Hey, doods! It’s your humble Prinny David from NIS America here to school you with a cohesive thesis on our upcoming title, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc — a revised and revamped edition of the very first Danganronpa that appeared on PSP in Japan in 2010. The game is set to release on February 11th in North America, exclusively on PS Vita — just in time for Valentine’s Day! You guys ready to fall in love with some ultimate brutality?
In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, you take on the role of Makoto Naegi — an excruciatingly ordinary teenager who one day finds himself accepted into Hope’s Peak Academy. This is an ultra-prestigious school meant only for the best and the brightest and basically anyone but the ordinary. Some of Makoto’s fellow classmates include Leon, the Ultimate Baseball Star; Chihiro, the Ultimate Programmer; and Sayaka, the Ultimate Pop Sensation, so what’s a guy like Makoto doing here?
Looks like Makoto’s got enough to deal with trying to find his place amongst Japan’s teen elite, but things get a little tougher when he suddenly falls unconscious and finds himself rudely awakened by an evil black and white robot bear calling himself Monokuma. He announces to the students that they’re all locked in, and the only way out is to kill another student and get away with it. Pretty much the beginning of every high school movie ever. There’s a catch, though – if you get outed as the killer, then you’ll face Monokuma’s deadly punishment, and if you do get away with murder, you’ll be dooming your other classmates to death.
Still, it doesn’t take long before your classmates start scrabbling for the outside and end up killing each other in the process. So much for the best of the best! Now it’s up to you to investigate each murder, hold forth in trial, and discover the psycho bear’s ultimate motive so you can escape from this forsaken high school.
The gameplay is similar to the investigative nature of the Phoenix Wright series, with a dash of 999 and Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward storytelling thrown in. You’ll begin each chapter in “Daily Life” mode, roaming the campus and speaking with your fellow classmates to find out what makes them tick. The more you get to know characters, the better your relationship with each of them will be, which can be improved by giving them gifts you think they’d like.
You might think, “Why would I need to be friends with these people? I just wanna get out of here!” and you could do that, but improving relationships unlocks skills, which come into play a little later.
After this benign period of how-do-you-do, someone always ends up a little murdered, and you’re quickly thrust into the investigative mode of “Deadly Life.” During this time, you’ll utilize the analog sticks or tap the touch screen to scour the school and crime scenes for clues. You’ll need to pay attention to every detail and conversation you have here, because once you’ve gathered enough evidence on what went down, Monokuma will gather all the students and begin…
The class trial. This is where you’ll employ all your gumshoe work in some fast-paced rounds of timing- and rhythm-based minigames. Your classmates will try to come at you with misinformation, but you’ll literally shoot their words down with Truth Bullets — facts that you’ve gained to dispute their lies. Now remember those skills I mentioned earlier that you gain from relationships? Here’s your chance to use them! You can equip skills like “Robot Jock,” which increases your Truth Bullet rate of fire, or “Lost in Thought,” which increases trial time limits — all to aid you in your quest for the truth.
As you hone in on a suspect, they’ll become more and more defensive and the gameplay will switch to a rhythm-based section where you’ll tap a button or the screen in time to clear the air of their protestations. Throw in some word puzzles and crime scene comics and you’ve got yourself the most high-stakes mock trial high school’s ever seen!
As you unmask the killers, you’ll raise even more questions. What’s the real story behind Hope’s Peak Academy? Why does this murderous little bear hate high school kids so much? And could there be an even more sinister force behind this twisted game…? Steel yourself against falsehoods and arm yourself with the facts — surviving high school has never been this deadly.
Keep an eye out for Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc in February, and remember: “One truth prevails!” Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to put on my deerstalker cap and investigate who stole my sardines…
Until next time — Prinny out, dood!