Hello. This will be a spoiler-filled addendum to my Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Review, if you have not read that review, please read it here. This will spoil much of the game and should be read AFTER playing the game or if you do not intend to play the game.
There’s no images here on purpose. This is just a discussion space.
Again. GO PLAY THE GAME, reading this will spoil much of the game, including the ending, and many cases. I want to discuss this but I’m being clear. BIG SPOILERS INCOMING.
FINAL WARNING SPOILERS
So I’ve said a lot in my review and here I’m going to just list thoughts and considerations of the story, gameplay mechanics and other pieces of the game that deserves to be talked about but are huge spoilers.
The game makes a big deal about how there are a lot of unknown abilities who the main character couldn’t find what they were the ultimate in. And there is only one character who is unknown in the entire class, Kyoko. Now in hindsight, you could make a case that this is because there were more than 15 people in the original class. I don’t know if that’s true, and maybe another game will show that, or deny it, but it leaves another plot hole. If there were more than 15 characters, why doesn’t the main character notice the missing students? If there wasn’t, why say there was a lot of unknown Ultimates? Was he referring to different grades? Also, no one talks about the other grades…
I want to talk about three specific trials. The first, the second, and the fifth. I could talk about all of them, but these are the important trials to me.
The first trial is excellently done. Pointing the finger immediately at the main character is brilliant because the one character we know who didn’t commit the murder in the game was the main character, even though it’s in Makoto’s room. We know why Sayaka was there and it’s excellently delivered. It also sets up the entire game so you know that the obvious first answer is never going to be the true answer. So I give this game a huge amount of kudos for how the first case is set up.
I actually expected the game to make me like someone and kill them at some point and yet I didn’t expect it to be Sayaka so suddenly, nor did I expect any of the twists in this one case, and I have to be honest, the delivery of the first case is the reason I really like this game from the beginning. Up to that point, I wasn’t sure, but the fact that Sayaka attacked someone else, and then got killed was brilliant.
I’ll also say losing three of the characters in the first case is well done, and really set the stakes for the game. Even worse, you now lost the ability to talk to three people so you can’t befriend, Sayaka, Junko or Leon. The feeling of loss was real for me, and I like that.
The second case as well is again well delivered. The fact there’s a gender swap in the case is well done and very clever. In fact, the various twists, in that case, kept me guessing, and while I could get annoyed by Genocide Jill/Jack over the course of the game, their appearance in the case was well designed, and any annoyance may have been intended.
However, there is a big problem I have with the case. Byakuya tampers with the evidence and almost gets everyone killed. You solve the case correctly, but his motivation never makes sense. Later, he seems to be scheming to win, but if he was successful in the second case, everyone dies. He claims he’d reveal his deception before he loses, but at the same time, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. This sets Byakuya up as the mastermind, sadly that’s not the twist. That is a great red herring, but the more I think about it, the odder his motivation is in the game.
Now a lot of people have complained about Schizo not being a word, or not what actually is happening to Genocide Jack/Jill. Ok, I can agree with that, but I don’t think that’s why the hangman is bad. I think just trying to guess Schizo with no clues at hard difficulty was frustrating and not that fun. The same is true later with “Hijack” and others, where if you don’t know the exact word when you start, you’re going to lose, and the fact the game doesn’t show the question or let you look at evidence makes the Hangman’s Gambit really crappy as a mechanic.
Now the fifth trial has a couple of big flaws in it. This is the trial where we find the 16th student’s dead body and it blows up. The big problem I have with this case is there is a lot of obvious evidence that it’s not Kyoko or yourself who committed the crime, but you are unable to answer questions correctly. I wanted to say that the 16th student was alive still and there’s at least one question where you could say that. However, the game doesn’t allow it.
I will talk more about the 16th student issue next but I didn’t like the fifth case as much, and the alternate ending where you can send Kyoko down is the correct choice but the game lets you do that and resets for no reason. It doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense, you just have to trust her which is fine, but it means you have to get accused. If you don’t, you can’t continue the game, but that means I have to be executed. Oddly enough if you fail that trial, you get killed, but if you succeed, you get the same punishment, though you get saved. What changed?
So let’s talk about the mastermind, the 16th student and everything. First off, I thought the game was throwing a trap at me. Only the sixteen students have set foot in the building is really specific language. I thought the true mastermind was in a wheelchair or something. I was wrong, but the fact I went out on such a limb is well done if intentional and I believe it was.
At the same time, I thought the possibility that Junko was killed twice was obvious and was a really good twist because the Ultimate Soldier sounds like the type of person who would have done that, along with tattooing something on a dead body and call it a day. The game never really made it clear the tattoo isn’t fresh, and having it on her hand doesn’t make a lot of sense as that would be a weak place to have a secret tattoo.
Instead, the twist was Junko was still alive. Now I’ll be honest, at this point, I wasn’t completely against the mastermind being Junko. It’s a weird twist, and honestly, I feel like Junko being the dead body, made more sense, but I can see the evidence against that as well. Even the fact she didn’t seem the same as magazines make sense but assuming that someone impersonated Junko is a touch too strange to really buy as she’s a major celebrity.
The problem though with Junko as the mastermind is she’s horrible after the reveal. As a character, she’s unhinged, which admittedly she should have been, but she’s not unhinged in a thoughtful way, but rather a really annoying voice-over actress way. I’m going to talk about her and really hammer the voice acting, but I want to make this clear, the voice actress who voiced Junko did a good job. However, the director and designer who made the choices for her character and the audio related to it did a horrible job. They are the ones I’m criticizing.
You see the game keeps changing her voice and personality, and it’s an interesting mechanic but it’s done too much and done as a round robin. Instead of something pushing her to act different, or like Genocide Jack sneezing, she just switches because the writer thought she should.
Worse, her entire personality becomes incredibly annoying quickly, I hated the voice, and I hated the fact that she never had a consistency. In fact, there are really only two things that hurt this game a lot. Hangman’s gambit is bad. But Junko’s mastermind is completely game-breaking for me and I dislike that trial and the ending because of how poorly it’s delivered.
But a piece of it is that Junko doesn’t have a good motivation or at least she doesn’t display it. There was the bloody room and the Tragedy. We don’t know what these are in the game and aren’t supposed to know, but Junko could have told us at least what one of the two was to help us with the motivation. Instead, we find out we’re on a reality tv show, and being tormented to make the world lose hope.
The problem is Junko was a beautiful fashionista, and her sister was a soldier. The game heavily implies that Junko’s motivation was being homeless/abused when she was young, but this said while she’s using different voices as she is constantly throwing other misinformation at us. It’s hard to believe that’s a fact, though I believe it’s been accepted.
I find it hard to believe that someone who is so filled with despair could be a fashionista. I won’t say beautiful people have perfect lives, but remember, this is the ULTIMATE DESPAIR. These two people wanted to tear down everything. That’s not really a model’s motivation, and I think someone would notice that she has a lot of problems somewhere along the way.
I will accept the soldier story to be a life of despair to an extent, but both of these characters, feel out of place. I could accept it if it was described, or delivered in a better format but the delivery of most of Junko/mastermind’s dialogue is so annoying that it’s hard to really accept it, and her motivation keeps changing. She seems to keep shifting her purpose or reasoning to throw the player off balance. It’s an interesting tactic but it also makes it hard to really understand the core of the character.
Of course, the voice acting switching almost every other sentence also hurts the character and makes it hard to side with her or even accept what she says.
So let me give you the ultimate problem with Junko. Monokuma is a great villain and I love Monokuma. However, the Junko presented, who can’t keep her emotions straight, couldn’t have played Monokuma well. Worse, Monokuma is a better villain than the real one, and it means that I’d have rather no mastermind than Junko. Sadly that’s not what happened.
I do have to say I’ve heard all three games have similar problems with the mastermind (people don’t like them, I don’t know more) and I’ll have to play the other two games to see if it’s true, but I really disliked Junko, again, at least her delivery.
In fact, that’s also the only part of the story I really will say I hated. I just didn’t enjoy the end of the final case because of Junko. Yet, 90 percent of the story was so well executed. Even the oddness of Genocide Jill should have been worse and it wasn’t, but Junko seemed to double down and ruin a near perfect story.
I want to bring up two characters from other games. Really I could talk about any final boss in Metal Gear, but especially Liquid Snake or Revolver Ocelot is a great mastermind who has a lot of exposition, but you can feel their motivation or passion and it explains the character even if it’s little cartoony.
The thing is Junko should have been more like those two characters, delivering really clear exposition, understanding of the character and situation, and revealing major plot points that changes your view of the game. In fact, she tries to do that by setting up a differing viewpoint as she created the final despair in the surviving students that you have to fight against. However, everything about Metal Gear Solid is done in a near perfect (if elongated) style, and while it’s completely different genres, both are such story driven games, a similar delivery of the motivation would have worked here. Sadly that’s not how it was done and it really hurts because I wanted to like/hate the mastermind. It just didn’t happen, instead, I just hate that part of the game.
So let’s talk about the missing plotholes in the game. As mentioned above, the lack of explanation of the Tragedy and I’ve even heard there are two of them (The Bloody Room and whatever happened outside of the school) is annoying, and I am disappointed the game leaves two major threads completely open for the sequels to fill in. In addition, I’ve heard some motivation is reexamined later. Maybe it’ll fill in the information but since it’s not here, I’m sorry, I feel like that’s a huge problem as well.
Finally, I said I’d talk about the alternate mode, and here it is. The School mode is actually a nice touch. It’s a way to build the friendships you missed the first time around and experience it. It also has an interesting resource management game that is well designed and challenging at first. To get all the endings, including bonus endings for each character it requires a couple of playthroughs. Actually, it will take more than a couple if you want to get the special ending for each character, but I found it to be too much of a time sink for me to really chase everything down.
The mode is really good and a great way to extend the time in the game, but overall I just didn’t feel like playing that much more after seeing all the friendship scripts. It doesn’t improve the game, but it’s a nice addition at the end of a fantastic story.
Those are the spoilers I wanted to talk about. Thank you for reading if you did, and I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to contact me at the top of the page, or reach out to me in any way you want to if you enjoyed this, as I might consider doing spoiler additions for heavy story based games.