A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Danganronpa 1-2 Reload is a collection of the first two titles in the Danganronpa macabre adventure/mystery series. It mixes together visual novel, point-and-click adventure, and mini-game, and players are challenged to solve a series of gruesome murders or risk becoming the next victim by failing to name the culprit. The game features disturbing scenes of violence and torture, including a number of grisly deaths, all committed by and against high school students. Although the game doesn't include any nudity or sex explicitly, there are a number of female characters shown provocatively, as well as direct sexual references and innuendo in the dialogue.
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What's it about?
DANGANRONPA 1-2 RELOAD collects the first two games in the series, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. Players are forced into a life-or-death game by Monokuma, a twisted remote-controlled teddy bear and the "principal" of Hope's Peak Academy. The collected students are offered one chance to escape: Murder a fellow classmate and don't get caught. Over the course of the games, players come across various crime scenes and must piece together, though investigations, who each murderer is. Choose correctly and the culprit is executed, with the surviving students continuing the game. Choose wrong and the killer goes free, while the remaining students are executed in his or her place. Can you survive the game long enough to uncover the truth and discover who is the puppet master behind Monokuma's actions? Or will you fail the ultimate final exam?
Is it any good?
While the content of these adventure/mystery games is grisly, the experience can be deep and engaging for mature players. Lots of people might say their high school years were murder, but for the students of Hope's Peak Academy, this is literally the case. If you've never heard of Danganronpa before, the best way to describe the series is to imagine Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney meets Saw, by way of Saved by the Bell. And if that sounds weirdly twisted and macabre, you're on the right track. The game's high school setting and the students' unique personalities hide the brutality of the actions taking place. Make no mistake, though. The scenes of torture, murder, and execution, coupled with the dialogue and plot of the game fall right into grindhouse territory in terms of shock value. Don't let the game's anime art style fool you -- this is most definitely not for kids.
Once you're able to look past the shock value and start digging into the actual game, the Danganronpa series is actually a deep and entertaining experience. Your observational skills are put to the test as you seek out evidence and talk to fellow students to try to sort out the clues you'll need to discover the identity of the killers. Once the Class Trials begin, you're not only tested on your detective skills, but you'll also rely on a keen sense of timing to be successful in the different mini-games and actually use your evidence. The games do a phenomenal job of starting off slowly and easing you into your role before ramping up the difficultly. By the time you've reached the end of each game, you can't help but feel a bit of pride in sussing out the truth and bringing the stories to their conclusion.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in media. What is the appeal of violence for the sake of shock value? What are some ways that violence in media can affect kids?
Talk about the effect of mature content. How does exposure to things like strong language or other mature content affect younger kids?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: NIS America
- Release date: March 14, 2017
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
- Last updated: June 24, 2020
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