Review cover Danganronpa Decadence (Nintendo Switch)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

  • Release Date (NA): December 3, 2021
  • Release Date (EU): December 3, 2021
  • Publisher: Spike Chunsoft US
  • Developer: Spike Chunsoft
  • Genres: Adventure

Game Features:

Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative
The despair-ridden trilogy finally makes its way to the Switch, but is it the port I always hoped for?

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As a site we've talked about the Danganronpa series a lot. Favourably reviewing the first two games on Vita, as well as, surprising to some, Ultra Despair Girls, and giving the whole series a recommendation, it's clear there's a lot to love. My relationship with the series has been a rocky one. Originally playing a fan translation of the first game on the PSP, I fell in love with the cast of Super Duper High School students and the murder game genre. Having bought the second game on Vita when it released, I tweeted my excitement, only to have a random person online ruin the plot and every killer. It sucked. I shelved the game and decided I would wait for it to come to the Switch, hopeful I'd have forgotten enough for it to feel fresh. Nine years later I'm back, and I'm loving it.

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For those who somewhat out of the loop with Danganronpa as a series, allow me to provide a brief rundown. You have a prestigious private high school called Hope's Peak that only takes in people who are the best at what they do. In my delightful fan translation these people were referred to as Super Duper High School students, though this was shortened in the official translation to just Ultimate students. You might have an ultimate baseballer, an ultimate idol, or an ultimate clairvoyant, to just name a few from the first game. Those who graduate from Hope's Peak are said to be set for life, but naturally you aren't here for another run of the mill high school visual novel. Through varying events in each title, your cast of ultimate students are trapped in a foreign environment. The only way to escape? To kill a classmate and get away with it.

Each title follows a similar structure. You have your cast of hopeful Ultimates starting out in their daily life. These are peaceful times used to advance the plot, and usually have you going from place to place in a goal-oriented and generally linear manner. Sprinkled in the daily life segment is free time, where you're able to meet up with the characters and bond with them, building relationships and giving gifts. Though you can skip free time if you're particularly engrossed in what the main story has to offer, it's invaluable to those wanting to get the most out of the game. With at least two characters dying per chapter, that is somebody being murdered and you assumedly catching the murderer, you're on a timer to get to know everybody. If you find yourself attached to one character in particular, you want to be utilising free time from the start to make sure you at least get a moment or two with them before they potentially find themselves cloaked in the florescent pink paint of death. The conclusion to each daily life section sees a character die, throwing you into the chaos of deadly life.

Deadly life is where the meat of the game lies for me, bringing about a period of investigation to piece together what happened, and ultimately, find the killer. Much like daily life, the investigative part of deadly life is fairly linear in nature. You'll get to an area and tap on all the available places to collect information, then move to the next place. Repeat until you've seen all there is to see and you move onto the finale of the chapter: the class trial. These are fantastic, and it's here you'll be tested on how much you paid attention during the investigation. Characters start by discussing the events of the murder. These conversations moving in real time, you need to pay attention and spot discrepancies. Where something sounds off, you have the ability to launch a piece of evidence from your investigation, a truth bullet, to counter it. This ends the current discussion and moves the trial forwards. The basic structure of the class trial sees you go through a number of discussions, transitioning into a fairly wide range of minigames to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. It makes for a really fun means of storytelling, with you generally not aware of the culprit from the outset. The series as a whole does an incredibly good job of presenting pieces in a way that feels satisfying to put together, even when playing on the easiest difficulty settings. By the end of the trial you point out your killer, they face their deadly punishment, and more of the map becomes available to you as a result of your victory. This additional map space keeps both daily life and the investigatory part of deadly life fresh, and allows the games to follow maintain a satisfying loop even as the cast starts to thin out.

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Each of the games find much of their success in their writing. Coming back to it again after so long I've been completely enthralled in it. It takes a special kind of series to make death and despair so contrarily comical and absurd, while not necessarily dimming down the severity of the situation. The story on offer is easy enough to follow for the most part, but keeps you on your toes with twists and turns you often realise you can piece together retrospectively. As a trilogy, they tell a fantastic tale that I hope will now reach more people thanks to the popularity of the Switch. But we have more than just a trilogy here.

Danganronpa S is the obvious outlier of this collection. It certainly isn’t your average Danganronpa game, but I can appreciate it as a bit of a bonus title. Characters from all three games featured in this collection, as well as those from Ultra Despair Girls, all gather together for a summer camp in a virtual reality world. The gameplay on offer is that of a board game in oppose to the usual murder mystery adventure you may have come to love, though it’s not entirely new, being largely an expansion of the minigame from Danganronpa V3. There’s some good bits here, but not really enough for me to recommend anybody pick this up by itself.

For those who have experienced all the series had to offer beforehand, you can think of this as one of those cross-over episodes from your favourite childhood TV shows. This is the Danganronpa equivalent to when all the Red Rangers teamed up in Power Rangers, only with a beach setting and more swim suits. It’s not a terrible concept, and the lack of murderous games means you have ample time for every character to interact in ways they’ve never had a chance to before. This is the highlight of the game. There’s a huge amount of interactions that simply weren’t possible, and as a series fan they’re great to see. Having said that, it’s a tough one to recommend playing.

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The board game isn’t fun. There isn’t really a better way to put it. You roll a dice, land on spaces, make your character’s stats go up, and then fight some bosses. Each play through lasts 50 turns, and when that time is up, the game somewhat unceremoniously ends. When you want to come back and play another round, there’s just not enough that’s different to make it interesting. You end up in a cycle of mashing A until you get a chance to see a few characters have an interesting conversation. I really wanted to like this. As one of few to defend Disgaea 5’s Chara World board game, I have been known to find fun in an otherwise mindless and monotonous board. Even compared to that it just feels lacking. Perhaps the worst part of all is that you can’t even play as your favourite character from the series, with the game implementing real-money gacha mechanics for reasons far beyond my comprehension. If you bought this game outside of the Decadence collection, you’re looking at £17.99. This isn’t a budget title. This isn’t free to play. I just don’t get it. You are drip fed coins to spend on the gacha machines as you play, but the rate at which you get them for completing associated achievements is dire.

If you pick up the collection and have Danganronpa S as a bonus, it’s just about serviceable. You can skip the drivel and enjoy the conversations fine. It is in no way worth £17.99 however. If you pay anything more than a few pounds for this I’d be surprised if you felt anything short of scammed.

Can I recommend Danganronpa Decadence? Of course I can. All three games on the Switch is something I’ve been wanting for years, and the game we got is exactly that. With the option to buy each title individually as well, those new to the series can jump in at a relatively low cost without necessarily having to commit to the whole thing. Looking past the missed opportunity that is Danganronpa S, this collection is undoubtedly one to pick up.

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • All the content of the main series in one neat package
  • Runs perfectly fine on the Switch
  • Each title available individually via digital download
What We Didn't Like ...
  • Danganronpa S is a bonus package of wasted potential
8
Gameplay
The series as a fairly standard formula that works well for it. With a gripping narrative throughout each game and well-developed characters, you're in for one heck of a ride.
9
Presentation
The graphics don't appear to have been updated since the PS Vita release many moons ago, and I still love them as I did back then. They're charming in an often menacing and unsettling way, fitting in with larger contrarian themes of hope and despair.
10
Lasting Appeal
I would usually use the lasting appeal box to discuss a game's replayability, and short of waiting a significant number of years between playthroughs as I did, I don't think this series really has that going for it. That's not a bad thing though. The characters are too memorable, the story too interesting to follow. You aren't soon going to forget it, and there's few games I've played that can demand such a presence.
9
out of 10

Overall

In this collection you have three stellar games and a bonus stocking filler. While I have my issues with Danganronpa S, it shouldn't be allowed to overshadow the brilliance of this series and the accessibility being on the Switch brings to it. Be it individually or as the Decadence collection, the Danganronpa games are ones you should check out.
You have an interesting idea of "running perfectly fine" (spoilers)


This is a Vita game btw, and not even a good looking one.
 
Ough, V3... I would place something like "The title has V3 in it" as a con. For anybody that hasn't played or doesn't know anything about this trilogy (well, they are technically four games if we inclue Despair Girls), just play V3 for fun, or don't play it at all. For your own mental health. If you like visual novels, you should play these games. I find horrendous the trial mechanic, but they are great games anyways.
 
You have an interesting idea of "running perfectly fine" (spoilers)

This is a Vita game btw, and not even a good looking one.
I was about to make a joke about "If the switch can't run this properly, then the title 'Decadence' is accurate" but welp.
Guess if it's just this part then maybe it's "Alright", but still... this dang console can barely run its own games, even the ones that are 20+ years old, lmao.

Also, whoever edited that vid, they did it on purpose to end with Junko going Sus
 
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Just started playing Trigger Happy a few days ago. I was unaware that there was an all-in-one game. I'm really enjoying the game!
 
I've heard uh. Not great things about the V3 port. DRS just seems like it's an excuse for fanservice. Imo 1 is pretty good, 2 is bad, and v3 is good, like a 6/10 overall imo.
Danganronpa 2 is my favorite of em; followed closely by 3 and with 1 being well behind but still great. They got better with each installment imo; I just like the Island setting more than that of V3's. Did you play Zanki Zero?
 
any word on overclocking for V3's trials?

whatever those are, never even played these games, was hoping to give them a shot with this collection


if not.... maybe somebody can figure something out with mods?
 
Ough, V3... I would place something like "The title has V3 in it" as a con. For anybody that hasn't played or doesn't know anything about this trilogy (well, they are technically four games if we inclue Despair Girls), just play V3 for fun, or don't play it at all. For your own mental health. If you like visual novels, you should play these games. I find horrendous the trial mechanic, but they are great games anyways.
Lol V3 is the best one
 
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Reactions: Cris1997XX
Danganronpa 2 is my favorite of em; followed closely by 3 and with 1 being well behind but still great. They got better with each installment imo; I just like the Island setting more than that of V3's. Did you play Zanki Zero?
Initially I liked 2. Then I thought about it and went "yeah this is bad".
Almost none of the cast is good or interesting. The comic reliefs are consistently unfunny and even the main main characters feel underdeveloped and boring. The cases vary widly in quality, and I'd say there is one good one. 1 is decent, 2 is whatever, 3 is god awful, 4 is great, 5 is okay. On one hand that part is fantastic. You know which one i'm talking about, top tier danganronpa. Then the trial happens and this case starts sucking. Case 6 is comically bad, I actually laughed while replaying it.
 
Lol V3 is the best one
It's the best one if you haven't played it, yeah. The only thing that made this game complete it was the almighty Kokichi Oma, because he is the best character by far of the game and probably one of the top 3 characters of the entire saga.
I am talking story-wise if it wasn't clear, and the resolution of the V3 was horrendous, to say the least.

In my opinion, I would say that from best to worst, the games are:
- Danganronpa 1: Perhaps it's because it's the first one I played (and the first one that everybody should play) of the saga and in the genre in general.
- Danganronpa 2: Except the super-saiyan explanation of X character, I think it's the best of all four games, but I feel like I prefer the first one, perhaps because it was the first one I played and it's kind of nostalgia, I don't know.
- Danganronpa UDG: Well, the overall game is garbage, but at least makes some connections between games.
- Danganronpa V3: Whoever thinks this is the best one is because it's the only Danganronpa game it has ever played or it hasn't played this one at all. I can't think a single reason why this game could be better on the ranking, and not even the best one. The first case that breaks the most important rule of the whole Danganronpa series, and the resolution... The only thing that can save this game and make it at least better than UDG is Kokichi Oma.
 
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*grabs popcorn, and waits for the trilogy to go on sale and get some patches so he can enjoy it for the first time*

I've played 999, Phoenix Wright, and Higurashi, and been told these are a mash up of those? I do wanna play them, and portable on the Switch seems like a no brainer.
 
Danganronpa is a mid-top series at best but not worth the hype. V3 was the best one because it finally ended it all.
Same argument applies. Most people who worship the series have never read another visual novel.

Kokichi sucked. Miu carried
 
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Reactions: Cris1997XX
Danganronpa is a mid-top series at best but not worth the hype. V3 was the best one because it finally ended it all.
Same argument applies. Most people who worship the series have never read another visual novel.

Kokichi sucked. Miu carried
By the way, Ace Attorney is shit too :)
 
V3's whole schtick and what Kodaka was trying to accomplish with it, and the message it leaves for the DR fandom, honestly did rub me the wrong way.. It felt almost a little bit... underhanded. However, I won't knock on the viability of this trilogy being available on the switch, All three mainline games, as well as DR:AE are all worth playing if you are new to the franchise. I'd also suggest anyone new to consider picking up the DR: 0 fangame once it releases, It's a supplemental Short Story Light Novel being made into a visual novel by some DR fanatics. Personally, I believe reading DR: 0 story adds a lot to the overarching narrative, and any Dr fan should cover it, if not in the fan game, then by reading The Light Novel(fanslation found in links) itself.

In any case, DR on switch is a win in my book. Any framerate issues will hopefully be patched at some point in the future. Sounds like it's just poor optimization.
 
Review cover
Product Information:
  • Release Date (NA): December 3, 2021
  • Release Date (EU): December 3, 2021
  • Publisher: Spike Chunsoft US
  • Developer: Spike Chunsoft
  • Genres: Adventure
Game Features:
Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

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