(Hey Zero or anyone with more NW know-how, can you make this thread like the official game thread thingy? I always forget how to do that, thanks!)
Between this collection and Famicom Detective Club and The Great Ace Attorney, 2021 has really been a big year for visual novels on the Switch!
And like with those past games, it's time for a dedicated thread so that we can discuss the wild and weird world of Monokuma and the unfortunate youths he decides to torment. This is my first foray into this series, and I'm only a few hours into the first game (nearing the end of the second case) but I'm having a good time. It really feels like a cross between Ace Attorney, Zero Escape, and Persona, so if that sounds like a magical cocktail to you, make no hesitation in seeking this out.
Pro-tip though: the physical version contains all four games for $60 while buying them all separately on the eShop will run you $80. Get physical if you can!
I'll save my in-depth (spoiler-marked) thoughts for later, but have any of you started this, or played them on the PSP/Vita?
General thoughts: I'm enjoying this! It's really gotten under my skin, in fact, and I find myself thinking about it while drifting off to sleep. The cast seems kind of archetypal at first but most of them have some sort of twist or surprise under the surface that helps them stand out. I like the alterations to the Ace Attorney formula as well, most notably the setup where you start with a large cast and it gradually diminishes. You really get the feeling that no one is safe (from either being a victim or a murderer) and the "Survivor"-style approach gets you to really warm up to the ones who stick around.
Like in the Zero Escape series, I also enjoy hearing the characters' various reactions and discussions on their situation, ranging from disbelief, to panic, to calm reasoning.
I've just finished the third case and am curious to see where things go next. Here are my thoughts on Case 1 (SPOILERS):
The one thing I had spoiled for me going into this series was that Sayaka was a victim. But I was surprised to see it happen so soon considering how the game was playing up her budding relationship with the main character. The big twist at the end of this case that she had manipulated Makoto in order to gain his trust was a pretty gutsy move and helped instill a sense of paranoia in the player. This also retroactively fixed something that bothered me up to that point--that Sayaka's friendliness with Makoto felt really sudden and forced. Because it deliberately was! Well played, Danganronpa...
That said, the 11037 thing was immediately obvious to me. Like, the very instant it came on screen I knew what it said. I can't be the only one right?
Also, Leon's execution was just plain brutal. What a way to go. I definitely think Sayaka was the more twisted one between the two victims in this case, although Leon wasn't without fault either of course. I guess he felt he had to finish the job because he was worried Sayaka would go for him again at some point.
Well, this game was pretty addictive as it turns out. I've already beaten it! The first Danganronpa, anyway. Now I'm poking around in the silly (but kinda fun) school mode bonus to learn more about the characters. All in all, a really solid title even if it suffered from a few issues common in this genre (some weird hoops you have to jump through even when you know the problem, an overly-long, explain-y ending, a very "anime" feel for better or worse).
Thoughts on Case 2:
This one just made me sad. Chihiro is the most innocent character in the bunch and ends up having the most grisly death. Having to be Byakuya's "assistant" made me dislike him immensely and I really hoped he'd be the killer. (I ended up sort of warming up to him eventually) It's hard to really care for Mondo's sob story given the circumstances of the murder...and the fact that after case 1, anyone killing a fellow student is also guilty of attempting to kill the rest of us. Ultimately, a dreary and unpredictable case. I largely enjoyed it.
@Secret_Tunnel It's the three main numbered entries, plus a party game featuring all the different characters. I haven't played it but I think it was described as Mario Party-esque? But I can't confirm that.
This collection does not include Ultra Despair Girls, which is actually fairly important to the overall plot from what I remember. But you definitely don't need to really play that to understand what's going on. This also does not include the anime sequel, "Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School" that concludes the story of the first two games.
I'm slightly concerned about all these spinoffs and stuff being necessary for the whole story. I kinda like the original game's plot just as its kind of standalone thing. *END GAME SPOILERS* That includes the fact that we don't actually get a reveal on what the world is currently like, which is a neat connection with the game's running theme of hope. I'm a little worried that playing the next games will result in a storyline that gets a little too big in scope. But we'll see!
In the meantime, my thoughts on Cases 3 and 4:
Case 3 is one that my wife and sister-in-law were able to predict, but I was kept guessing. Overall I enjoyed this one quite a bit too; the goofy nature of the big robot suit reminded me a little of the Ace Attorney Steel Samurai stuff. I actually think they killed off my boy Taka too soon (more on that later). For a while I thought Hiro was the spy since he was so much older than the other kids and that felt a little suspicious. Also, we barely knew much about him up to that point.
Case 4 is my favorite in the game, and ended with the most emotionally-affecting sequence too. I was really on edge and worried that Hina (my favorite character) would be the killer, but I was glad that the game recognized how out-of-character that was and my own theory ended up being the truth. Sakura is a good character and her message and the subsequent shifting of power was really compelling to watch. Suddenly, the group feels more united against a common enemy, even tremendous butthole Byakuya. I think the last chunk of the game didn't quite live up to this sequence, but I still found it satisfying.
Been too long since I posted here! I've since finished off DR1 and played through DR2 in its entirety. Some thoughts! Blacked-out stuff is pretty big spoiler things so watch out.
DR1: I think this game kind of fell off a little bit during the end. When you get down to it, the final three trials (half of the game) all use the same six characters. And like with so many reality shows, it felt like some one-note characters survived through the whole game while some more well-defined ones got knocked off early. All in all though, I did really enjoy this game and its grim-yet-funky vibes. I can see why it's got a cult following.
DR2: Went bigger and louder in most ways, not always to the game's benefit. Its cast is interesting in that my favorite characters in the series so far (Gundham and Fat Byakuya) and my least-favorite characters (Teruteru and Hiyoko) are all from this game. Hiyoko in particular deserves special mention--what a thoroughly detestable person. So unlikeable and almost ruined the game for me with her mean-spirited comments around Case 2. But DR2 actually gets a little better as the game goes on, with one character in particular (Fuyuhiko) starting off unbelievably volatile but becoming pretty decent at the end. By and large I think the cast leaned too mean-spirited in DR2, at least to start.
Still a good game overall though, even if I prefer the first. The cases were really hard to figure out this time--I only correctly guessed the fifth one. I liked how tricky the scenarios were, even if they sometimes got a bit convoluted.
Let's talk about the best character: Gundham Tanaka! What a hilarious performance and an inspired character. I couldn't get enough of this guy and his beautiful gibberish. It's vintage Danganronpa ridiculousness executed perfectly!
I donít remember anything about being too mean spirited, but itís been a while since I played it. I mean, itís a game about kids killing people, lol. I do remember hating Teruteru, though I think some of his quotes have somehow worked itís way into Amandaís and my inside joke repertoire.
I will say this in defense of the characters though. I feel like often, the victims and murderers are the ones who get the most development, because they have whole backstories, motivations, etc that revolve around their stories. So, it kind of makes sense that we we know a lot about what makes certain characters tick, because they get a good amount of the spotlight. Not saying itís any excuse for why some characters arenít as developed, though it does make sense to me why we know a lot about certain characters.
I still havenít watched the Danganronpa 3 anime, which IS canonical to the games. I would probably watch that and maybe get caught up on Ultra Despair Girls as well.
@TriforceBun - Yeah, I really didn't like Hiyoko because of that. But I did really enjoy the twist that the students in DR2 were essentially the villains in a botched rehabilitation effort; it made it more understandable why so many of the characters had more mean-spirited, oblivious, or invasive tendencies than the first game's cast.
I started to watch the DR3 anime on some website that was (legally) streaming them but then hit a paywall around the time I began losing interest. (And I couldn't figure out the timeline of whether it was happening before or after DR2 without looking it up. It doesn't really feel like it fits perfectly either way based on DR2's ending.)
I think I'm taking a bit of a break from the franchise before diving into DRV3. But hopefully it's as interesting as the first two despite not really being connected.
That's true, a couple of the murderers in DR2 were way more likable than the victims. (big spoilers) In fact, my favorite character is technically a murderer (case 4) and my least-favorite is a victim, and I imagine case 5 would apply to a lot of people in that way as well. I did think Monokuma's ruling in case 5 was total BS though, especially for a character that's supposed to be bound by the rules. Same with case 5 in DR1, come to think of it...
I considered watching the anime, but there's no easy way to do it and I don't think I'm quite into this series enough to want to chase down all the supplemental material etc (DR1's like a 9/10, DR2 probably more like an 8/10 for me). I have started V3 though, only a couple hours in and it's basically what I expected so far. Some nifty little polished aspects that make the conversations a bit more lively. Early character highlights for me are Gonta and Kaede. Though it seems like there's always one character they include that de facto has to be more vulgar than those in any previous game, eh?
GOSH. The first case of Danganronpa V3 was really somethin'. I had to stay up late to finish it.
They say that "it's always the last person you suspect," but that's never actually true in gaming VNs. But, for the first time ever, it actually did apply to this game. I didn't for a second imagine they'd make the protagonist the killer, especially when we're privy to her inner thoughts. While the murder itself was a bit contrived (all those books!), it was really an amazing twist and blindsided me like only a few other games have (AA2, Spirit of Justice, Baten Katos). For that alone, I have to give it major props and between that and the emotional denouement, it's probably the best case in the series for me.
That said, it also broke my heart, because man. She was probably my favorite character at that point.
The bar has been set pretty high thus far. Let's see if the rest of V3 can measure up. I'm rather enjoying this cast right now, even without the first case's killer.