The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
You never really know anyone completely. We hear that phrase
all the time. Violent crimes occur, and people say the offenders never gave the
slightest indication that they were capable of such brutality. You can't know
what somebody else is thinking, and that fact is what makes Danganronpa:
Trigger Happy Havoc so engaging. You aren't certain what other characters are
planning, making you powerless to prevent the next move and leaving you
blindsided when it occurs.
Though lives are eventually at stake, Danganronpa begins
upbeat by introducing an all-star roster of the best students in Japan. They're
equipped with exceptional talents, including the top martial artist,
programmer, and baseball player. Everything looks like a typical first day of
school, until a sadistic bear takes over and announces he's locked everyone in the school and the
only way out is murder. If you kill another student and can get away with your
crime, you escape.
The premise is intriguing and harkens back to the concepts
explored in Battle Royale and The Hunger Games. This dilemma combines with
unpredictable plot twists to create great psychological tension. Essentially,
you're waiting for death, passing time by forming connections with eccentric
classmates that include a fan fiction writer, a goth lolita, and a manic
depressive writing prodigy. Then you stumble on a dead body and wrestle with
the fact that a character you know was willing to take a life and forsake
friends in exchange for freedom. You're always wondering who's going to break
next, knowing you can't prevent it - and the how, who, and why is always
Once a killer strikes, you have to face it immediately,
investigating the murder scene and dead body using point-and-click controls.
The betrayals start to get into your head as more friends meet their demise.
Not only are you losing innocent people, but must accept that someone you've befriended
is a cold-blood killer. That's hardly
the worst part though; after all murder investigations, a trial begins to
correctly select the culprit. The stakes are high, because everyone else dies
if the killer gets away. If you identify the killer, you must watch the
elaborate and harsh execution. Even when you win, it feels like a loss.
Although the trials create the tone the game is going for,
they also hold some of the weakest parts. During these trials, minigames, like
a rhythm game to break down someone's defenses and shooting letters out of the
air to fill out a phrase, progress the trial. Providing evidence, Phoenix
Wright-style, is also necessary for advancement and far superior to the
minigames. The gameplay is at its best when when you're spotting a
contradiction and presenting evidence that refutes it, rather than dealing with
obstacles that only give you answers you already know.
While the gameplay sometimes falters, the pacing is
top-notch. After trials, more portions
of the school are unlocked, making your experience always fresh. Exploration
isn't the only option; during free time, you interact with the other students
to learn more about their intricacies. The majority of these characters are
unlike any I've experienced before.
Danganronpa's murder mysteries are just that -
mysterious. I found myself constantly second-guessing what the solution to each
investigation was until the verdict was passed.
Few games keep the wool over your eyes as effectively as this dark tale.
Making a story so gripping is tough in a video game, but it's Danganronpa's
best attribute. I was surprised, captivated, and challenged by the culprit in
every case. Danganronpa proves why having an interactive experience can make
stories more thrilling, even in the context of such a bleak scenario.
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.