Though the experience is short, Cyber Danganronpa VR: The Class Trial is incredibly entertaining. In its short runtime, The Class Trial makes me want a whole series of Danganronpa VR titles.
Cyber Danganronpa VR: The Class Trial
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Platform: PS4 – PSVR (reviewed)
As one of my favorite modern franchises, Danganronpa‘s unexpected jump to VR was an exciting one for me. The idea of staring the fiendishly charming Monokuma in the face is simultaneously unsettling and exhilarating, especially in the franchise’s famously morbid courtroom. The Class Trial completely delivers, despite its surprisingly short runtime (even by VR game standards).
Taking place at the beginning of the original Danganronpa‘s fourth case, The Class Trial puts you (literally) in the shoes of main character Makoto Naegi. You’re introduced to the game by the malicious Monokuma, the mascot and recurring villain of the series. After a very brief introduction to the controls, you’re thrust into the fray of the trial. Though you only hear two points from the long trial, people who have played Danganronpa before will immediately recognize exactly what’s happening, though it will be slightly confusing, and spoiler-filled, for people who have yet to play the title.
The gameplay is very similar to that of the original game, but majorly simplified for the convenience of VR. The funniest part of The Class Trial is how it embraces the cartoonish-ness that normally takes something of a backseat to some form of realism in previous Danganronpa games. When characters yell phrases, the text flies out of their mouths, becoming enormous blocks of colorful words. As they argue, characters will jump on, smash, and throw one another’s word bubbles in the silliest ways possible. It makes for a fun experience that stays light and silly for its fifteen minute runtime.
Unfortunately, The Class Trial is only ten to fifteen minutes long, most of which is non-interactive cutscenes. This isn’t as big of an issue as it may sound, as the experience describes itself as a demo, for a currently non-existent full game, and you get just enough out of the “demo” to be floored and excited for more.
The best part of the demo lies in one of the non-interactive cutscenes: your execution. Danganronpa is known for its ridiculous, over-the-top, and needlessly complex Saw-like execution scenes, and The Class Trial lets you experience the despair of an execution first-hand. You get to experience Naegi’s supposed execution from the full game, while being unable to do anything about it. It’s a fantastic showcase of what VR can do, and a nice bit of fanservice for longtime fans.
The visuals are exceptional, serving as accurate 3D replicas of the core series’s 2D character art. Monokuma moves and dances in a purposely unnerving way that makes him feel a bit too real, meaning his portrayal is particularly well-done. The music is made up of fantastic tracks from the game, while the voice acting is great, especially Monokuma’s.
The Final Word
The Class Trial Danganronpa VR is a grand showcase of what VR can do for games outside of the horror/simulator genres. While it’s incredibly short, it’s a fun little romp for Danganronpa fans, and it makes me hope for a full VR Danganronpa title one day.