what really happened. Trials also contain various mini games, including beat-matching, hangman, and a final sequence where Makoto puts together an outline of the whole case in the form of a comic. These Class Trials are engaging and last a long time and never let down in excitement part.

DanganRonpa also features a solid Manga art-style which never really gets old despite visiting the same locations and characters over and over. The background music also helps a atmosphere which goes well with the game. Voiceovers are only present in class trials. Soundtrack of DanganRonpa is one to cherish. It features catchy beats and doesn’t ever get old throughout the game.  Every song fits the moment perfectly and adds to the experience. Sad scenes are met with somber pianos and violins. Happy moments are met with jazzy tunes. The game also looks sharp on the Vita. Every character is designed really well with highly diverse personalities. The school itself looks great as you traverse through it in first person view.

Makoto makes a great protagonist and has his own personality. In the game, Makoto interacts with the other students and makes bonds with them during gameplay in Daily Life. Events unfold before you and the story develops. After these events, Free Time occurs, allowing Makoto to spend time with whoever he chooses in conversations.

What DanganRonpa achieves to do in terms of storytelling and character development is amazing. In DanganRonpa you not only feel grief at the death of fellow characters but also plot murders and sometimes have sympathy for the killers killers.The game often uses these as cliffhangers between segments to keep you hooked, and they work to great effect. For the time I played DanganRonpa, it rarely escaped my mind. There’s twists at every turn and they all were more surprising than the last.

DanganRonpa supports 38 trophies (27 Bronze, 5 Silver, 5 Gold, 1 Platinum) and carries a price tag of $40(Rs 1899). DanganRonpa is a master piece and should find a place in every PS VITA owner’s library.


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