Hello there everyone, and welcome to another Zantok Plays review here on jfrahm.com.
This time around I have for you Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. I didn’t know much about this game before getting into it. Really all I knew was that it was about a bunch of kids in a school, it was a murder mystery, and it had a psychopathic bear named Monokuma. That’s about it. I hadn’t really planned on playing it though until the series was nominated to be something I should play in the Discord poll that I mentioned in my review on Nier: Automata. It was on my radar at that point, but it wasn’t until another friend of mine convinced me to play it and record my first time reactions with the game that I finally decided to do it. And man, I’m glad I did.
Obligatory spoiler warning here, but I’m going to try not to go too far on anything. It’s really no fun if I just spoil all the big plot points for you before you’ve had a chance to see the game for yourself.
Alright, so let’s get into things here. Danganronpa’s plot starts out fairly simple. You’ve won the lottery! Not that kind. No, you’ve been specially selected to go to a school where only the best of the best high school students are invited. Meet characters such as Aoi Asahina the Ultimate Swimming Pro, Hifumi Yamada the Ultimate Fanfic Creator, and Sayaka Maizono the Ultimate Pop Sensation. And then there is you, Makoto Naegi, the Ultimate Lucky Student. Where all your classmates are at the top of their fields and hobbies, you’re just completely and totally average with nothing special about you except you got your name pulled out of a hat. Yeah that sounds relatable.
Things take a turn for the weird right away when you find out that a robot bear is your headmaster, you’re all trapped inside, and the only way to get out is to kill one of your fellow students and not get caught. Splendid. Just how I wanted to spend my Monday. Of course as the protagonist we’re not about to become a murderer, instead whenever a murder *does* happen we play the role of investigator and try to find enough clues before heading to a trial and figuring out whodunit. This part of the game reminded me a little bit of Phoenix Wright as I got to try and solve the game’s mysteries and figure out who killed who.
The theming in the trials is… well it’s not what I was expecting to be honest. The evidence you collect gets turned into “truth bullets” which you load up into your metaphorical gun and you use that to shoot the statements of your classmates whenever they say something stupid so that you can move the trial forwards. There’s two different ways you can affect the difficulty in these trials. There’s “Logic” and “Action”. Logic comes into play whenever you have to choose which piece of evidence to shoot down false statements with. Easier difficulties give you less options to choose from while harder difficulties throw in more red herrings.
There’s also mini-games that can pop up as you’re playing through the trials and that’s where the “Action” difficulty comes into play. Obviously easier difficulties make them easier and harder makes them harder. On top of that starting with the second trial the game likes to throw white noise at you that you have to shoot with your gun before you can shoot the statements behind them. But hey if you don’t want to deal with that nonsense just set your Action difficulty to Gentle. How do I know? Well… let’s just say I wanted to play a murder mystery game and not deal with action nonsense.
There’s more to the game than just murders though. The school itself has several mysteries to solve throughout the game. Such as where is the real headmaster, who is the mastermind, and just how did Byakuya get his title of the “Ultimate Affluent Progeny” anyways? Seriously Byakuya that title makes you sound like even more of a pretentious prick and I’m not sure how that’s even possible!
You can also become friends with your fellow students. During periods of down time you can hang out with the other students to learn a little bit about them. Doing this can also gain you some special abilities that you can use during the trials to help make things easier. One of these skills is Steel Patience which you learn from Kiyotaka Ishimaru which causes you to take less damage when you screw up shooting down a statement in the class trials.
Each of your fellow classmates has a different amount of ranks in their friendship you have to get through to finish learning their stories and they don’t all take the same amount of ranks. Unfortunately however it’s entirely impossible to max out all your friendships in one play through Heck, even if you focus on just talking with one character until they’re maxed out you can only max out something like four or five friendships and that’s assuming they don’t die before you finish talking to them.
Luckily though after the game is over there’s a special post-game mode that you can play through to freely talk to everyone and finish getting to know them and each of their stories. The post-game mode is kinda strange however as it also has you looking for materials and using them to build a bunch of different versions of Monokuma. It’s a small price to pay to be able to finish learning about everyone though so I was more than happy to play through it all.
That all said the game does have some flaws. A few of the characters were rather unbearable and they really dragged things down whenever I had to interact with them. I also just wasn’t a fan of the actiony mechanics, but at least you’re able to mitigate them with the difficulty settings. They also had this weird “Re:Action” system where if a character has some purple words you’re supposed to right click and select them instead of the normal left click in order to continue the dialogue. If you don’t do it then you can’t proceed and it’s kinda silly. The characters should just keep talking. I also found it weird that sometimes a character would be done with their dialogue and I’d have control again… but the next thing I was supposed to do was talk to the character again. Just… just have them keep talking. Having them stop and make them continue it is just silly. There was a point in the game where I had to do this five times when they could have just kept talking on their own! Ridiculous. Also the main character is a bit of a Big Dumb at times which got aggravating after awhile.
Truthfully though these issues were all pretty minor and were the result of this being the first game in the franchise. I’ve been told that the later games take the game’s systems and improve upon them and dump trash like the Re:Action system into the garbage. Supposedly the second game also has the best cast in the series, but we’ll get around to that someday.
Alright so let’s get into the rating. I really enjoyed playing the heck out of this game. Before starting out I wasn’t too sure of what to expect, but it was a lot of fun to play through. I’d rather have not dealt with a couple of the characters but the cons that this game has are pretty minor all things considered. I’d call it a Damn Good Game and give it an 8/10.
Unfortunately it’s not a game I would play a second time, but that’s not due to the quality of the game and is more because once you’ve played it you already know all the secrets and solutions so unless you’re trying to go for all the achievements there really isn’t any point to play it again. Which is why I’m really glad that I recorded a Let’s Play of this game going through my play through of it. You can actually watch my Let’s Play of it right now on my YouTube channel Select Start Gaming. By the time this review is posted the main plot of the game should have all already been uploaded onto the channel, but there might be some post-game content left to upload. So if you want to see the whole game for yourself and see how I went through it with all of my wild theories, feel free to check it out!
Settling it for Smash
Now that the review portion of this… review is over, let’s chat about Smash for a little bit. As we do here in Zantok Plays its time to take a look at Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and look at what kinds of content we could get from it in Super Smash Bros.
First off I want to give a shout out to a friend of mine, Kellyjelly. Every now and then Kellyjelly will send me a move set that they created to be put up on the Smashtopia wiki and just a day before last year’s Game Awards Kellyjelly sent me a move set for the protagonist of the first Danganronpa game, Makoto Naegi. Now I will warn you guys that there are slight spoilers in Kellyjelly’s move set here, but feel free to take a look. I really like what he did with Makoto’s move set He took the different mechanics from the series such as firing Truth Bullets and giving gifts to your friends and made a pretty solid move set with them while also using the other main characters from the series as alt costumes like how Olimar can become Alph or Bowser Jr. can become the Koopalings in Smash Ultimate.
I’m actually really grateful for Kellyjelly here as I wasn’t sure of what to do for a playable Danganronpa character. I was thinking of having Monokuma be playable to represent the whole franchise, but I couldn’t land on any solid concepts I liked for him without spoiling everything. Maybe after I get through the other Danganronpa games I can revisit the Monokuma concept.
However since I like what Kellyjelly already did for Makoto I’m going to go ahead and declare his Makoto move set our playable character for this game. Kellyjelly also made a stage for Danganronpa as well, Hope’s Peak Underground, based off of the courtroom for the game. I wasn’t sure at first if I wanted the stage to be the courtroom, but really it’s the best choice. I mean I guess you could do a touring stage through rooms like the gym, the pool, and the greenhouse, but the courtroom is far and away the better choice.
I do want to go ahead and identify a few additional music tracks that I’d like to pull from Danganronpa in addition to the ones selected by Kellyjelly. I think DANGANRONPA, Extra Lessons for the Unlucky, and Beautiful Days would all work pretty well in Smash.
So what other kind of content could we throw into Smash? How about an Assist Trophy. There’s a few good options here. You could have Mondo ride around on his motorcycle, Sakura could unleash a string of martial arts on opponents, Leon could go to town with his baseball bat, or you could even have Monokuma bring out one of his punishments to use against the stage. Any of these would be pretty good options, but I’ve decided to go with someone a little less obvious, Yasuhiro Hagakure.
In Danganronpa, Yasuhiro (Hiro) is known as the Ultimate Clairvoyant. Despite this however he claims to only get correct predictions 30% of the time. So what I’m thinking here is when Hiro pops out of an Assist Trophy he makes a prediction. This could be something like “Soon you’ll be living large” or “Your opponents are looking pretty slow”! 30% of the time Hiro’s prediction will come true so in these examples you would be affected by a Super Mushroom or your opponents would be afflicted by a slow effect. However, the other 70% of the time Hiro’s predictions will be wrong and in these instances it will be your opponents who are affected by a Super Mushroom or you who gets slowed down. It’s a bit negative towards the player, however Danganronpa is all about the battle of Hope vs. Despair and it’s accurate to Hiro’s fortune-telling abilities so I think it’s a fun idea.
As for Spirit Battles, I think I’ll go with Leon Kuwata, Yasuhiro Hagakure, Toko Fukawa, Mondo Owada, Sayaka Maizono, Sakura Oogami, Junko Enoshima, Chihiro Fujisaki, Kyoko Kirigiri, and Monokuma. Clearly Monokuma would be the Legendary class Spirit and I think he’d get some effects such as receiving a sharp boost in stats when he’s taken high damage as well as being given a free Final Smash after a set time.
Leon’s Spirit Battle could see you fighting Roy using a Home-Run Bat while Beastballs constantly spawn. Mondo’s could be a battle against Wario who prioritizes using his motorcycle and gets an increase to his attack stat for a short time every so often. For Sakura let’s say you’re battling against an Incineroar that prioritizes using its Revenge move while also having to contend with the Akira, Guile, Knuckle Joe, and Spring Man Assist Trophies that are constantly being summoned onto the field to assist Sakura. There’s a few more I have ideas for that I’d love to go over, but spoilers man.
As for Mii Outfits, really any of these characters could work as a Mii Fighter and Monokuma could easily be a new Deluxe Mii. If I had to pick just three though to be Mii Fighters (alongside Monokuma) I think I’d go with Celeste, Mondo, and Kyoko. They have some of the more vaired and unique outfits of the cast so I think they’d be a little more interesting than someone like Byakuya or Hifumi.
Alright everyone well I think that’s gonna do it for my review of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. I hope you enjoyed it and if you haven’t played the game yet I hope you’ll consider it. I had a lot of fun recording my Let’s Play of it and I’m looking forward to playing through the rest of the series!
Words by: Lister Potter III