Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony Review

Developed by Spike Chunsoft
Published by NIS America
Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (also available on Vita and PC)

Danganronpa V3 Killing Harmony is a continuation of the same story from the previous games in the series. V3 features a brand new cast of highly talented students from different backgrounds without any memories of what’s happening in the outside world. They are all trapped in a new “school” called The Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles. Everyone is given a choice: to either live the rest of their lives within the school, or attempt to graduate by secretly killing one of the other students and get away with it by not being caught. Once a student is killed in this “killing game,” a class trial is held to give the other students a chance to find out who did it. If the rest of the class correctly guesses who the killer is, they go back to their school life while the killer is punished. If the killer is not found, then everyone else will be killed except the culprit, who gets to return to the outside world.

Danganronpa V3The original avatar of the mastermind behind the series, Monokuma, is back and this time he’s accompanied by a group of five smaller bear like avatars called the Monokubs who help run the events of the killing game. Outside of Monokuma, the game has a whole new cast with different talents ranging from being The Ultimate Astronaut to the Ultimate Cosplayer.

Danganronpa V3The gameplay of V3 plays just like the previous games. You get free time to explore and talk to the other characters until an event occurs that triggers the murder trial. After spending some time investigating the scene and gathering clues, you go into the courtroom and begin trying to figure out who committed the killing. Words fly across the screen during the Nonstop Debates and you use a reticle loaded with the clues you found in your investigation. These clues are called “Truth Bullets” and are used to shoot at the special lines of dialogue to move the conversation along. In V3, things can get three times as difficult with the Mass Panic Debate, where you need to sift through three simultaneous conversations at once.

Other classic games do make an appearance like the updated Hangman’s Gambit 3.0, where you pick the letters out of the area and discover the clue to keep the debate going. At the same time, there are plenty of new mini games like the Minesweeper type game where you must remove blocks to reveal pieces of evidence involved in the case. Another new aspect added to the game is being able to commit Perjury in the middle of the debates. There will be times where the conversation hits a standstill unless you decide to outright lie about things you found in your investigation. Misdirection and lies are much more a part of the game than in previous iterations of Danganronpa.

Danganronpa V3

V3’s graphics and art are still very much like the older games with its visual novel style and cardboard cutout character portraits, but this time around it especially shines with how the words fly through the screen. They twist and turn much like the other games, but sometimes they move in three dimensions as opposed to just two. Also, the general menus and the user interface during the trials have gotten a major overhaul from Danganronpa 2. The music is, as always, great as well. Whether it’s during the free exploration times or during the trials or even the executions, the music does a great job to emphasize the setting.

Danganronpa V3The only real problem with V3 is not only something that has been present in every game before it, but is also one of the things that makes the game intense: the limited time you get to spend with the other characters.  You can choose to hang out with specific characters throughout the game,  but as you progress, your choices shrink more and more because of the killings. There’s always a chance that a character that you’re trying to get to know more about could be either be the next to be killed, or is next culprit who you have to expose and, by the rules of the game, must be executed for their crimes. The impact of witnessing some of these character’s fate can be incredibly moving if it happens to be the person you spent the most time with.

Other than that, the replayability is pretty low aside from trying to get a higher score as the story of each case stays the same for the most part. However, this is actually remedied by including secret back endings to each case that changes how each case progresses. 


Danganronpa V3

In the end, V3 is a highly recommend game that everyone should give a try! Much like Danganronpa Reload 1.2, some of the games no doubt feel better played on a handheld like the Vita. However, it feels fine on the PlayStation 4 for the most part. WAnd while it does help if you played through the previous games and watched the Danganronpa 3 anime before playing this game, you can actually start Danganronpa V3 as your first game and only miss an insignificant amount of history. Whether you play on the Vita or PlayStation 4, it’s a great game to play through!