Five Reasons To Get Excited For DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - Vita -
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Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Five Reasons To Get Excited For DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Did you enjoy the tension of games like Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward? What about the quirky cast and courtroom trials of the Ace Attorney series? DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a cross between the two, keeping things tense with its kill-or-be-killed premise, alongside humorous personalities that make the mission to catch murderers less grim.

The game first my caught my eye at last year's Tokyo Game Show for its premise that was reminiscent of Battle Royale and Hunger Games, but with a twist. You are trapped in a school by a sadistic "headmaster" bear that won't let you out unless you kill one of your peers. Once a murder takes place, an investigation occurs followed by a courtroom trial to catch the murder. I've finally had extended hands-on time, experiencing the harrowing dilemma for myself. Here's what's most striking about it.

The Psychological Tension

DanganRonpa messes with your head. How much is freedom worth? Could you justify killing to prevent your darkest secrets from being revealed? As the game goes on, the sadistic headmaster introduces new motivations to get the students to kill one another. Hearing his new, bigger incentive instantly makes you wonder who will break next and kill. You're also watching students' reactions to his news. Seeing the slightest change in their demeanor is unnerving. Trials keep this momentum up as the class stands in a circle interrogating one another, throwing accusations around. You never know who has a hidden motive and is purposely trying to lure you to the wrong conclusion. Let's just say, circumstances are always tense.

The Unusual Cast

You're trapped in a school with exceptional students who are the best at their craft. Some are the standard fare like the best baseball player and programmer. Others are anything but ordinary. The best fan fiction writer jokes that he only likes 2D women. The writing prodigy has serious self-esteem issues, and she'll turn any compliment into an attack on her character. The lead of the biker gang has a short temper, just waiting for a moment to throw a punch to solve an argument. Then you have a hippie character who says he can see the future, but really he's not the sharpest tool in the shed. There's even a character called "The Ultimate Moral Compass;" he's neurotic and nitpicky about all the wrong things. These characters are intriguing on their own, but watching them interact with one another, especially under such dire circumstances, is thrilling.

Putting The Pieces Together

Expect the unexpected. DaganRonpa has some exceptional plot twists, and often you'll go into trials not entirely sure who committed the crime. But as the interrogation process begins and you spot the contradictions, you start to make connections to whose story isn't matching up. Sometimes, characters have selfish reasons for keeping information mum, especially if it's embarrassing or damaging, but that doesn't necessarily make them the killer. In fact, the trials are the biggest shockers, because you usually don't discover the killer yourself until the very last moment. Part of the fun is that moment when it all comes together - the contradictions, the evidence, and the psychological breakdowns - that bring out the shocking confessions. You're the one who uncovers it. The last part of the trial has you putting the scene of the events together chronologically in a comic book that reenacts the entire murder scene.

Learning More About The School And Students

After each trial a new part of the school opens, and it has more than just basic classrooms. Going up the steps to a new level is exciting as you never know exactly what awaits you. Maybe you spot a hidden room, or perhaps a rec center or swimming pool is now accessible. These rooms also unlock more options for murder and can reveal more clues. For instance, an expansive library holds some history to the school, but also has plenty of books to lend ideas for a murder. Every new place offers a new opportunity and lesson to learn.

The students can also be chatted up during free time to provide some insight into their lives. Remember your peers had a life before they entered this chaos; some are surprisingly normal, some will surprise you, and others won't discuss much until you gain their trust. You can make them reveal more by giving gifts from the school store. Part of the fun is showing you know them by giving the right gifts that match their personalities and interests. They want to make sure you're paying attention and actually getting to know them.

That Crazy Bear

You won't find an antagonist better than Monokuma. He gets under your skin because he's always popping in at the right moment to take away any shred of hope you may have gained. His enjoyment comes from your misery; he has that sinister, happy laugh every time he's ruining your day. While you're sitting on edge about murders, he's drinking a nice glass of wine, sitting calmly without experiencing any emotional turmoil. Monokuma has no remorse and will kill at the drop of a hat, meaning it's near impossible to break or reason with him. Don't expect to appeal to his emotions - they're nonexistent. That's what makes you strive to best him. There has to be a way to finally beat him at his own game, right?

DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc releases February 11 for the Vita. Look for our review in the coming weeks.

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  • This sounds really impressive! Makes me want to try Zero Escape that I got free from PS+. This is on my radar.
  • I hope Aksys announces a new Zero Escape this year. Virtue's Last Reward was fantastic and managed to become one of my most-played 3DS titles. Completely surprised by that one, but I loved it. Especially that they didn't just bring text, but included actual gameplay, and solid presentation (with great voicework). I hope Vita owners check out this one too; it sounds pretty similar and very interesting. That teddy bear thing reminds me of Zero from Virtue's Last Reward, and the art looks kinda Persona-ish; it's a shame they didn't go with animated 3D Models like Zero Escape did. I really hate the name, though. C'mon NIS; this is just a nonsense title. Or worse still, it sounds like a schmup - a horrible impression to give. Why not call it, "Hope's Peak Academy" or something? At least putting the name of the setting has some intrigue, some "air of mystery"...
  • So I'm getting a vibe of Persona minus the dungeon crawling mixed with Phoenix Wright. Would that be accurate, or are the characters not up to that Persona standard?
  • I really wish I had a Vita so I could play this game.
  • Why use the characters from the anime? Anyone who has watched it know who's committed the murders and the big mystery behind it. Are they going make up different scenarios and kill off different characters for this game, remake one of the old games or just follow the anime's plot?
  • Zero Escape: Virtues Last Reward is my favorite game of all time. It'd be nice if this was released on the 3DS as well.
  • the psvita looks like it's becoming the anime video game goto machine, but japanophiles could care less.

  • I'd feel more excited if A.) I had a PS Vita, lol and B.) I didn't already watch the the way, the anime is pretty cool. If you can't get the game, I'd at least recommend watching the show!
  • Monokuma reminds me of Specter from Ape Escape in a weird way

  • I've played an English translation of this game all the way through, and I have to say it's one of my favorite games of all time. It's story is very well done with crazy plot twists, and the gameplay is fun and exciting. Anyone with a Vita should definitely get this game I highly recommend it.

  • If it's a combination of Ace Attorney and Zero Escape, then I'm in. Those were both awesome games and this sounds incredible.

  • I've played the Japanese version and seen the anime, so I can highly recommend this series, especially for anybody who's a fan of Battle Royale or 999/Zero Escape. Plot twists abound, and the characters are zany and unique. I've got my copy pre-ordered.

  • You had me at 999 and Ace Attorney. I've been looking forward to this game after watching a trailer and hearing that it's somewhat like Ace Attorney. Oh, and I didn't realize that it was so close to releasing. Guess I'll have to save up my pennies for it.
  • lol you actually think that the fan-fic writer was joking? Anyways the game looks fun and if it's anything like AA, it could be worth it, especially on the Vita.

  • So in other words, it's everything that makes Japanese media awesome. God I love the Japanese, only there could they think of making a series of films that are about a Squid or a Crab that wants to be human. Also Bobobo, Bludgeon to Death Angel, or any other number of absurd Animes and shows. They are easily the weirdest and most sincere island on this planet.

  • This game looks awesome.

  • The game looks pretty interesting, I hope to try it out at some point.

  • Thanks for this feature Kim! I can'y believe I let this game slip through my radar. It sounds pretty intense and right up my alley.

  • Mod

    I have to play 999 and Ace Attorney first before I get this game even though the difference is big.

    Anyways, cannot wait for February.

  • Dont make me buy a Vita...please...stop...

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