Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE – A murder mystery in need of conviction

The Danganronpa franchise, spearheaded by creator Kazutaka Kodaka, has endured an afterlife far beyond its humble origins as a PSP murder investigation and school life simulator run by a maniacal two-tone bear. It shows what good writing and character design can get you. Characters like Junko Enoshima are perhaps more recognisable today for their place in TikTok cosplay circles and Tumblr discussions than for the games they came from.

The power of online fandom is intertwined with Danganronpa’s legacy, where even minor characters are beloved and memorable because of how clearly-defined their personalities and motives are from visuals alone. As a result, a dedicated fan base latched onto the game’s unique psycho-philosophical clash of hope and despair. Even now he’s left the series behind to found Too Kyo games with his good friend, and fellow cult creator, Kotaro Uchikoshi, experiences like Death Come True and World’s End Club, while of mixed quality, retain Kodaka signature violent rumination on justice.

Still, as those are smaller experiences, it’s hard not to view Master Detective Archives: Rain Code as the return of Kodaka, his first major release since the end of the Danganronpa trilogy in 2017. Rather than throwing a bunch of unhinged schoolkids into a tightly-controlled environment where their only means of escape is the successful murder of their friends, we’re in for a fantasy-mystery adventure. This is a game that blends Ace Attorney’s investigative intrigue with Persona-esque Mystery Labyrinths, all channeled through the stylistic filter of the creator’s iconic hit franchise.

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