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Review – Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Despair. Despair is defined as “the complete loss or absence of hope.” This is the running theme in the Danganronpa games. This is no exception in the newest entry to the series, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. You are one of the 16 students that are considered an “Ultimate” of a particular subset. In running theme, you are locked in a particular location and you have to have hope in a hopeless place to survive this nightmare. Will you and your fellow ultimates find hope to escape this nightmare, or will you succumb to despair? Read on and find out in our review of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony.

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Publisher: JPN – Spike Chunsoft; WW – NIS America; Publisher for Microsoft Windows WW – Spike Chunsoft
Producer: Yoshinori Terasawa
Artist: Rui Komatsuzaki
Writer: Kazutaka Kodaka
Composer: Masafumi Takada
Series:  Danganronpa
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, & Microsoft Windows
Release Dates: For Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita – Jan 12, 2017, for JPN; Sept 26, 2017, for NA; Sept 29, 2017, for EU; Oct 6, 2017, for AU. For Microsoft Windows – WW on September 26, 2017.
Genres: Adventure, visual novel
Mode: Single-player

*Thank you to NIS America for providing a Playstation 4 review code.*

*This review will only show screenshots from the prologue and chapter 1. There are two reasons for this. Reason one is that the game locks off any direct screen capturing after case one. That is done to prevent spoilers and for a game like Danganronpa, I respect it. Reason two is that I planned on not going beyond chapter 1 or 2 at the most for the very same reason. If you are to take a look at my past review of Danganronpa 1•2 Reload I did the same thing. A game like Danganronpa is one that revolves around mystery and discovery. To go beyond a point in terms of screenshots is doing a disservice to the developers, publishers, readers, and myself. *

Intro/Story:

From the description of Danganronpa V3 from the preorder page on Amazon and/or NISA site (using this in an alternative to the wiki which is huge spoilers, I suggest you avoid that):

The third main entry of the hit murder-mystery adventure game series, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is an all-new journey into the world of Danganronpa. As the killing game begins a third time, the line between lies and the truth has never been more blurred! Welcome to a new world of Danganronpa , and prepare yourself for the biggest, most exhilarating episode yet. Set in a “psycho-cool” environment, a new cast of 16 characters find themselves kidnapped and imprisoned in a school. Inside, some will kill, some will die, and some will be punished. Reimagine what you thought high-stakes, fast-paced investigation was as you investigate twisted murder cases and condemn your new friends to death. Forget what you thought you knew about Danganronpa and join a completely new cast of Ultimates for a brand new beginning.

This sums up the story in a nutshell without spoiling. When it is stated forget what you knew about Danganronpa, I would take that to heart. There are several twists and turns that occur into the game that the past games did not have. The story has a very similar foundation, but yet it delivers on it very differently. It is as if Spike Chunsoft wanted to breathe new life into the game. They did something similar in regards to Another Episode (the side story game). However, this is the main entry game and as such, it does breathe that fresh air into the game and franchise as a whole. It is a welcome fresh breath of air.

The franchise always had the same story with some twists and deviations in it, so while I loved the franchise as a whole of what I played, it did become somewhat predictable in some of the motions of events when they occurred. This game takes that predictability and throws it out the window. I can see this being a turn-off to some players, but I would say this is a positive change to the franchise. Not being predictable allows for more changing and value to the title. I can tell you the delivery of the story is unpredictable right from the get-go and I am sure the players will appreciate that.

To keep it familiar though, the game has the same three elements in terms of storytelling. More will be elaborated in the gameplay section, but to keep it brief it is delivered in a visual novel type style (similar to past games) in different formats. This format can be offputting considering it is not all fully voiced over, in that aspect it does this to make sure the player is engaged in the story.

Intro/Story Score: 4/5 – Danganronpa V3 could turn players off with its storytelling via visual novel style and not fully voiced over, but if the player can push through it is a treat.

Gameplay:

Gameplay in Danganronpa V3 is done in one major component, which breaks down into other parts within it. The main gameplay component is interactive visual novel. You are given free range to explore the high school which serves as your prison. Throughout the progression of the game, more of the school opens up for exploration. During your time at this wonderful despair filled academy, you are given a few options that make up more of the gameplay.

First, you are given free time. Free-time is exactly as how it sounds. You are given free periods to explore the school, hang out with the other 15 ultimate students, build relationships with them, enjoy the free time, and/or just sleep your free time away. If you take advantage of the free time, you are awarded several different things. Something as simple as increasing your skill shot spots, building a relationship, finding cool things, and much more.

Secondly, you are given the murder/investigation mode. In this mode, someone is murdered. It is up to you (others do this as well as their own pace) to investigate the scene of the crime, gather evidence, interview suspects, and anything of the sort to help discover the truth of what happened, why was said person murdered, and who murdered this person. This is key to do as you need to collect as many truth bullets (or evidence that shows the truth) to support your case.

Nextly, you are now thrown into the class trial! In the class trial, your aim is to discover the truth around the murder and find the person responsible for the action. The game pushes you into said trial by the school rules! There are rules that state that the blackened (murderer) will be able to graduate (leave the school) if they get out of the school trial Scott free. However, in contrast, if the blackened is not caught, the entire rest of the class faces punishment (execution). So the class of ultimates is thrown into this entire ordeal as a battle of survival.

Finally, story moments (I call it this). You are told where to go and what to do in order to progress the story. You are still allowed exploration but within reason. The point of this is to go from point A to point B. You still can speak to people on the way, find hidden items en route, and do other things within reason.

Personally, I feel that this is good gameplay with good storytelling elements tied into it. It works perfectly as it leaves everything to the player in terms of story and gameplay. This has always been a staple in the Danganronpa games. However, in Dangaronpa V3, there could be an argument made that a visual novel format is not the best platform for this. Seeing how this is a mystery and adventure game, people could argue that a 3D adventuring format would work here. It technically could, but this game works in its format.

The reason I state this is because while things are done in a visual novel format, it is done in the first person view. When you are exploring and walking around the school (not utilizing fast travel) it is done in the first person format of running around. In Danganronpa V3 and past games,  you are taking the role of ONE PERSON. It is not the role of 16 ultimate students. The player is just ONE STUDENT out of the 16. Hence it serves a purpose of being in this format.

Gameplay Score: 5/5 – Danganronpa V3 has the classic game formula with some improvements. You really cannot fix something that has no issues, to begin with. However, you can always tweak and improve certain aspects to be much tighter. That is done in this Danganronpa V3 with the addition to new elements.

Visual and Audio:

Visual:

Visually, I can honestly say (and correct me if I am wrong) the visuals of the Danganronpa games haven’t changed since the first title. Sure they may have improved here and there in sharpening or adding detail, but they remain fundamentally the same. I respect that as it serves to the atmosphere and overall aesthetics of the game, let alone the franchise. It has worked since game one and nothing needed to be changed since it.

Visual Score: 4/5 –  Danganronpa, in general, has always looked great, and that does not change in Danganronpa V3. The art style could be off-putting to some as they may expect a bit more, but it fully fits the aesthetics of the game.

Audio: 

Audio-wise, the Danganronpa franchise has always delivered in terms of the soundtrack. It has wonderful music, wonderful sounds, and wonderful voice work. The option for English or Japanese voicework is there for the players as well. It is a treat to all players of the game. Same point made with the visual aspect, it has worked since game one and no need to change something that has been wonderful since game one.

Sudden Beautiful Lie

Discussion -HEAT UP-

Audio Score: 5/5 – I always look for how the audio sounds in a game before anything. It usually sets the entire mood for me before I play a game. Happy to report that Danganronpa V3, does not disappoint.

Replay Value:

Is there replay value to this game? As past games, yes there is replay value to the game. After the game is finished you get a few modes that are newly unlocked for your enjoyment. One of the modes is something such as a permanent free-time mode. You are free to build the relationships between yourself and your fellow Ultimates in the high school without the time constraints. There are other modes as well, but I will leave that for the player to discover.

Replay Value Score: 5/5 – Danganronpa V3 is worth replaying once again the main story to grasp it. However, if just the main story is not your thing, there are other modes unlocked at the end of the game which you take for a spin. Danganronpa V3 has you covered in this department.

Fun Factor:

Is the game fun? I will have to say yes it is very fun. A game like Danganronpa V3 comes around every so often. When it does and it is a well-done game, it becomes very fun. That is the case here for Danganronpa V3. I can say from beginning to end, with all the frustrating moments, I had complete fun. A game like this is a dime a dozen, especially if the player is a fan of the franchise or a fan of the mystery genre. Enjoyment can be found here. It can have a slow start though especially for newcomers.

Fun Factor Score: 4/5 – Danganronpa V3 is fun. It was a bit of a slow start but picked up almost immediately. At the moments you felt a bit worn out or starting to lose interesting, something occurs that will regain your interest and you will be back at it. The game never misses a moment to make itself be fun.

 

Score Wrap-Up/Conclusion:

Look, if you are a fan of the Danganronpa franchise (whether anime, games or both), you don’t need me to tell you Danganronpa V3  is fantastic. It is Danganronpa in true fashion, with new elements and twists to will shock even the oldest fans. If you are a newcomer, I highly advise picking this up HOWEVER with some requirements first. To fully understand the story in these games, you need to play them all. Elements will come about that make no sense besides the references to the games. You need to play Danganronpa 1 and 2 before this game. It is a prerequisite. Make sure that is done before this in order to get the full enjoyment of this title. Please do this and I promise you that you will get the maximum enjoyment from this game.

If playing 1 and 2 is not possible, Watch the anime for 1, play the game for 2, and watch half the anime for 3. You will thank me later.   For players like me, who only recently got into Danganronpa from the 1•2 Reload collection, you will find enjoyment here too. What I suggest highly is whether you are new to the franchise, or need to freshen up, is to make sure you are caught up with the story of 1 and 2. You do not want to be lost at the end of the game with everything occurring. Do this and you will have a much more fantastic time than you already are. This is up in my top 10 games of this year. It has been a very great year for video games, and for this to make it on my top 10 is

What I suggest highly is whether you are new to the franchise, or need to freshen up, is to make sure you are caught up with the story of 1 and 2. You do not want to be lost at the end of the game with everything occurring. Do this and you will have a much more fantastic time than you already are. This is up in my top 10 games of this year. It has been a very great year for video games, and for this to make it on my top 10 is fantastic. I recommend picking it up and just having a good time in general. Be prepared to get lost a bit though if you are not caught up with the story.

This is up in my top 10 games of this year. It has been a very great year for video games, and for this to make it on my top 10 is fantatsic. I recommend piccking it up and just having a good time in general. Be prepared to get lost a bit though if you are not caught up with the story.

Until Next Time, Mgs2master2 out!

Score Wrap-Up:

Intro/Story Score: 4/5 – Danganronpa V3 could turn players off with its storytelling via visual novel style and not fully voiced over, but if the player can push through it is a treat.

Gameplay Score: 5/5 – Danganronpa V3 has the classic game formula with some improvements. You really cannot fix something that has no issues to begin with. However, you can always tweak and improve certain aspects to be much tighter. That is done in this Danganronpa V3 with the addition to new elements.

Visual Score: 4/5 –  Danganronpa, in general, has always looked great, and that does not change in Danganronpa V3. The art style could be off-putting to some as they may expect a bit more, but it fully fits the aesthetics of the game.

Audio Score: 5/5 – I always look for how audio sounds in a game before anything. It usually sets the entire mood for me before I play a game. Happy to report that Danganronpa V3, does not disappoint.

Replay Value Score: 5/5 – Danganronpa V3 is worth replaying once again the main story to to grasp it. However, if just the main story is not your thing, there are other modes unlocked at the end of the game which you take for a spin. Danganronpa V3 has you covered in this department.

Fun Factor Score: 4/5 – Danganronpa V3 is fun. It was a bit of a slow start, but picked up almost immediately. At the moments you felt a bit worn out or starting to lose interesting, something occurs that will regain your interest and you will be back at it. The game never misses a moment to make itself be fun.

 

Final Score: 4.5/5

About Mgs2master2

Mgs2master2
A gamer and jack of all trades. I enjoy many things, but overall just enjoying life. Hopefully, I can add enjoyment to your life through my articles or interactions.

One comment

  1. Kind of surprised to hear that knowing about 1 and 2 would be a pre-requisite before playing 3. I thought this was going to be almost like a reboot. It’s nice to hear that the game isn’t as predictable as its predecessors though; that was my biggest worry about picking this one up.

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