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Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 3 - 2017

Rise and shine, Ursine.

Spike Chunsoft’s Danganronpa games could easily be dismissed as one of those strange, quirky series from Japan that just don’t make a lot of sense. Describing them as some sort of Ace Attorney type game with bizarre characters doesn’t really do justice to the brilliant writing that that has given this game series a cult following here in the UK. The first two games in the series were ported onto the PS4 earlier this year, but now, with the increased popularity of the series, we get a third entry that actually launches on the PS4 alongside the Vita. But is this murder-packed investigation game ready for the big time? Monokuma would certainly think so.


Monokuma is the returning character from the series, a psychotic robot bear that seems to revel in the idea of forcing people to kill each other. Monokuma takes on the role of headteacher, the keeper of rules in the fun and games that players find themselves involved in. He really is a brilliant character, both cute and undeniably evil at the same time. For Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Monokuma is joined by the Monokubs, a group of five smaller robotic bears that also happen to be extremely weird, each with their own different personality. While the player will be spending most of their time in the game interacting with other students, any time Monokuma or the Monokubs turn up is a highlight.

There are sixteen new students for Danganronpa V3, each again with their own personality and traits. The students are all “Ultimates”, meaning they are considered to be the best at something. From ultimate pianist to ultimate cosplayer, each of them have their own label, but players will quickly discover that there is much more depth to each of these characters than their label would suggest. The player will get to know some of these characters very well, and it is quite easy to invest in them thanks to the great writing in the game, meaning that it is that bit more devastating when something terrible happens.


Robot bears? Ultimate students? Something terrible happening? What the hell is going on in this game?

The set up is that the sixteen ultimate students have been kidnapped and find themselves in a strange, purpose built school with seemingly no escape. Monokuma and the Monokubs quickly reveal themselves and let the students know that in order to escape, they will have to murder one of the other students and get away with it. The students will go about their business until a murder happens, at which point the player will have to investigate and then there will be a trial, where evidense will be presented. Then they have to vote on who the murderer is. If the vote comes back right, the murderer will be executed and the game will continue. If they accuse the wrong student, then the murderer goes free and all of the remaining students will be executed. Oh, and if no one commits a murder, they will all be executed.

Yep, it’s all a bit mental. Players will be able to investigate the murder scene, looking for clues and talking to other students, before heading into the very tense trials. These sections of the game are great, and there are so many twists and turns as the player uses their evidence and listens to the statements of others, all while trying to find holes in their story. It is very easy to get involved in these sections, especially once the player has built relationships with other students.


Outside of the investigation and trial, there is downtime during which the player is free to explore the school and grounds, and talk with the other students to build up both their back stories and a relationship with them. It is during this time that players will form opinions of the other students, making revelations down the line that bit more shocking.

The exploration side of things takes a first-person view, while most of the courtroom scenes and conversations tend to be more like a visual novel in their style. To add variety, there are quite a few little mini-games thrown in, such as an Outrun type of game or Minesweeper, but the mini games can be hit or miss in how much fun they actually are. Some of them are absolutely great, while others just serve as a meaningless distraction from the important role of unmasking a murderer. It has to be said that the story really is gripping and carries the game for the majority of that mammoth playing time. However, there are a couple of places where the story drags a bit, and it does feel as if there is a little too much padding. That being said, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Danganronpa V3 is a truly twisted tale that really needs to be played.


Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony really is a quirky game that will not appeal to all gamers. However, if you have ever even considered trying a murder mystery visual novel type adventure, and don’t mind your gaming a bit on the gruesome side, then Danganronpa is the place to start. While each of the Danganronpa games has its own self-contained story, I would still recommend picking up the ports first before jumping into V3, but only because they will be less of an undertaking to begin with. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is another unforgettable journey with a thought-provoking destination. Just play it. So long, bear-well.




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