Moving to a shooter is an odd move for a murder mystery visual novel series but from playing through the opening section of the game, it’s unmistakably a Danganronpa game through and through.
The first thing that struck me was how well the game has made the transition to 3D. Characters look great and are faithfully recreated from their artwork while still keeping the unique look the series is known for. There are cutscenes in the style of the original game as well as regular anime cutscenes. You start off playing as Komaru Naegi, the younger sister of Makoto from the first game. Following that, it doesn’t take long for Monokuma to appear and start causing the chaos and despair that he does so well.
I found it more eerie to see Monokuma interacting in the real world than in the closed spaces of the previous games. In the original games, Monokuma’s executions were shocking at first but eventually became so outrageous they lost their shock value. However, watching Monokuma roam the streets and go on a murdering spree with pink blood galore brought a lot of that shock value back.
As the army of Monokuma continue on their murdering spree, Komaru is eventually targeted and is forced to run and hide for her life. Eventually, she is greeted by a familiar face to returning players and is given a hacking gun that can take out the Monokuma she is facing.
Another Episode loses the first-person perspective and goes for a third-person view. Using the left shoulder button you aim and then use the right shoulder button to fire. In true Danganronpa fashion, you can fire different types of truth bullets each having a different firing style or effects. Overall, I was reminded of playing The 3rd Birthday on PSP.
Later on, Komaru meets Toko Fukawa who should be very familiar to returning players. Toko is more of a melee fighter with quick attacks, using her scissors to slice through the surrounding Monokuma. The opening chapter introduces a lot of new and familiar characters, as well as some characters I didn’t expect to see in the game.
While I was a bit worried about how the game would play and turn out, all my worries have gone away. Despite the change of gameplay, it still feels and looks like Danganronpa and from seeing the set up, I’m in despair until I can play more.