With the long awaited third title in the Danganronpa franchise hitting the shelves in the US this fall, the series will finally see a simultaneous release on the PS4, Vita, and Steam. In the meantime, PlayStation 4 users can play catch up by getting their hands on the first two games via Danganronpa 1•2 Reloaded.
As a compilation, the story follows two different protagonists. For the first game, the story follows Makoto Naegi as he joins Hope’s Peak Academy, a prestigious school where any student successfully graduates from it is guaranteed lifelong success. The students who are admitted to this school have to meet two requirements. They must be currently attending high school and must be the best of what talent they possess. Hope’s Peak recruits the students through their own methods. Makoto has no unique talent as he is admitted through the raffle process the school does once every year. Upon entrance, each student is granted a title. Makoto’s title is the super duper High school “Luckster”.
The second game protagonist follows Hajime Hinata. His story takes place on Jabberwock island. Hajime and his class are on a vacation from school. Both protagonists are forced into a “killing game” where they have to survive multiple murders and figure out who is the culprit amongst their perspective class. The host of the “killing game” is none other than the principal of Hope’s Peak Academy’s ever
loveable bearable Monokuma. He is a small teddy bear who enjoys only two things: despair and breaking the fourth wall.
Both games have a similar story structure, however, both games remain to be fresh and unique stories. Each game has its own unique set of characters that makes it feel fresh. With the small setting change between the two games also drastically changes how each murder takes place along with solving the murder.
Throughout Danganronpa 1•2 the main gameplay is focused on point and click. While most games use 3D objects. Danganronpa uses both 3D objects and 2D objects to show the game world. The 3D objects were there to help with the environment while the 2D objects were the one’s players able to interact with. For better or for worse, all the objects also gave off a cardboard feel. As the player traverses the world, it will give then the feeling of a carnival shooter. When a player interacts with an object, that object will fall down and this is also amplified as the main cursor looks like a cross hair.
The Danganronpa series overall focuses around murders mysteries. Each game does well in pacing between when the murder takes place and when the trial starts. Duringeach chapter, there are three major sections: Free time, investigation time, and class trial. Free time usually takes place Once a class trial is complete until a murder takes place. One of the things the player is able to do during this time is bond with the other students. Skipping out on this section the player will loose a lot of background info on each character as well as insight of the game’s world overall. The investigation takes place is once a murder has occured and the victim’s body has been found. During this time the player goes and finds evidence that might help them in the trial. After all the evidence is found it is time for the class trial. This section of the game the player will have to debate with the other students and try to reach a conclusion of who committed the murder. Should they fail in this everyone will get sentenced to death and the murder is able to escape the island or school. Should the player succeed the murder will be sentenced to death.
While these games did great on porting overall. The button mapping and overworld travel was lacking. Throughout the both games, the player communicates with other people by pressing X whike targeting the character. In the Vita versions, the screen was small a feature was implemented where the control stick would slow down if the player passed a place they could interact with. However, when this got translated to the PS4 edition, this feature becomes more of nuisance cause the range of where the player would be able to interact is drastically increased. The button layout as well was not as optimal while traveling around hopes peak or the island. It is very difficult to run around and be able to look around. One would have to either run or look. The class trial saw improvements compared to the Vita version, however, as the game became much more responsive. The Vita version suffered some slow down and could feel clunky at critical moments.
Throughout both games, the music and sound selection is top notch. Danganronpa series has been on key utilizing the sounds to intensify the critical moments. Throughout various events in the game, the soundtrack will amplify what type emotion the player should be exhibiting. Even upon reaching the later part of the game multiple times, one could easily be lured into a false sense of security. After the culprit is found out, the selection of music makes it feel that things aren’t so black and white.
Some of the best music is during the trial. Out of the whole game, this has some of coolest soundtracks. In Danganronpa 2 there is one of the later class trial’s uses an 8-bit theme. This is awesome as its cool to hear some catchy music as it would be when the 8-bit music was normal for soundtracks. The other awesome thing with both of these games is that the player is able to buy each soundtrack individually with some of the in-game currency. It a cool feature as many other games don’t offer this option. Most of the time ill just play the soundtracks while being busy with some other stuff.
Most games today have usually games released with the native language for each region. The publisher of Danganronpa allows the player to choose between Japanese sub or in this case English dub. Having these small add-ons is a welcome feature that aren’t seen as much in games today. At the beginning of each playthrough, the player makes the choice what type of voice acting they prefer, however, the only downside is that there is no way to change the voice acting while playing. This reviewer heavily recommends for players to go with the Japanese voice acting as Monokuma’s English voice can get very unbearable at times.
Danganronpa 1•2 Reloaded did not have many changes compared to it’s original versions released on the Vita. For those who are curious about the series and want an introduction, it is certainly worth getting a copy. For existing fans of the franchise however, there is no real need to get a port on the PS4.
HEY! HEY!! LISTEN!!! gives Danganronpa 1•2 Reloaded 8.5 out of 10 Monokumas!
Pros: Monokuma, 2 great games for the price of one, memorable story, unforgettable characters Cons: no new features, cluncky overworld controls, Monokuma