Danganronpa

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Want a well-written story with interesting characters with neat gameplay?

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Here is a game developed by Spike Chunsoft. The story involves 15 students who become trapped in a Kiboganine Academy and learn soon that there only way out is by killing each other and the last survivor would be able to go free. Who sets these goals in place in none other than the puppet master who makes his persona visible through a  walking talking puppet named Monokuma. The main purpose of this exercise will be further transcribed as you progress through the story.

The gameplay is first-person point and click with the ability to walk and interact with the other students and explore areas of the academy. The structure of the academy consists of floors which open up as you further progress. Typical progression in Danganronpa consists of text-based dialogue, free time, and court trial sessions. The characters are quite interesting to learn about, albeit some die quite early in the story, as well as the chemistry and bond they form as time goes on.

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Free time allows you to free roam and chat with students without progressing the actual story. This allows you to chat and build a bond in order to better understand the personalities traits and backgrounds of others; while it is not a necessity to do so, as time can be skipped by simply sleeping, it is a better way to flesh out the game and storyline. Mini-games such as collecting toy capsules can be played during the story through use of Monokuma coins that you collect.

Court trial sessions are a real treat in Danganronpa and they occur once a student has been found deceased. For players familiar with Phoenix Wright they will be quite at home with this structure. Danganronpa takes the presenting a contradiction a step further by having moving text on the screen as people speak and allowing you to move your on-screen cursor to shoot moving contradictions. There are penalties for making wrong accusations so thinking and looking over evidence is vital.

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Furthermore, trial sessions consist of mini-games such as time-based events where you have to press a button to a certain beat in order to target on-screen defense statements and shoot them down. Court activities don’t stop there as you will be faced with epiphany events where you shoot letters to properly form words in the protagonist’s mind as well as logic boards where you basically have to fill in pictures into a half finished manga panels to prove your theory on events leading up to the incident in question. Once a verdict has been reached you will be presented with a nice video of the grueling torture process which takes place.

All time and activities will be regulated by Monokuma as he makes announcements throughout the day. Monokuma could quite possibly be one of the most charming characters in a video game. The personality of this character really elevates the dread of the entire situation while still putting on a cute appearance for all the otaku fans out there.

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The aesthetics of this game may take some getting use to for some, but once it sets in the unique universe of Danganronpa will really be embedded in your mind. Characters and certain objects in a room are flat 2d which can be rotated by using the d-pad the pan the camera around the room.

The sound department is another well done factor as both the music and sound effects really lend to the charm. Expect to hear old 8-bit chiptunes as you collect items and even before trial punishment segments (Should really put a smile on the faces of old-school gamers). Also, the catchy upbeat music which plays during trial cross examinations is a real treat to the ear and helps with the mood.

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When it is all said and done what we have hear is a charming and unique game that should appeal the Phoenix Wright crowd and niche anime fans alike. The only disappointment would be the ending which I can’t mention for spoiler related purposes. No point waiting, if you got time on your hands play this on PS Vita or a the fan translated PSP version – you will not regret it.

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