i finally finished the game after about a full 24 hours of gameplay. i'll be honest, it certainly was long enough to be worth playing, although with some caveats
my thoughts: the game is a masterpiece, but a disjointed one. the main character, komaru, is a bit of a moeblob, a stereotypical anime schoolgirl and for the first three quarters of the story, she's just… boring. it wasnt until the reveal that her parents were shown to be murdered by the antagonist and she seriously considered blowing up all the children in towa city
that she had any form of character. i was kind of hoping there'd be two endings, one which has you succeed junko
and the other which has the stereotypical happy ending. with how many times i chose the "bad ending" up until that point, it was so disappointing to not see it at least shown in more detail after the final battle, like if you just give in completely and become evil. that would've been so cool
the cutscenes are great, as usual for danganronpa. i hate to say that seeing people get extravagantly executed is one of the most fun part of the series, but it's kinda true. there's even scenes which are entirely animated like an anime and those really spice up the somewhat dated 3d graphics of everything else, although every danganronpa game ive played so far has the problem of having kinda dated graphics in normal gameplay, which obviously can be forgiven.
another point, i don't know what was lost in translation because this was the only exclusively dubbed version i've played, but they do speak awkwardly at points. talking about hope and despair, they obviously talk about it as some kind of philosophical concepts, but then there's also points where they couldve said "hopeless" instead of "despaired", or "desparate", or "optimistic" or "hopeful" instead of talking about hope itself. i think this is mostly just a result of translation, however, because it's a recurring thing in all the games.
in terms of the tone, it was hard to take the game seriously until it started getting serious and the writers started figuring out what they were going for
. i think in terms of tone, DR 1 is still the best in terms of believability. it had obvious engine limitations and was a closed setting, so it had to rely on good writing and mystery to carry itself, though this reliance was still spiced with cool executions. i think the later games had trouble with some kind of identity crisis, and this one seems to have that problem. it really felt like a dead space or RE4 clone at times, not that it's a bad thing.