Danganronpa Decadence (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Justin Prinsloo 28.12.2021 2

Review for Danganronpa Decadence on Nintendo Switch

Danganronpa has been insidiously stealing hearts for over a decade now. Spike Chunsoft's controversial and macabre visual novel series chronicles multiple groups of students attempting to escape a ruthless killing game orchestrated from the shadows, with a narrative whose twists and turns have made it an iconic experience for gamers the world over. The 3 mainline entries - all of which are included in this Danganronpa Decadence bundle - don't pull any punches in their grizzly story and dark tone. In truth, it's about time that this sinister series made its way onto the Nintendo Switch. So, how does the port hold up?

Danganronpa Decadence earns its definitive status with the sheer amount of content on offer. The bundle includes all 3 mainline entries in the series: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. Also included in the bundle is a bonus entry, Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp, an original experience no doubt intended to re-entice longtime fans of the series. All 4 titles are available individually for digital purchase on the Nintendo eShop, while the Decadence bundle is physical-only but doesn't contain any content missing from the digital versions. So, if you're buying digitally, don't worry about missing out on anything.

Screenshot for Danganronpa Decadence on Nintendo Switch

For those unfamiliar with the franchise, Danganronpa is a dark, twisted and insatiably moreish beast. Each entry tasks you with escaping a "killing game" that is being orchestrated from the shadows by the devious ursine villain, Monokuma. This murderous yin-and-yang-themed teddy bear has trapped the protagonist, along with a group of other students, and the only hope for them to escape is to kill one of their party without being found out by each other. The setting and cast may change for each of the 3 main entries, but the macabre tone and dark humour never let up.

The result is a bizarre cocktail of an experience that sets itself apart from every other visual novel out there. To progress through the story, you must solve murders as they crop up, all of which are brilliantly set up with solutions that are seldom obvious. Each chapter culminates in a Class Trial, in which you must present the evidence for the given murder and deduce from it who the true killer is to avoid execution.

The multiple arcs throughout each title are exceedingly well-constructed and remain compelling to each and every bitter end without exception. The less that's said, the better - if you're a fan of murder mysteries, beautifully written characters and a healthy dose of intrigue that never gives too much away, Danganronpa is just the treat for you. While the dark and gruesome subject matter may put off those looking for a lighter experience, the Danganronpa titles are a testament to the power of the detective genre when done right, with a remarkably consistent output throughout each entry.

Screenshot for Danganronpa Decadence on Nintendo Switch

All 3 entries, from 2010's Trigger Happy Havoc to the more recent Killing Harmony, hold up remarkably well in this day and age. Visually, they're simplistic but stylish, with a unique flair that while crude never fails to be engaging. The writing, meanwhile, is so fantastic that it's likely to never be out of date, with a strong English localisation and great voice acting in both Japanese and English.

Narratively speaking, some compelling observations are made on the nature of hope and despair throughout the series, observations that seemingly only become more relevant as the years roll by. While the questionable morals of some of the main characters push things a little too far at points, the story manages to balance on the line for the most part due to its downright scientific balance of dread and humour.

The result is a series of well-earned and satisfying payoffs that play out through each title. As a catalogue of visual novels, Danganronpa Decadence complements the portability of the Switch beautifully, with only the glaring lack of touch controls - a feature that would work very well here - detracting from the sturdiness of the port. That aside, it's a mystery why it took so long for these titles to appear on the hybrid console in the first place.

Screenshot for Danganronpa Decadence on Nintendo Switch

Of Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp, however, there's sadly not much to write home about. It's non-canon and non-essential, amounting to little more than fan service that only the most eager followers will get anything out of. In short, it consists of a board-game-like experience wherein characters from all 3 mainline entries engage with each other on an island paradise, where the player is tasked with collecting artwork and gallery-like interactions between the cast members. It's a grind-heavy slog that acts as a fun diversion and little else, but isn't so far-gone that it detracts from the bundle as a whole.

After all, what's on offer is outstanding value for money, with easily 100 hours of playtime between the 4 games. It's a shame that there's not more original content and that more wasn't done to acclimatise the experience to the Nintendo Switch, but the Danganronpa titles are good enough as is that this is hardly a major sticking point. Newcomers to the series - this is the perfect point to jump on at. For longtime fans, don't expect anything revolutionary like a wholesale remaster; this is the same Danganronpa you've come to know and love. But, after all, what's wrong with that?

Screenshot for Danganronpa Decadence on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Danganronpa Decadence bundles together the 3 main entries in the series, along with the original Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp. While Danganronpa S is undeniably the weakest of the titles, the other 3 entries hold up wonderfully by virtue of their exceedingly well-constructed plots and strong writing. They run great on the Switch, as well, making this bundle an excellent purchase for those who haven't yet experienced the gripping tales of despair that only the Danganronpa franchise can tell.

Developer

Spike Chunsoft

Publisher

Spike Chunsoft

Genre

Visual Novel

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I got the first game for free on PC, but never had chance to try and didn't fancy forking out for the rest... but this bundle on Switch is now high on my radar, especially after reading this review! Thanks for the recommendation Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I WAS a big fan of DR. But for how bloated, long and downright stupid the 3rd story is, I utterly gave up on the series, and this is after thinking dr1 and dr2 were very good.

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