In this hectic world, where everything is scary and uncertain, we all need a little something to help us escape from it all. For some, books provide a great escape, for some, they turn to art and some turn to video games.
Video games are the ultimate form of escapism. They totally immerse you in another world and help you forget about all the troubles of the world. For this review, I've chosen a game just like that. A nice, stress free game about a group of high schoolers being held captive by a group of pyschotic, robotic talking bears who force the students into a deadly killing game...see..? It's totally stress free!
Danganronpa wasn't a game I was entirely familiar with before stumbling upon it for this review so I was going into it after it being established as a popular franchise. Thankfully, the game takes mercy on new players...shame the same can't be said for those poor students. Back in my day, a bad day at school meant all the "cool kids" laughing at me for having shoulder length hair and wearing fingerless gloves with "Bullet For My Valentine" stiched on them...I'd have taken the murderous robotic bears any day, actually.
The game eases you in somewhat with a brief rundown of your character's situation. You've woken up in a school, you have no idea how you got there, and there's 15 other students in the same shitty boat as you. Oh, and there's 6 murderous robotic bears who also control giant mechs who have guns. Throw in some offbeat, almost meta dialogue from the killer bears and you've got yourself a recipe for a thoroughly bizarre adventure.
As I mentioned before, these bears want all the students to participate in a killing game. By which they mean, one student has to kill another and not get caught. This'll continue until there's only two students left. This is where things get a touch complicated, when a student is found dead, a Class Trial begins. Where the remaining students, including your character, make their cases and defend themself.
At this point, the game takes a few cues from the Phoenix Wright series. You listen to testimonies and poke holes in what they say, but here's the Danganronpa twist (great name for a dance move, by the way. Patent Pending) Instead of simply shouting "Objection" at whoever's talking. You literally have to shoot holes in their statements using Truth Bullets. You find a contridactory statement, find a truth bullet which proves them wrong then you fire away. Simple, right? Nah, because you can also use Truth Bullets to lie if the case isn't going your way. Say what you like about Japan, they don't do things by halves.
The gameplay is fairly simple for the most part. You spend a lot, and I mean a lot, of time exploring the school and building relationships with your fellow students. The game only really gets challenging during the Class Trials which are loaded with mini-games as well as the Truth Bullets sections.
The art style is probably my favourite thing about the whole game, the story is gripping and the dialogue is hilariously twisted but the way the game is drawn is what really got me hooked. It's no secret I'm a fan of all things Japanese so when I saw the manga style artwork throughout the game, I pretty much fell in love with it.
I'd suggest going back and playing the old Danganronpa games first, I plan on getting round to them and then replaying this one with all that prior knowledge. Should you decide to give this game a shot, all I'll say is prepare yourself for a slow-burning, self-referential, brutally funny and twisted, brilliant piece of art. As far as escapism goes, this is as out there as a game about high school students being forced to kill each other gets. I thoroughly recommend Danganronpa and with that it's getting a truthful 8/10.