Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Completed: Trigger Happy Havoc Danganronpa

Makoto, you keep using that word.
I do not think it means what you think it means.

thanks Dictionary.com .... i knew i could always count on you.

i wanted to make this point in my first impressions blerb but no... i wanted to save it for this.

So anyways.
Trigger Happy Havoc Danganronpa (DR) is a Visual novel type game with 1st person exploration and murder mystery elements.
The premise is 'simple'
You and a handful of other ultimately gifted students are trapped in the school, you can either live a peaceful life resigned to the fact that you will never leave or you can "graduate"
the only problem is that to graduate you need to commit murder AND get away with it. if you can manage you get to leave but if you are caught you get punished.

Before i go any further i am going to avoid spoilers as much as i can.

So are quite a few different elements to the game.
Theres the time where no one has been murdered. You can strength bonds or sleep during this time... it tends to be used to progress the plot.

Then there's body discovery and investigation... after 3 people find the corpse an alert sounds to start investigating, this involves going around the school, speaking with people and checking for clues... after a 'certain amount of time' a class trial begins.

and this is where the game gets awesome

Class trials are phoenix wright style debates but on a time limit and fully voice acted. There are A LOT of elements to keep the trials interesting and unique... however not all of them are good.

There the most common one of making your argument. you listen to everyone debate and shoot down contradictions with 'truth bullets' you can only shoot down certain phrases and there can be anything blocking your shot. you are capable of slowing down time but it's very short. in some cases you may need to memorize a line and shoot it at another one but they are all pretty obvious.

Then there's when a character simply wont listen, you must keep to a certain rhythm and shoot some sense into them, eventually they are weakened and you must shoot their final comment with the correct Truth bullet to bring them back to their senses. This wasn't my favotire mode but it only happens a few times and is fun enough i guess... if not a little silly.

There is Hangman's gambit where you have to shoot down letters in order to fill in the blanks.
theres nothing complicated or special about it and again, they are all pretty easy.

Finally theres the closing argument.
and i never liked this part of the trail...
you have comic book panels reading from right to left and you have to fill in the blanks with bubbles.
it was fine and the hint system make sure you never get lost but it just felt a little tedious sometimes.
i loved watchign them play out but setting it up... ugh...
maybe had it continued with the theme of shooting things down it would play out in real time and you would have to hit the correct next panel? i dunno it just felt out of place.

once you have convinced everyone you vote and after that who ever has earned the punishment gets killed.

the cycle then starts over however more of the school is available after each trail.

Normally this is where i say "the game is really fun and while a little easy it's still worth getting" but i'm not quite done yet.

This game was not easy to play... it's an 'easy' game and it's mostly about the spectacle but there were times where i had to put the vita down and walk away.
Now i should clarify, i'm only a little squeamish...  i'm not a fan of blood and gore but i can handle it to a point in games and anime... as long as it isn't there for the sole purpose of being shocking... then it's just stupid.
what gets me is when you start thinking about the bigger picture and what that means.
In the game even though nothing is outright brutal, I mean the blood is bright pink for crying out loud, many of the scenes and especially the punishments are completely horrific.
I found it difficult to play more then one chapter a day simply cause what i was seeing was too sad or disturbing.

At the end of the first punishment i realized how goofy and stylized it was trying to be on the surface but what happens is really quite horrifying and making everyone watch is just... unpleasant. not to mention that considering you completed to goal of solving the trail and should be happy... but all thats left is despair. i could elaborate but it's a bit too much of a spoiler...

However despite the unpleasantness of some of the story elements you do see everyone start working together more and working towards solving the greater mystery... so you want to continue even though you know it'll mean losing more characters and having to go through the pain again. Which makes it a very well done story and even a time bit meta.
not as meta as 999 but hey... i don't think anything can pull something like that off so perfectly ever again.

DR 2 has been confirmed for localization (i think in part cause someone accidentally let slip that he was voicing a character that wasn't in DR but who knows... maybe the timing just happened to work out)  and considering how DR1 ended i look forward to seeing more.

Now to talk about something completely different.

The art:
Spike chunsoft always make games with such interesting art styles and this is no exception... i love the art, i love the painterly feel while almost lookign like paper cutouts... it just fits so well and with all the dramatic camera angles in the court room... it's just so nice to look at.

The voice acting:
both english and japanese voice acting is stellar. i played the game in english but tried the japanese to see how everyone sounded and yeah they are both good. the only thing thats fully voice acted are the courtroom elements... otherwise it's just some one word quips or foley.

The music:
The one thing i didn't like, it is good and fits the mood of the game but i don't plan on listening to any of it stand alone.

The controls:
they are decent, easy enough to customize to your liking. the one thing that annoyed me was in first person mode you eye level is at everyones waste level/door handle level.... it just made makoto feel really short.

The bad:
months and months before i ever heard of this title i ended up seeing some fan art.... didn't mean anything to me then but when i played this and noticed some things were amiss... i immediately knew the ending. Which kinda sucked... i probably wouldn't have guessed the ending till much later...
i was also spoiled on one of the characters that didn't survive so that was kinda a bummer.
the other spoiler eneded up not being too bad but still... i would have been nice to experience it.
i think i'm spoiler free for the other game but who knows... something similar could happen where i just don't realize i know the ending.
so yeah... try and keep yourself away from it all if you want to avoid any spoilers.

Now there is an anime but from what i understand it's 13 episodes which doesn't seem like enough time to get the feel across... still going to check it out.

I really liked this game, it is as good as the Zero escape series (which my friend has informed me that they are having a hard time getting enough money to make Zero escape 3 and that makes me sad cause the cliffhanger on 2 is unbearable) so if you like those games then give this a shot...
The game isn't too long but it's really really well done and, for me at least, the visuals and story made it all worth it.
Also Makoto is adorable... just saying.
oh and there is one 'bad ending' that i found, pretty funny and enjoyed every moment of it.
so yeah... go get this game for the PS Vita...

So i've watched an episode of the anime from Funimations website and all i can say is this.
It is EXACTLY like the game... some things feel like they were just put rigth in (and made to look a bit more animated)
it's pretty neat...
wow is it just rushing through everything, i'm finding that i just can't know as much about the characters in this amount of time... if you can pick between the two then pick up the game instead.

Edit 2:
After watching what equates to the first chapter i can say without a doubt.
Get the game, don't bother with the anime.
the anime is very faithful but it it's rush to tell the overall story is misses all the heart and charm and character development of the game... so yeah.... just play the game

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