It’s always weird to play the sequel to a game and THEN play the first game. That’s exactly what happened with Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc for me. I made my return to the first game to end up trapped within Hope’s Peak Academy with the only way out to be to kill.
In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc you are placed in the role of a student accepted into the prestigious Hope’s Peak Academy. Hope’s Peak Academy is a school that only accepts the best of the best and you can only get in through invitation. Makoto Naegi, the character you play as, was accepted by luck and is thus dubbed the “Ultimate Lucky Student.” Makoto and the other Ultimates of his class have no clue what truly awaits them at Hope’s Peak Academy.
Without going into too many spoilers, I can say the story was quite fantastic. It kept me going through to the end, though it was a bit on the short side. This was, of course, with having played the sequel (Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair) first so I knew what some of the big “plot” reveals were. Despite knowing some of the big plot reveals I still wanted to see how they actually ended up playing out. While some of the later parts felt slightly rushed, they were still quite good.
The trials themselves felt much better than in the sequel honestly. Perhaps it was because they were easier but the fact they were shorter helped a lot. It honestly makes me question some of the changes made in the sequel towards trials. Hangman’s Gambit, I felt, was so much nicer in this game. Overall though, while it’s not truly fair to compare to the sequel, I do feel like the trials were handled much better in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc in terms of length. Granted, there are some parts in the sequel where trials were better but again it isn’t really too fair to compare.
It would appear some things I had issue with in the sequel were also there in the first game. The somewhat hit or miss voice acting can feel a little off putting, though oddly it didn’t feel as bad as in the sequel. Perhaps that was just due to the game being a bit shorter.
Outside of the main story, like they also did in the sequel, you can go into School Mode to see a “what if” scenario. There’s also presents to collect, though they have less uses in that their main use is only to give to your fellow classmates to improve your relationships. These are nice to have in, though the vending machine to get your items could’ve definitely done with not being as slow (thankfully fixed in the sequel).
Overall, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a fantastic title on it’s own. Pair it with the recent sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, and you have an amazing story of hope and despair just waiting to be told. Should you be wanting to get into the series I HIGHLY suggest picking up the first game before you get the second one! While you can jump into the second one without playing the first (I did), there are some heavy spoilers. And while you’ll likely still want to go find out the truths in the first game, there’s still a (slight) loss of satisfaction finding out the truth for the first time in Trigger Happy Havoc. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc definitely gets a very strong recommendation though, so if you have a Vita and are looking for a good visual novel/mystery game to play, be sure to pick both games up!
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Review Score