The premise for this game feels like that party game where everyone tells a separate part of a story. One of the players wants a slice-of-life high school story where a lucky but otherwise painfully ordinary student named Makoto Naegi is enrolled into the most prestigious academy in the country, where the next player then says it’s populated by “Ultimates”, high schoolers who are the very best at what they do, such as the Ultimate Programmer, the Ultimate Martial Artist, the Ultimate Affluent Progeny, the Ultimate Fanfic Creator and more. And then there's that guy (you know the guy) who has everyone trapped inside the school building with a diabolic sadist under a monochrome teddy bear guise turning the entire story into a thinking man's Battle Royale. The story then continues with “slice-of-life” player trying to develop some humanity, “ultimate” player trying to give the characters some distinction and that guy trying to make for some interesting murder mysteries, with twists so grand, you would have thought the game would have broken the fourth wall by now. This does help make for more engagement in the story, with developments that help rack up the game's lust for “despair”, a word so prominent in the series, Kingdom Hearts told them to turn down the repetition, then Danganronpa said something about pots, kettles and the colour black.
The gameplay is where I start to get the impression Japan has a weird impression of the Western audience. Stop me if you heard this one, in this visual novel, you investigate murders by collecting up crime scene evidence and then square off in cross-examinations with testifying parties until you actually find the real killer. Granted, that is only one half of Danganronpa's gameplay, but the fact that there are two visual novel franchises that have found success in the West, both focusing on solving murders, leaves me worried that the Japanese think we have some kind of fetish for violence and justice.