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Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生

Developer / Publisher: Spike
25 November 2010
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc [ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生] - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.69 / 5.0
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5.0
 
 
1,057 Ratings / 5 Reviews
#549 All-time
#22 for 2010
Makoto Naegi is accepted into the prestigious Hope's Peak Academy, a school meant for individuals with exceptional talent, despite being an average person. Immediately after stepping on school grounds, however, he finds himself and 14 other students trapped within the school. The individual confining the group, a remote-controlled teddy bear named Monokuma, tells them that they can leave at any time... they just have to kill somebody and get away with the murder.
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As you can see I'm a hopelessly average reviewer, so it's weird that I've been picked to review what is going on at Hope's Peak academy. An academy for people who are the best at something, but the only thing I'm the best at is humiliating myself in text form. *Robotic voice* "Danganronpa." I was replaying this game and the second one in order to get Steam achievements and to refamiliarize myself with the first two games before playing Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony [ニュー ダンガンロンパV3 みんなのコロシアイ新学期]. Having more thoroughly played these games in that process I decided to review this as I feel like my first impression of the game was way off and to not hold anyone in suspense here, my opinion of the game has gotten more negative since the first time I played this and my review will be outlining why that is the case.

The music in this game is ok. I enjoy it while I'm playing the game and some of the more miserable sounding tracks like that one that plays when a person just died before a case is pretty good. I also like the free time song, for some reason whenever I hear it I think of the "Vince Mcmahon walk." Someone just has to mix these two things together. Aside from those, the music just kind of exists. The voice acting in both languages is pretty good. Obviously, the Japanese is better, but I do prefer English Chihiro, because I feel like they sound like both... Well without giving any spoilers yet, they sound like the person should be given Chihiro's particular situation.

The aesthetics of this game and by that I mostly mean the character designs are generally good. It feels like a slight rip-off of Atlus stuff and there is a lot of copying and pasting with the female characters but aside from that, I do like the character design's a lot. Throughout the series and in this game I feel like the character design keeps hypnotizing me into thinking these games have more inherent worth than they probably do. It also makes me want to like these characters more than I actually do... I'll elaborate on that later. I like some of the other aesthetic and production aspects of the game like the little Monokuma segments and the general look of the school.
The only real negative of the graphics being that some rooms can feel a bit too geometrically and symmetrically boring, like a kid who draws a room with a ruler and just starts making everything a fucking straight line with a flat horizontal view at everything. The game could have used more rooms with odd setups with a need to rotate or zoom into specific areas more. Like what we see with older "Adventure" games. Imagine being in a massive building where every room has four walls of the same fucking size and height, the shit just starts to feel repetitive and lazy after a while. When it's not feeling repetitive it is feeling unrealistic and jarring with the placement of rooms. A dojo with an open sky is on the top floor and so is a garden. They seem to open up to impossible heights given that in the same chapter we get to see a part of the school with the roof ripped off and at no point in our viewpoint do we see a massive tower that could contain all the rooms on all the other floor plus just those two alone a short distance away. We don't even see one from a stilted side view. The bigger problem though than slight spatial anomalies and things like that which could have an explanation is the fact that even though all the rooms are really squared off and boring, the aesthetics of each one don't really come together to make the school feel like a real place or more generally exhibit a style worthy of those Monokuma segments. So many of the rooms are wildly different from one another, that the fact that all of this is supposed to be in one building becomes hard to believe really fast.
The creativity of the general aesthetics is not matched by this school's lame architectural design and you might think well yeah but it's just a school dude calm down. What you may be forgetting is that this is a school for the gifted and kids that happen to be the absolute best at a certain thing and seems to be backed by multiple billionaires and government grants. Most schools that have donated buildings or can flaunt any amount of large dollars tend to have cutting-edge designs to their buildings and try to reflect the thing being taught into their designs. The most obvious example of this that comes to me is the linguistics and philosophy building at MIT.
I will say that in comparison to the next two games, one thing I do like about this game's setting is how isolated it is. I may not like the way they included everything in the school, but I like that they included everything in the school. I think the way the next few games keep adding new areas to the game becomes less and less believable as time goes on and this is one of the key advantages this first game has over its sequels. Unfortunately for this game, it is pretty much the only advantage it has over those games.

The gameplay in this game is comprised of two things, the main one being solving cases when a murder or two happens within this story. At which time you will explore the school and try to find clues pertaining to the case, most of which will be in rooms that were just recently unlocked for you and the other students. I say unlocked because at the start of the game about 90% of the school is closed off to you and more floors and rooms are unlocked after each case comes to completion. So when a case starts you gather a lot of clues within a "time limit" and then you go to trial. There isn't really a time limit, by the way, you can stand in the school unpaused for eight hours and funny bear won't kil. You then have to use the clues to try to piece together what happened in each case as the other students throw out their dumb-ass ideas and the killers give you red herrings. If you all as a group vote for the wrong motherfucker, you all die and the killer goes free. So you all sift through the evidence and testimonies in a variety of different gameplay ways mostly what amount to mini-puzzles making it slightly more interactive than a game like Phoenix Wright, but the tradeoff is none of the cases are as interesting as the ones in those games.
The second thing you do in this game is complete social arcs to learn about more of the characters. This is definitely a secondary goal for reasons I will explain for most of the rest of the review, but suffice to say here it's definitely not as important as a person would think when they first start playing the game.

One thing I don't like about the gameplay is I feel like words move by too quickly, especially later in the game when they expect you to clear white noise lines, absorb a certain word or phrase and then strike the right one. The amount of times I just narrowly missed a sentence because of the speed at which it was going by makes the game feel far more frustrating than it actually should and it isn't like it makes the game any harder since you get almost a million retries anyway.
One detail that bothered me about this game from the first time I played it and in my recent playthrough for this review, was that if you fuck up at any point in a trial, the other students immediately vote for your death. The reason this bothers me isn't that I thought we were friends and this slight against my person hurts my feelings... At least not entirely. The real reason is that it doesn't always make sense with what is happening during a trial. Sometimes you're putting forth evidence or an idea that exonerates someone else or the details you're giving in no way pertain to you or they already ruled you out as a suspect for one reason or another and yet they still vote for you. I think this happens because in typical video game logic when you personally fail, you're personally punished. 1 to 1, Mario fall, Mario dies. Most of the time that one-to-one meting out of justice makes sense, but with this game, it doesn't work because the trial setting goes against this typical video game truism. I think video game developers need to ask, even if something is a common gameplay mechanic or trope if it really fits their game and the setting they're trying to immerse you in. In this case, it doesn't and this is a mistake that carries on as the series continues.

I'm not gonna recite this game's entire story. Most of it is standard bullshit that comes with a game like this. The trials except for one particularly egregious one that I will talk about length are basically what you expect out of a game like this. Again I don't think compared to something like Ace Attorney it fares as well as that series. There were a lot of parts of those games where the mysteries of the characters were as intriguing as the small mysteries of the trials, something this game you will see has a hard time of mustering because it doesn't give you any time to care about these characters.
The main story beats are this. You start off the game going to Hope's Peak Academy. A school for gifted young adults that happen to be the best at one particular thing. So if you're like the best plumber and you happen to be in the 15-18 age range you might get an invitation to this school. You just have to be the best at something and young otherwise you have no... Hope of getting into Hope's Peak. The school is super-elite and has a great track record for success with each of these students. If you don't get to go it's a black mark on your life and your future is probably in the toilet. It's a real shock that this game came from the minds of culture from people who feel suicidal if they slightly fail at something. Average everyday morons aren't completely without "hope." They invite one random idiotic average schlub every year to be the main character of each game or to be a dumbass waste of space like "the lucky student" from the second game. The story of this game is you the average idiotic schlub are coming to the school for seemingly the first time. When immediately you're hit with sleeping gas and the game goes from being a happy first day at school to a mystery. You then have to find out more about the school and the other students. Thereafter you and the other students are tasked with trying to leave the school and the only way out is to kill another student while trying to trick the survivors into thinking it was someone else. You do this by having a small investigation period about the murder or murders that just happened and then having a small trial. If the killer is successful in misdirecting everyone else into declaring another person guilty they get to leave and everyone else is killed. If the killer is found out through the trial process then they're killed in an over-elaborate way and the rest of the students watch.
Pretty much the whole story consists of the above. As you go through trials you find out more about the students and the school. Then the game ends with a reveal that basically amounts to "I did it for the luls." Which we will talk about more shortly.

The first thing I want to say about this game's story in a general sense is that I feel like this game is in a huge ass rush to get me to finish it. For a game that has characters with social meters and ones that are represented as interesting dewds and dewdettes at the start, you would think they want to give you a nice helping of time especially at the start of the game to get to know these characters and hang out with them enough to start those social rankings off enough to give a shit. Well if you thought that, you thought wrong because you only get like one or two days of normalcy before the first case and most of the rest of the game is getting two or three days of free time at most between the rest of the cases. Within those free time days you only get two chances to hang out with someone and a lot of the time certain characters can't or won't hang out with you on certain days, so your ability to engage with them is further limited in an already extremely limited time frame. I think this is way too little time for a game like this and just generally I think you want to give people enough time to feel immersed in a world before you ask them to care about the death of one of its denizens. I think this is a problem with games generally and I already talked about this in my Doki Doki Literature Club! and Kantei reviews, I think game makers should feel less compelled to rush us through the main story of their game. Having heard many interviews with game makers and having taken writing classes myself and hearing people talk about them I know at a rudimentary level one of the reasons they want to rush you towards the main story is that in the economy of game making they want to spend time and focus on the main thrust of a games general premise as to not water down the product and to make sure game players are focusing on what is important. Despite that, in games like this where we're expected to care about the characters and care about them a lot, I think we need to have time to interact with them more. I also know that this is better for a story like this because I have seen it work better in other games with social ranks, like Persona, and Harvest Moon in fact I would say the main appeal of these games is getting a slow burn, slow-paced free-roaming ability to go out and find out what is what about the people in these worlds. it also makes me care more when the ball starts rolling and the broader story of these worlds unfolds. The game tries to remedy rushing you through the story by giving you a more relaxing free-roaming mode after you beat the game, but I feel like at that point it's too late to care about these characters. That mode also makes getting to know them to feel way more monotonous and routine than it should.
So my remedy for this would be to give people a good chunk of free time at the start and a few more free time days throughout the game. Alternatively, instead of having more days, they could have also lengthened the ones they already have and just give people more time to hang out than they do. I feel like either option or a combination of them would be better than forcing people into a second mode to learn about the game's characters more. As we would be learning and caring about them in tandem with the main story which would help us appreciate that more at the same time. On top of this, I also think a longer start would give us more time to have some events, mischief, and hijinks with all the characters and allow us to see them interacting with each other more than we do in this game. As the only time, we really see them interact in the game as is, is to set up the story of the next case and the few characters that are highly involved with whatever case is about to happen. Even with the hyper-focus on certain characters before a case, I don't think it's enough to make interactions and shock value of certain people being killers believable. Everyone in the cast is shocked that **** is the first killer, but I'm not exactly sure why because we only knew the motherfucker like two days and for all I know he's a sadistic piece of shit who just managed to hold it together for a little while, alternatively he could be the nicest dude ever and it really is shocking that he did this, my point is I don't know enough about him, either way, to really be shocked by this turn of events this early in the game's story. Had I had more time to spend with him myself and had I seen them interact with the rest of the cast more I would feel more emotionally invested in this turn of the character.

Given my next big lump of criticisms, one might be tempted to think that they wanted to rush you through looking into these characters more for another reason. That reason being, that the characters might not live up to a person's want to see more depth within their stories. Let's imagine for a second that the characters in this game are gift-wrapped presents and the contents of those gifts are the arc's of their friendship routes. The first time I played this game, as with most games like this, I assumed the characters were more fleshed out than they might seem upon a first playthrough when I'm just blindly thumbing my way through the game the first time and as I have shown above being rushed through seeing its characters. The way they're in most Japanese games like this with a social meter of some kind and the game generally gives you the impression that there is more to these characters and it implies a lot of depth and goodness within them so imagine that wrapping paper on the gifts is made of gold and the paper itself is aged silver-lined papyrus with the finest feel you ever touched. What I want to do most with a game like this is something like my Persona reviews and do a general character study and show the strengths and weaknesses of these characters the only problem is that aside from the good presentation and the nice art for some of these characters, the more you learn about them the less interesting they actually become. You rip open that present with awesome wrapping paper and you realize the gift inside is just a piece of paper that says "Got ya bitch." Because of this, I won't go through a general explanation of each character because I don't think these motherfuckers earned it, instead I chose a few to illustrate the general trend of my disappointment with these characters and their social arcs.

So Aoi has one of the longest arcs. Before you even embark on spending free time with her, before you give a single present, you learn two things about Aoi during almost any of the games other conversations with her. One, she likes donuts and two, she likes to swim. The swimming thing you learn the minute she is introduced as her title is the ultimate swimming pro. The donut thing is also partly a joke on the fact that donut's look like those inflatable lifesavers you see in a pool. So it's actually another swimming reference. Also, donuts seemed to be a trendy thing for a few years over there in Nihon at the time. It seemed like every other anime or game had a character talking about them in the mid 2000's. That kind of ties into here, because I remember Krispy Kremes getting really big around the same time.
So I assume going on a seven-part arc will tell me a lot more about her than these two things... So in the first conversation, you learn that she likes swimming. In the second conversation, you learn that she likes donuts. In the third conversation, you learn that she likes swimming and donuts. But in the fourth conversation they mix it up and you learn that she likes donuts and swimming. Finally in the fifth, six and seventh conversations you learn that she is deeply concerned about the state of our environment, she wants to be a dom in future sexual relationships and she has an interest in RC cars, nah just kidding it's more shit about donuts and swimming. You see the problem here with Aoi yet? If not let me spell it out a little more, instead of learning about a character with a personality we might relate to more, what we get out of Aoi and I say generously about 70% of the other characters is the same two or three traits and interests a person might have repeated over and over again. Now I have met a few people in my life whose interests were this myopic and repetitive, so I can't say it's not realistic, but I can say that I want more out of a game that has social arcs as a selling point one of the things I love about dating sims and games with social arcs is learning about the characters, I want to love these characters, I want to dig into their Minutia and be immersed in their personalities. I just can't do that with most of these characters because all I learn about them are things I knew about them the instant they were introduced. I think the two other best examples of this are Kiyotaka and Yasuhiro everything you learn about both of them just reinforces the same character trait and stated ultimate ability over and over again and like Aoi, they both have really long arcs that mostly serve to waste your fucking time learning nothing new about them or the games setting.
So before we move on I'll be fair and state that Aoi does have one other trait that the game brings up a few times. A little backstory here before I state what that trait is. When I was in high school I had a friend named Daniel and I walked over to his house a lot because we both had the same bus ride from school. Daniel had a weird backyard because it wasn't like a flat empty field like most yards, instead, it was kind of like a ramp that arced upward from the view of his house slightly so things near the back were positioned higher up. The point is his backyard came to an upward incline and most of the houses on his side of the street did the same. Daniel had a neighbor, an older white lady who had two kids and I presume a husband. I called her white because Daniel was not, he looked like a really skinny version of that actor that played the "soul glow" boyfriend in Coming to America and ER. Which always made us look great, fat-ass blonde white kid and a stick-thin boy o color, America in a nutshell, and I play Porky. Anyway, This neighbor had a pool. That type of pool made of plastic but is slightly deeper and more luxurious than most plastic pools. I don't know what they're actually called, but in California when I was growing up everyone called them "Doughboys" which I didn't know why at the time, but I guess it's a brand of them. That ladder to get into this three-foot plastic monstrosity was placed on the inclined side of the yard so it towered higher than it would have in most people's yards. During the summer my town is hotter than Satan's taint, so she seemingly liked to swim in it every day. The odd thing about this woman was that despite the fact that she swam every day and with her kids and would go up and down that high ass ladder to get in out of this pool letting her neighbors see what she was doing, was that she would always be wearing a long white shirt and pretty much nothing else to cover "everything." So every time she jumped in and out and went up that ladder we basically saw everything and I think she knew what she was doing, she would even wave at our asses when we were out in his yard. Coincidentally, after finding this out, Daniel and I got really interested in yard work over at his house... Fast forward about six years later. I was going out with some woman who lived in Texas. This one likes to swim too and like Daniel's neighbor, she doesn't seem to ever find it necessary to invest in a top that isn't a white T-shirt. To either her credit or her detriment depending on how you "see it" she isn't quite as brazen as his neighbor as she at least wears bathing suit bottoms to hide that shit. Basically every time she got out of a pool you saw her tits glistening in the sun with no obstacles or obstructions blocking your eye sight's path to the mammaries in question. Did I mention she would do this at her apartment's public pool? That might be pertinent to this bouncy excursion into tangential titties.
Why did I bring these two women up and their bizarre swimming habits involving white clothing? Well because Aoi is described as doing the same thing over and over in this game to the point that I feel like the authors must be trying to tell me something more. So I'm going to try and say something more and that something is... I think Aoi might be intentionally doing indecent exposure, under the guise of being naive like Daniel's neighbor and my odd significant other of the past and I for one, am offended. I may have discovered some new form of fetish women have, for exposing themselves under the pretense of being naive swimming enthusiasts. I'm submitting my findings to psychological journals as we speak. The ultimate swimming pro is actually the ultimate flashing pro and she doesn't seem to have any shame in her game or remorse for continuously perpetrating this crime. "Just the worst." My final word on Aoi. Glaze.

So bewbs aside, that covers about 70% of the characters, what about the other 30%? Well in the next stretch talking about twenty percent of these characters I'll use Chihiro as an example to illustrate what I see as the problem with this lot. So Chihiro is the ultimate programmer and a devastatingly cute little thing. Unlike Aoi and a lot of the other characters when you talk to Chihiro through her relatively short arc, you don't get spammed the same couple of traits over and over. Unfortunately what you do get is only mildly better, the whole purpose of Chihiro's social arc is to basically be a setup for things that happen to her in the main story. You get some background on her programming, you get an explanation for how she is advanced enough to create an AI and you learn about her insecurities and her want to be stronger. It's like the preamble to her death scene and absolutely nothing extra or interesting aside from that. This is the baseline of what I would expect to learn about a character in a game like this. Unfortunately, what I just said accounts for about twenty percent of most of the other characters who happen to be victims or killers, their story is basically a setup for things that happen in those scenes and nothing extra or more to try to incentivize you to care about the characters.
I used Chihiro as my example here so we can talk about her trial... Which is not good. To say the least. The second case of this game is trainwreck for one simple reason and that reason is the reveal of Chihiro's broader story. In this case, Chihiro is killed by Mondo. The reason this adorable girl is killed by Mondo because she is trans. Well not because she is trans but her motive for doing so which is her inherent self-doubt and feelings of weakness from an early age. The reason Mondo is the killer, in this case, is that he is perceived as being a strong character by Chihiro and hence will be a good role model for her newfound want to return to being strong. The only problem is Mondo believes himself to be weak and he feels weak because he could never outdo his older brother who basically handed him his life as the ultimate biker on a platter and then died covering for one of Mondo's mistakes this compounding his feelings of inferiority a thousandfold. Monokuma threatened to reveal both of their secrets Mondo's belief that he killed his brother and Chihiro's Gender and Chihiro's story is supposed to be uplifting because she wanted to face her fears by becoming stronger, whereas Mondo resorted to killing Chihiro who triggered a feeling of weakness in him when the little lass came to ask him for help.
Something I should have brought up in my Isle of Dogs review is some Asian cultures, like south Korea are actually more advanced than western society when it comes to gender issues, historically Japan has valued non-straight relationships more than other cultures but this story by Japanese people who can presumably read, write and program a game can somehow believe that a lack of masculinity or more bluntly needing a macho lack of weakness to be a real man as the cause of gender dysphoria is one of those ideas that is so old fashioned that I can just barely remember it being an idea within my lifetime but even then it was on the tail end of it's dying breath here. I honestly don't even remember it being used as a justification of trans people and more so a justification of why gay men exist, because of some fundamental weakness or lack of "male" character. This especially doesn't make sense when you consider that bears are a gay archetype and it seems like every other bodybuilder on earth is gay. To the point that being into that kind of physique is seen as a sign of being gay now. Funny how much the worm turned on that one. The point is physical strength has nothing to do with whether you like sucking dicks or not wanting to have one when you were born with one. It's quaint and stupid and I'm more than willing to condescend on this idea for that reason. Really it's just revenge for them condescending to their audience by thinking this story was somehow uplifting for the character as written. If feelings of inadequacy and insecurity were all it took to have gender dysphoria, then everyone would be trans. I don't know about other people but I have enough inadequacy and insecurity that I could become every gender in the multi-verse if those things were all it took.
I say as written because, when we extract the "trans-dimension" of this story, what we have is actually a very tightly written good thematic premise had this been about a younger weak boy who was seeking guidance on being more confidant and self-assured from someone who seemingly has those qualities it would probably be the best written out of all of the cases in this particular entry of the series. As the parallel's between their stories do match up in some interesting way's. So I actually wanted to like this more than I do despite the trans part of the story tainting it and making it unworkable. So just for everyone's information, I'm not a bear, a twink, or an otter. My physical archetype is guttlord and I welcome all sexes and genders to fuck my fat folds.
The second case also illustrates a problem I have with this game's characterization more broadly. The case gets very convoluted because Mondo the killer made it look like a famous serial killer "Genocide Jack" did the killing. Only it doesn't seem like the type of cover that a brutish moron like Mondo would have done or thought of. The whole case hinges on the idea that Mondo had read about Genocide Jack in the archives and that in general he was just nebulously reading during his free time, but nothing about his characterization really leads us to believe that. As problematic as it might be given what I said above about this case, this whole case would make more sense if it was a "crime of passion." Really this should have been the first and most simple case to solve.

So the last ten percent is basically comprised of two characters Kyoko and Junko, both of which finally have what I would call a personality and an arc that comes to completion in their social ranks, plus the end of the story. Kyo is my favorite character in terms of her story, but she really just wins by default more than my actual interest in her because she is the only one of these characters written somewhat competently, the only real problem with her is that her social arc stalls out pretty quickly, so if you finish it early in the game, you'll be bereft of any interaction with her for a long time in the story. Her story like that of all my significant others is that she doesn't trust me and she wants to keep me emotionally at a distance at all times. So she might be the most realistic relationship ever penned to a social arc's metaphorical paper. She is also a highly competent detective and unlike some other video game detectives, I may have mentioned in another game. She doesn't suddenly become stupid for no reason and lose all her amazing detective skills the minute you come into the picture. She comes Jimmy Kudo and Master Keaton approved. Junko is a similar situation aided by the fact that her arc and the game's main story come together to help make her character a little bit more interesting. It might help my liking of tha character that I like her am filled with both despair, shit, and questionable at best nihilistic philosophical ramblings. It might be a bit weird that the game uses the character who represents the fashion industry to represent despair and a nihilistic black hole. I find it weird and muhsoggy in general that women's interests and occupations are always depicted as being more mundane and useless when really we can apply the same mundane nihilistic traits to every one of the ultimate abilities in this game in some cases far more like with Soldiers, which are arguably a literal death cult in some cases, but at least the game is making the mistake of choosing a bad trope here and not making its own mistakes with the characterization... Nah, that my friends comes with the next and final character we will examine.

One final character examination before we go and unfortunately I'm bringing you more bad news. When I first played this game I was looking forward to going through Toko Fukawa's social arc the most. I mean she is a writer, the only student in the series I was more hyped to learn about before knowing them was Chiaki the ultimate gamer in the next game. The ways in which I'm disappointed in Toko are multifaceted and layered and I think they say a lot about this game by using her example.
The first thing that is disappointing about her is her writing is never really elaborated on and her ultimate ability is the least talked about in the game overall. As stated before other characters get one or two traits spammed about their ability, but Toko really doesn't even get that much of a lack of effort. What you get instead is her constantly being insecure, nervous, and anxious... Why didn't she change her gender given the Chihiro logic? She tells you the reason why she is so anxious because one time at school a guy pretended to like her and then humiliated her. This leads me to something I'm really starting to dislike in games, which is the misrepresentation of mental illness. The game really outdoes itself though... By making it seem like she enjoys it as a form of fetishized sexual humiliation. My smile and optimism, absolutely fucking pre-gone.

One, people don't have this level of anxiety because one social interaction was really negative and disappointing. All human interaction would come to a halt if this were the case, because I'm sure everyone has had at least one social interaction they invested in a lot emotionally that backfired on them majorly. I call this general situation in life "Tuesday."
The level of anxiety Toko has can only come because she already felt like she was not in control of her life and like she wasn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to her having low self-esteem. Which leads to her thinking she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to lower self-esteem. Which makes you think you aren't capable of social interaction on your own. This means she already felt like she was not in control of her life and like she wasn't capable of doing things on her own.
Which leads to her having low self-esteem. Which leads to her thinking she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to lower self-esteem. Which makes you think you aren't capable of social interaction on your own. Which means she already felt like she was not in control of her life and like she wasn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to her having low self-esteem. Which leads to her thinking she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to lower self-esteem. Which makes you think you aren't capable of social interaction on your own. She continues to feel like she is not in control of her life and like she wasn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to her having low self-esteem. Which leads to her thinking she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to lower self-esteem. Which makes you think you aren't capable of social interaction on your own. This means she already felt like she was not in control of her life and like she wasn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to her having low self-esteem. Which leads to her thinking she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to lower self-esteem. Which makes you think you aren't capable of social interaction on your own. She continues to feel like she is not in control of her life and like she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to her having low self-esteem. Which leads to her thinking she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to lower self-esteem. Which makes you think you aren't capable of social interaction on your own. She continues to feel like she is not in control of her life and like she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to her having low self-esteem. Which leads to her thinking she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to lower self-esteem. Which makes you think you aren't capable of social interaction on your own. She continues to feel like she is not in control of her life and like she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to her having low self-esteem. Which leads to her thinking she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to lower self-esteem. Which makes you think you aren't capable of social interaction on your own. She continues to feel like she is not in control of her life and like she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to her having low self-esteem. Which leads to her thinking she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to lower self-esteem. Which makes you think you aren't capable of social interaction on your own. She continues to feel like she is not in control of her life and like she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to her having low self-esteem. Which leads to her thinking she isn't capable of doing things on her own. Which leads to lower self-esteem. Which makes you think you aren't capable of social interaction on your own.
I stopped feeling capable of doing things in my life, which lead to insecurity in social situations, which lead to me not interacting with people anymore, which lead me to gradually avoid them altogether. Now my mind precludes the possibility of social interaction without the process even needing to run its tape loop anymore.
I think you get the point. It's a cycle that goes on over and over, where the end result is your overall sense of self is diminished as your anxiety and inability to interact with people grows larger and it happens over a long period of time. It also doesn't really matter much to the process of what is happening external to the person. I mean a bad environment and negative stimuli in the form of bad social interactions aren't great, but to a person who has social anxiety like this they already apriori assume that all social interaction is going to be bad, and even when it isn't they rationalize the fear later by assuming that good times are something akin to a fluke or that they will somehow also turn out bad in the future. Deep in the throws of my own social anxiety, I often think a friendship is not worth having at all, if I can detect even a whiff of a falling out in the future. Life isn't about the "journey" with a mindset like this, it's about trying to predict social outcomes and usually making those predictions true through self-fulfilling prophecy. A lot of this isn't even conscious and at some point, you're so far into the hole that the social calculation in your head has already ever precluded the idea that a good social interaction is even possible so you just avoid it entirely. A lot of mental illness is about precluding the idea that something good will happen, even when it is happening. Which I why I want to say, even if you enjoy this review, you'll just hate me after the next one, so don't even bother giving me praise.
I really think games have a unique potential to show the negative effects of a mental illness in a way no other art can. They just haven't yet. I see the potential in this media for this, especially since you get to live as characters in some games and over a relatively long period of time in comparison to movies. Which I think have been severely damaging to the public perception of mental illness because they don't give you the sense of time and scope necessary to really understand the damage that happens as a result of processes like this in someone's mind that play on a loop endlessly.
I'm so sick of games like this, that just depicts a mental illness as a flimsy state of mind brought about by slight traumas. Depression seems to be the biggest victim of misrepresentation in games and in media generally. The idea that depression is just moderate to severe "sadness" and feeling bad about yourself when really it isn't even about being sad, but a state of mind where you have already precluded over and over like the above with social anxiety, that the option of happiness isn't real for you. That it's been taken out of the realm and range of possibilities in your life. That you shouldn't even be motivated to aim for it, because it's "impossible."

As someone who loves writing, you could say I literally "love" to write. What I mean by that, is I may know "someone" who likes ERP. So I know a little bit about humiliation fetishes and a lot of other things normal people aren't privy to... Seemingly unrelated to that, as someone who hates himself to an ironic point of adulation I can appreciate the concept, to say the least. That being said I only really enjoy it, if I'm the one doing the humiliating and usually in the case of this fetish with other men/femme-boys. I'm saying all this to say. I'm not against this from a point of prudeness, I'm not even against it from a point of sexism in this case. I can just as easily imagine people of both sexes and many genders who actually enjoy this and it is ok as long it is with consenting adults and within the parameters, the people set together. My problem with it is tying it into an actual mental illness someone has. That is what is precisely gross about this instance of it as applied to this character. She isn't enjoying something because it's "good," but because she has a problem and she is daring you to exploit it. People with mental illness sometimes reach out in negative ways or they seek out the wrong kind of "help" so I'm not even saying this is unrealistic. I'm just saying in a game like this you have to depict this more responsibly. to give a more extreme example. This would be kind of like if a person was raped or molested and then they got a "fetish" for being forced into sex as a way to cope with the problem. Again it wouldn't be unrealistic, but people don't do this because they actually enjoy it, they do it as a coping mechanism to deal with a traumatic event. A way of reaffirming themselves that this highly abnormal thing that happened to them is actually normal and something they brought on themselves by secretly wanting it. Well, they didn't and we should have better ways of helping people in this situation not come to this point instead of glorifying it with a young character in a semi-dating sim. I'll further state that if the character was older and if the overall setting was more serious, I wouldn't even necessarily have a problem with a flawed depiction of this. As long as I felt like the person writing the story was consciously making an effort to write a flawed depiction and for a good reason and with more self-awareness than a story like this shows. I just hate the overall tone, setting, and execution of this particular foible.

We aren't even done talking about what is wrong with this one character. A major spoiler is coming up about her, if you haven't played the game what I'm about to say is a big one so avert thine eyes now if you don't want to see some shit. So this character is "secretly" a serial killer known as "Genocide Jack." I find it hard to believe that Toko as Janglin Jack wasn't caught the second she stabbed someone because despite being one of the most famous authors in history and a world-renowned serial killer, she is dumber than a sack of shit. Also despite the true-crime nature and conceit of this game with its trials and murders, their depiction of a serial killer isn't much better than mental illness. Japan has a much lower crime rate than most of the countries that have citizens that are likely to stumble upon this review. They have had some serial killers though, it's not a completely unknown phenomenon to them, but every time one is depicted in anime or games from Nihon, they always seem so unrealistic and over the top. In some cases, in their media, the context and tone of the story at least justify this a little bit, but this game just doesn't even try. Being a serial killer should at least give a character some intrigue, but it's really just an excuse to make this otherwise meek and mild character, loud and annoying. Also, this killer doesn't kill anyone. Kind of like placing a bomb in the middle of a story and then just never having it go off. Also, weirdly I think we're supposed to like the character even after the serial killer reveal. Like I guess it's supposed to be amusing that she killed young men and then posed their bodies in elaborate ways. Just a quirk of the character. She's a goofball and posing young men's corpses in elaborate ways after you killed them is just a hobby like photography and calligraphy. I don't get the Yandere thing in general, but this isn't even committed enough to that premise to really even be juicy in that way.
After all this, you know what is great about this character. She is one of the only ones that show up in one of the sequels. Yay, I get to have more of "this." And spoiler for that game. She doesn't get any better, it's the same horrible character, same horrible traits, same horrible network, same horrible time.

So in summary here are some life lessons this game is trying to teach you and your children:
1) Exposing your private parts in public is funny and should be tolerated.
2) Heavy-duty social anxiety comes about after a single bad social interaction. Totally shut down the minute something goes wrong for you socially.
3) You should cope with your mental illnesses by putting a positive spin on bad traumas that happen to you, even when you're putting a positive spin on crimes, dehumanization, and outright evil.
4) Serial killers are just goofs and you should feel safe with them around.
5) You should change your sex the minute you feel inadequate about yourself and then change it back the minute you feel good about yourself again.
6) Donuts are good for you and give you energy when you eat them. Instead of making your body feel like a saggy flat tire that is slowly imploding on itself as you try to move after eating two. You should definitely swim after eating a box, instead of laying down while the TV is on and you slowly regret what you just ate and your life choices in general.


This was again, a game that I actually liked a lot more the first time I played it. The problems with it, the second trial aside, are not as apparent as I make them seem with this review. It's a game that punishes you the more interest that you show in it. If you just go through the trials and don't care about the social arcs, you'll probably enjoy this enough. To me it just lacks the overall polish and intrigue of games with social arcs and as far as trials go this a pale imitation of the Ace Attorney series and the story doesn't give you anything in the absence of those things.
This is the same company that made the classic Dragon Quest games... I just felt the need to state that, for no particular reason. This is only the first game in the series. Call me Kurt, because I hate myself and want to die. Unlike my real-life social anxiety and depression, I will say that to the series credit these do get better as time goes on and the characters get better as well so as negative as I am about this game there is a light at the end of that dimly lit cement tunnel you walk through between each trial. Also, the next game has Chiaki and red-haired Chie, I mean Mahiru. So you know you can't lose. Hopefully... My hopelessly average review is read by at least one person, but as the events of the game unfolded, the rest of the cast realized that I'm actually the world's most unlucky student. Which is how I ended up here at Hope's Peak.
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Didn't Expect To Love It
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Is a game that I can't describe. A little bit of backstory. I was aware of the Danganronpa franchise. I learned about it from my girlfriend who is really into them. However, I had no interest in playing it. But one day I checked Steam and saw that they were on sale. "Why not," I said. And I downloaded all 4 of them.

It has probably become my 2nd favorite video game franchise of all time. I'll keep it spoiler-free. But let me explain the main concept.

Hope's Peak Academy is the most prestigious school in Japan. Maybe in the entire world. Going to Hope's Peak sets you for life. However, there is only two ways to get in. You have to be in high school, and you have to be the very best in what you do. These people are called "Ultimates". If you are the "Ultimate Baseball Star" for example.

You play as Makoto Naegi. A talentless student who only got in by winning a lottery. He became the "Ultimate Lucky Student". But after walking into the school, he mysteriously passes out. He wakes up and meets with the 14 other students.

They are greeted by a robot bear named Monokuma. And he puts them in the "Killing Game". The only way to get out is to murder another and get away with it. After a murder, there is a class trial. If found guilty, they are executed. If found innocent, the rest are executed and they can leave. It's up to you to find the clues and find out who was the culprit.

The game has amazing mechanics. It's split into three gameplay modes. "School Life" which is getting to know the other students. "Deadly Life" which is investigating the murder. And the class trial which I won't go into detail on. Just know that it's amazing

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc contains one of the most engaging stories I've ever seen in a visual novel. The characters are all unique and interesting. It has amazing writing and voice acting (for the most part). The game brings you through sadness, laughter, and hope, and despair. It's a huge time investment. But you won't regret it.
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A Great Starting Point
Danganronpa 1 is a phenomenal foundation, but that's just it, it's a great foundation. But as a game/story, my GOD is it a flawed work, but one I'm enamoured with. To say that Danganronpa 1 fails at it's main goal is untrue. Though there are problems, it carries out it's main goal of being a high octane thriller full of dark comedy, lovable characters, and engaging gameplay. However, this comes at the cost of heavy cognitive dissonance, plotholes, contrivances, melodrama, and the fact that Makoto Naegi can be one of the stupidest motherfuckers on the planet. I don't like how this game either holds your hand to an absurd degree, or shoves you into metaphorical oncoming traffic with a medieval shield as your defence. There were many times when I knew what the game wanted me to point out as a contradiction, but it was the specifics of HOW you're supposed to point it out that frustrated me heavily. Not to mention every single one of those fucking absorb bullets annoy the shit out of me, like if you're going to introduce a feature like that, make it evidently clear when you're actually supposed to use it. The camera is also bogged down by tank controls when not in the trials, which is just a bad decision. Also I'm not even going to mention the numbers in the first case, due to spoilers, but everyone knows how fucking infuriating it is when it's SO BLATANTLY OBVIOUS what they're trying to say, and yet the game makes you sit through at least 10-20 minutes worth of pointless arguing before anyone decides to bring it up. While it may seem like i don't like this game, since I have so many problems with it, that couldn't be further from the truth: I adore the format Danganronpa set up, and it might honestly be one of the best video game formats I've ever seen. I love so much about this game, that when it fails, it's VERY noticeable. But for every step backwards Danganronpa takes, it takes two more forward, and shit, isn't that what the game is all about?

8/10
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Dzarkan 2021-05-24T00:45:05Z
2021-05-24T00:45:05Z
4.0
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I killa da teenager
wanna like this game more than I do. cool characters neat premise and decent story. just wish the back half wasn't so fucking lame
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OnlyCosmia 2021-05-07T17:13:46Z
2021-05-07T17:13:46Z
6.5 /10
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I've known about this game series for a while but didn't know much about it other than it was sort of a visual novel style game where you sort of play through a story with 2D animations that look like cutouts from a comic book kind of. This game is actually almost feels like you're playing an anime and to be honest it does pretty well. I liked the concept of the game a lot, you're locked inside a school with 14 other students you are manipulated by a talking bear mascot into murdering your schoolmates and if you are able to get away with the murder without getting caught, you are free to leave the school. Of course the bear ends up raising the steaks and adding extra incentives for the students to start killing. That's essentially the story, you solve various cases, a student gets murdered, you investigate the school and find various clues that lead to who the murderer is, hold a trial and use piece together the clues until you finally piece the entire murder scene together and convict that killer, who the mascot ends up killing in a brutal fashion. Then you rinse and repeat this until the final segment of the game. The game is great for like the first 3 or 4 cases and that is when it shines the most, when you are trying to figure out the mystery of the school and solving the various murders of your students, although by case 5 the game starts feeling a bit stale and repetitive since it follows the same formula with no variety, the collecting evidence and trial stuff. However the game starts to fall apart a little in the final chapter 6 for me.

In the final chapter you end up escaping being executed and teaming up with one of your classmates to find out the mystery of the school and who is behind the school and set up all these students being kidnapped. Along the way you find out the detective classmate's father was the first headmaster of the school and was planning of recruiting these students to be safe while a apocalypse was wiping out the World from outside and these students would give hope to the outside World to keep fighting. Somehow one of the students ends up hijacking the school, killing the headmaster and then erasing the students memories they had of the past 2 years, then sets up the killing game, and then ends up tricking the students to think she's dead by disguising her twin sister as herself. Instead of spreading hope she wants to spread despair to the outside World so they lose hope to fight. The final trial is basically using evidence towards the masterminds true intentions and convincing the last surviving classmates that it's worth escaping the school. I mean I guess the game sort of ends on a cliffhanger because you don't know if the mastermind was lying about the World ending to manipulate the students, but it is hinted through pictures you find that all the students knew each other before so its likely this scenario is true. I just didn't enjoy this twist that much and it would have been more interesting if these students were just kidnapped by some psychopath wanting to torture them. But the whole end of the World twist just kind of cheapens the whole thing for me. I just felt this twist sort of ruined the build up for me.

I mean outside that the game is pretty fun and interesting to the point, even if it gets repetitive and there isn't much variety in gameplay. Plus some students really don't get much development. You can hang out with certain characters in your free time and build friendships with them, but you don't know which student will die next so you sort of don't get to fully build some relationships. The game sort of forces you into a certain direction and its a game heavily influenced by trial and error. Sometimes it gets frustrating when there is a clue you can't find and you have to keep backtracking through the school and examining every little thing. The trials themselves are the highlight of the game and you can ask answer multiple choice questions, use evidence you find to counter other students arguments, and play minigames to piece together evidence. There is a small variety of games but after the first trial, there really isn't anything new and most trials feel similar to each other, but its still fun to experience the trials and find out which students are most suspicious and to unravel who the next killer is, plus see the gruesome death after the trial. But I feel Danganronpa just is so close to being great, but is just held back. This game drags out a bit and the story sort of falls apart near the end. Its a fun game that keeps you really intrigued for the first 3/4 and its a good game for a single playthrough, but once you beat this and learn all the murders and twists there is no reason to ever replay this and to be honest, this almost would have worked better as an anime, I know they did eventually make an anime for this, but I mean an actually fully fleshed out one like this game.
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jweber14 2019-08-12T04:02:08Z
2019-08-12T04:02:08Z
3.5
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Scary, funny, unnerving, delicious, meaningful, intelligent, wacky, solid. Brilliant. Danganronpa came out of nowhere and floored me with how stunning it is, with a more careful approach to its atmosphere and plot construction than any game with a killer teddy bear as its villain has any right to be. Somehow, between the outlandish character design (those eyes, chico), the absurd lighting of the school, the isolation of it all, and even the kinda Bowdlerised death scenes, it all works, and it is one of the most thrilling games I have ever played despite being slow and long.
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Lowlander2 2017-08-12T20:03:45Z
2017-08-12T20:03:45Z
4.5
2
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Catalog

THE_SOUNDS_OF_THE_HILLS ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 2022-10-03T11:55:55Z
2022-10-03T11:55:55Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
cybervampire ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 2022-10-01T23:48:27Z
2022-10-01T23:48:27Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
samlase Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc 2022-09-30T21:43:13Z
Switch
2022-09-30T21:43:13Z
4.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Garjo ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 2022-09-29T23:20:30Z
2022-09-29T23:20:30Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Digital (Steam)
DavidSS ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 2022-09-26T02:44:45Z
2022-09-26T02:44:45Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
jmo ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 2022-09-25T05:35:02Z
2022-09-25T05:35:02Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Tingle ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 2022-09-24T05:05:07Z
2022-09-24T05:05:07Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
kirumi ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 2022-09-23T20:09:12Z
2022-09-23T20:09:12Z
C+
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
PillMuncher ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 2022-09-21T21:58:26Z
2022-09-21T21:58:26Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
tinkol ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 2022-09-20T21:36:39Z
2022-09-20T21:36:39Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Desert05Mr ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 2022-09-18T16:24:12Z
2022-09-18T16:24:12Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Volgan ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 2022-09-17T06:35:14Z
2022-09-17T06:35:14Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
CERO: D
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x Disc
Franchises
Also known as
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
  • Danganronpa: Kibō no Gakuen to Zetsubō no Kōkōsei
  • Danganronpa: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair
  • View all [3] Hide

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  • Previous comments (45) Loading...
  • ______________________ 2022-05-07 06:01:19.506027+00
    Removed by user
    This post was removed by the user.
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  • TakumiDrift 2022-05-16 14:59:42.550468+00
    music goes hard
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  • oomfie 2022-05-29 04:25:15.14643+00
    junko enoshima is the character ever.
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  • jumrum 2022-07-03 18:51:07.022088+00
    IDC what people think about this i have never felt as immersed in a game as i did with this
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  • Xaman_ 2022-07-22 03:04:08.515544+00
    A rather average-looking game that's nonetheless worth playing due to its wonderfully ridiculous writing & really fun trials (the last trial being my favorite, what a wild ride that one is).
    (Of course Shinji & Kaworu are Makoto & Byakuya, that's both awesome and a bit amusing considering the contrast between those characters.)
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  • renbeaudach 2022-08-23 09:15:32.928643+00
    got some mixed feelings about the story* and at least half of the cast, but the mystery-solving aspect's undeniably enjoyable

    *however if you're left miffed by the game not showing you what exactly it is the six remaining characters step out into at the end, I think you've kinda missed the point
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