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Review – Danganronpa 1•2 Reload

There comes a time where you are filled with hope. There also comes a time where you are filled with despair. How will you overcome these obstacles? In Danganronpa 1•2, you are to overcome the adversity that stands in your way to achieve hope. These are the remastered versions of Danganronpa 1 and 2 that originally appeared on the Playstation Vita. Both games were remastered and packaged into one disc for a full package of dispair. How does it hold up being a remastered version of a niche franchise? Let’s take a look in the world of despair in this review.

Danganronpa 1•2 Reload
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Publishers Spike Chunsoft, NIS America
Platform: Playstation 4
Release date: NA – March 14, 2017; Europe March 17, 2017; Japan May 18, 2017
Genre: Adventure, murder mystery, visual novel

*Thank You to NIS America for providing a review code for us. It is always appreciated and forever thankful*

Intro/Story:

Before we begin, full disclosure, I have never played a single Danganronpa game outside the side story game. That side story game takes place between Danganronpa 1 and 2 and appropriately titled Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls. The games play entirely different with one common theme, that is hope and Dispair. Hope and dispair plays an essential part of the story and theme in all the games, and anime. These games have no reason to hold back on those themes.

The story for Danganronpa 1 is as follows:

The series revolves around an exclusive, government-funded high school called Hope’s Peak Academy which, every year, selects “Ultimate” students who are at the top of their field, and one average “Ultimate Lucky Student” who is chosen by lottery. However, when average student Makoto Naegi arrives at the school, he loses consciousness, and when he wakes up discovers that he and his 14 classmates have been trapped within the school. Headmaster Monokuma, a sadistic robot bear, informs the students that they will be forced to live within the school forever, with only one way to leave: murdering another student and getting away with it.
When a crime scene is discovered, a class trial is held, in which the remaining students must decide amongst themselves who the murderer is. If the students successfully discover the murderer, the culprit will be executed, and the killing game continues. However, if they guess incorrectly, the culprit will be able to leave the school but the other students will be executed.

The story for Danganronpa 2 is as follows:

The game is from Hajime Hinata’s point of view as he starts his first year at Hope’s Peak Academy. As he walks into the school building he is overcome with fatigue, when he recovers he finds himself in front of a door. He has the strong urge to open it, and once he does he finds himself in a classroom full of his new classmates.
They suddenly find themselves locked in the classroom and a pink bunny, Usami, appears before them, claiming herself the class’ teacher. Suddenly the classroom around them falls away to reveal a paradise-like island. Usami tells them they are on a school trip and they are to befriend each other to gain hope fragments and make their hope grow. Just as they get used to the peaceful island life, Monokuma appears and takes control of the island, announcing that the students must participate in a life of mutual killing if they wish to escape.

The premise for both stories are loosely the same. Everyone must work together and unite to overcome the obstacle. In addition to this, we have this evil Monokuma who puts an ultimatum on the cast of characters. In order to escape the school/island a person must become the “blackened”. The “blackened” is the murderer in a group. His job is to murder someone and try to get away with murder. The reason for this is if the murderer is not found out, that person gets to escape the school/island while the remaining individuals face punishment. If the “blackened” is discovered, they are then found guitly and recieve punishment. Punishment follows in a form of death that fits that individual’s talent.

The game does a good job presenting itself. It was throughly enjoyed, and being the first time around I am able to play this series, it was a delight to play it. Assuming the role of two different characters and undergoing the several twist and turns in the goal of finding that hope and the truth becomes an amazing journey. I am glad I was finally able to play it this time around.

The story in Danganronpa 1•2 Reload itself is interesting as it goes unpredictable nearly the whole time in the adventure. You assume you found the “blackened” but as you go through more truth finding in the case, it most likely isn’t that individual you thought it was. I enjoyed it throughly. Deliver a good story with humor, immersion, and interest in the actual characters, and you got yourself a solid game. One flaw though, is some of the cases can be rather long or rather short. In addition, the difficulty curve does kick in after the first case, especially in the second game. You can put it on the easiest difficult and have a good first case. However, everything following just becomes more gradually difficult, at least in the first game. The second game immediately picks up the difficulty regardless of what mode you choose.

Intro/Story score: 4/5; The story is good and hilarious at times. You will become invested in particular characters and hope they aren’t the “blackened”. Only issues I had is the difficulty curve that just immediately jumps after the first case, espcially in Danganronpa 2.

Gameplay:

The core gameplay in Danganronpa 1•2 Reload is relatively similar to one another with a few differences. The main core gameplay is delivered in terms of a visual novel format. The player goes screen to screen speaking to other characters and spending their freetime with some of these characters and give them a gift to build a bond with them.

After the periods of freetime are over, (usually 2-3 in game days), a murder occurs. After the murder occurs, it is up to the player to investigate anything and everything to find any relevant to the murder. The player is expected to look and explore everything, as well as speak to several people in order to gather the clues.

After a certain period of time passes, Monokuma will tell the characters to go to the class court. This is where the class must discover the truth as to who killed who, why, and how. The trial unfolds by several different methods. You have dualing swords, arugments, a rhythm type game, and much more. The player must undergo several different methods in order to prove who did it. As always this can take a different matter turn if the player is not prepared. As this unfolds, I am reminded of the Ace Attorney games. They play out in a much similar fashion, but not as intense.

Ultimately it is pass or fail. If you fail in finding the “blackened”, you lose the case and game overall. If you find the “blackened” they are executed and the game continues. Regardess of this, several characters fall into dispair as it is too much of them to have the burden. The player must try and help them out to come out of that dispair and repeat this core pattern of the game.

There are some differences between the first and second game. The second game provides much more means in court to find the truth. Out of the court, your movement mechanic is either done in a 2D view running, or instant warp. In the first game, you have the 1st person dungeon crawler view or warp. In addition, Danganronpa 2 has a pet you can raise.

It come as a very neatly wrapped package. I think I really haven’t found much fault in the gameplay. I am not one to nitpick, but I feel that in raising the bond of the characters is useless. The reason for this is because you have no idea who will be the “blackened”. You raise their level, just for that one person to be executed after finding the truth. It not only becomes dispair to the characters in the game, but dispair to the player as they invested time and emotion into building that bond. I am sure it is intended as such and I love it for that. It is true immersion.

Gameplay score: 5/5; Danganronpa 1•2 Reload are the type of games I love playing, some of my favorite genre. You get a story, gameplay, and your gameplay choices actually matter. You will become invested emotionally, and want to keep going. I can tell you about the times I stayed up til 3-4 in the morning playing this game simply because the game was addictive to play.

Visual/Audio

Visually: The game looks like the typical Visual novel with a twist I would say. You have the typical VN format when characters talk. However, when exploring, you get a kind of 2D/3D hybrid. The characters look like they are made of cardboard and move to face you always. When entering a new area, you will have characters just popping up from the ground and face you. That is along everything else in the room. It is a odd astehtic, but it works well here in this game. The environment is varied, and once again works in this type of game.





It just looks anime, yet it completely fits the theme of the game. The reason why as this feels like an anime you can watch and see on TV (ironically there is an anime for Danganronpa 3 going on). Some issues though, While the characters look wonderful, the scenes that have voice over are not in sync in visual terms. Another issue I had (not sure if anothers had it) are when a character is speaking, they would either stop speaking or not pop up. Only way you know they are talking is looking to see who is talking and listening to the voice. They wouldnt appear at times for me. In addition, I had two crashes in Danganronpa 2. I sure these issues are minor, but they did bother me when they occurred. It broke me from that immersion i had.

Visual Score: 3/5; Fun to look at, and fits this type of game. However, I did have some odd glitches that occurred in the game which broke my immersion in the game.

Audiowise:

The audio for this game is superb. The music in each area fits that area. The main theme fits with the game. All the music just works wonderfully together. For the remaster version, each track was remastered to fit it. Not much else to say beyond that.

Danganronpa
Miss Monomi’s Practice Lesson

Audio Score: 5/5; One thing I always look for, usually the first thing, is the soundtrack and sound overall. Danganronpa 1•2 Reload has a very good soundtrack. In addition, it may have been one of the best on PS Vita when it came out at the time.

Replay Value:

Danganronpa 1•2 Reload has some interesting replay value attached to it. In Danganronpa 1 you have multiple endings of the game. How you intrepret them is up to the player, however there is some indication as to which one means. In Danganronpa 1 and 2 you are given extra modes after you beat the game. They are called School Mode. This mode is where the murders that not occur. It is more of a dating sim aspect. It delivers on the original mode the game advertised before Monokuma took over. It is an interesting take on the story. I enjoyed that kind of value as most games in this current dynamic do not provide options like this.

Replay Value: 5/5; Provides multiple modes and a few multiple endings. The multiple modes is where it is at in my opinion.

Fun Factor:

The million dollar question. Is the game fun? My review has been pretty glowing up to this point. It is very safe to say the game is fun. It may take a bit of time to get into each game (I would say until the time Monokuma appears, which is 30 mins – 1 hour). However, once you are in, you are in. I had fun probably the entire way through. I wanted to binge play this game, but had to play it in moderation and just spread it out for a bit. I enjoyed it, and it easily sits in my top remasters of this year, and probably top 10 of this year so far. I would say it deserves being in the top 10 since this is my first time actually playing the series.

Fun Factor score: 5/5; Danganronpa 1•2 Reload was fun from beginning to end with both games. I have no complaints in this department. I enjoyed the ride from beginning to end as well as the extra modes.

Conclusion/Wrap-up:

For the first time ever playing both games, Danganronpa 1•2 Reload are fantastic titles. It makes me feel despair that I did not get to play the games the first time around. The developer put their heart and soul in this title and it shows on nearly all levels. With a wonderful soundtrack, good story, good story delivery, and fun gameplay all wrapped up in one neat package, Danganronpa 1•2 Reload is definately worth your time. This goes double if you never played the games in this series before. Take a look, enjoy the silliness and take the game’s message with you as it delivers a good message to the player. What that message is? I won’t tell. I rather the player experience despair of not knowing and finding hope as they play the game. 🙂

– Til next time, Mgs2master2 out.

Wrap-Up:
Intro/Story score: 4/5; The story is good and hilarious at times. You will become invested in particular characters and hope they aren’t the “blackened”. Only issues I had is the difficulty curve that just immediately jumps after the first case, espcially in Danganronpa 2.
Gameplay score: 5/5; Danganronpa 1•2 Reload are the type of games I love playing, some of my favorite genre. You get a story, gameplay, and your gameplay choices actually matter. You will become invested emotionally, and want to keep going. I can tell you about the times I stayed up til 3-4 in the morning playing this game simply because the game was addictive to play.
Visual Score: 3/5; Fun to look at, and fits this type of game. However, I did have some odd glitches that occurred in the game which broke my immersion in the game.
Audio Score: 5/5; One thing I always look for, usually the first thing, is the soundtrack and sound overall. Danganronpa 1•2 Reload has a very good soundtrack. In addition, it may have been one of the best on PS Vita when it came out at the time.
Replay Value: 5/5; Provides multiple modes and a few multiple endings. The multiple modes is where it is at in my opinion.
Fun Factor score: 5/5; Danganronpa 1•2 Reload was fun from beginning to end with both games. I have no complaints in this department. I enjoyed the ride from beginning to end as well as the extra modes.

Final Score: 27/30 (9/10); One of the most fun experiences I had from a remaster in some time. If you missed it first time around, I suggest getting it now.

About Mgs2master2

Mgs2master2
A gamer and jack of all trades. I enjoy many things, but overall just enjoying life. Hopefully, I can add enjoyment to your life through my articles or interactions.

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