Danganronpa 1 & 2 Reload Review: A Powerful Visual Novel Worth Experiencing

NIS America
NIS America /

Danganronpa 1 & 2 Reload arrives on PS4 and gives the Sony console a powerful, narrative-driven visual novel that will entertain players from start to finish.

Developer: Spike

Publisher: NIS America

Platforms: PS4 (Version Reviewed), PS Vita, PSP, PC

Release Date: March 14, 2017

NIS America is known for publishing quirky and non-traditional video games, and Danganronpa is one of the most unique and oddly satisfying releases to come from the company in recent years. Despite the franchise having started back in 2010 on the PSP, the series is still relatively new to the western market. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc was the series’ first introduction to the American market and was released for PlayStation Vita in 2014. With 2017 now upon us, Danganronpa looks to hypnotize a new audience with its peculiar tale as Danganronpa 1 & 2 Reload releases for PS4.

If you didn’t own a PS Vita, but have a PS4 and enjoy visual novels with a disturbing focus on murder, mystery, and high school drama, then Danganronpa 1 & 2 Reload will satisfy. In its jump to the PlayStation 4, the game’s visuals have been improved as character models are more detailed and the art looks crisper. Some of the environmental textures are blurry, but that is the game’s only real blemish.

The game has the power to stimulate your mind as it keeps you entertained with clever writing and an exceptional cast of shady characters. The students of Hope’s Peak Academy have little to look forward to, as misery is the theme of the school year, and class topics revolve around murder and uncertainty.

…The atmosphere of the game becomes grim as the shadow of despair and suspicion consumes the minds of the characters and the player

In spite of the fetching narrative, Danganronpa 1 & 2 Reload starts off slow and gradually builds up as tension and character development increases. As with any well-told story, you must first form a bond with the characters as you learn about their background and form a connection with their personalities. Once the foundation of the storyline is laid, the pace increases as characters are murdered and the atmosphere of the game becomes grim as the shadow of despair and suspicion consumes the minds of the characters and the player.

Danganronpa 1•2 Reload
NIS America /

This feeling of suspicion will carry on with you into the more interactive portions of the game wherein you inspect murder scenes and search areas for valuable information. After searching the crime scene and gathering evidence, you will participate in a Class Trial and use the material collected to build a strong case against the murder suspect.

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The manner in which this is conducted is as unique as the game itself. When a student provides a statement that isn’t truthful, you shoot Truth Bullets at the weak points of their testimony and provide evidence to illustrate the inaccuracy of said comment. You will also piece together comics to expose the manner a murder occurred, and play other mini-games to put key information together. It is entertaining to solve puzzles in order to present the strongest case possible, and it will provide you with a feeling of achievement when you are proven right. Each trial has a distinct feel as your connection to characters play a role in your judgment.

There is some pressure to get things right. If you fail the case and get it wrong, everyone is killed and the murderer is set free.

The visual novel genre of video games is one of limited appeal, but Danganronpa does well in welcoming newcomers due to its blend of game styles. Those familiar with the eccentric Persona series will feel comfortable in the setting of Danganronpa as the characters and strange events share similarities in both feel and presentation. Equally, fans of detective games similar to the Phoenix Wright franchise or other point-and-click driven adventures will find Danganronpa an appealing proposal as you investigate suspicious characters and participate in murder trials. When partnered with well-developed characters and astute writing, the experience is one that will fascinate and keep the player engaged for the entirety of the game.

. Danganronpa 1 & 2 Reload. 8.5. Danganronpa 1 & 2 Reload provides a powerful and gripping experience that will keep players addicted from the opening sequence until the final credits begin to roll. If you enjoy disturbing visual novels, odd characters, and solving murders, then Danganronpa 1 & 2 Reload is well worth experiencing.. NIS America

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.