Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (Vita) Review
Culminating from over three years of work, Danganronpa V3 brings the murder-mystery series to its pinnacle after numerous game and anime releases, the most recent being the anime-exclusive Danganronpa 3. Although it does feature an entirely new cast of characters, V3 is definitely not for newbies to the series.
As with the series’ previous entries, the game centers around a group of sixteen talented high school students who ultimately become unwilling participants within the series’ infamous “killing game.” Although the premise is familiar to those who have been following the series over the past few years, V3 is definitely not a good entry point if you haven’t had a chance to play the past few games. A lot of V3’s twist and turns rely on previous knowledge, and it definitely behooves the gamer to at least know the basics of what happened and why the game constantly revolves around the themes of hope versus despair.
Starting from the games’ mind-blowing first chapter to its highly controversial final trial, the flow of gameplay should be very familiar to fans as it hasn’t changed much since the first title. Prior to each class trial, players will get to interact and build bonds with the other characters all representing different anime/gaming tropes. Depending on how you feel about the characters will determine your enjoyment of this title as it’s heavily story-centric.
I for one enjoyed the game’s final trial and ending thanks to the games’ mostly well-written characters; even if a few such as Himiko and Gonta fall off the mark. I feel as though the games’ true ending brings a lot of closure to the series and was quite thought-provoking at times if this is indeed the last title in the series.
There are new elements to the game such as the Minesweeper and Out Run inspired mini games during the logic sections, but the best new segment comes in the form of the short-lived scrum sections which are greatly benefited from the games’ fantastic soundtrack. In this segment, characters face off against each other to argue their points and are often the high point of each chapters’ class trial. Also new to the class trials are having to lie to advance the story using truth bullets, but the game makes it quite clear as to when the player needs to use them during the trial segments.
Once the game is cleared, there are a number of different modes to enjoy. One is a dating sim-oriented mode curiously called “Salmon Run,” and another is a full blown dungeon crawler where you can build characters from a board game and enjoy interactions between characters from different games within the series.
Although you’re generally restricted to just the V3 characters in the beginning, players can participate in some good old fashioned RNG fun within the games’ gacha system where you spend monokuma coins to purchase other characters from the series. In other words, prepare for a huge timesink to unlock your favorite waifu or husbando!
Of particular note is the game’s masterful English dub. I initially approached it with some reservation since I played the entire series up to this point in Japanese, but I did enjoy the strong voice acting that helped bring the game’s characters to life. Although much of the non-trial dialogue was limited to short, character spoken lines, the staggering amount of dubbed lines during the trials themselves helped ratchet up its intensity to the max.
Danganronpa V3 may not bring anything particularly new to the table, yet it is the penultimate entry to the series currently. While it uses a lot of the incumbent game mechanics that have been established, the story and its final trial makes it a worthwhile, if not temporary, conclusion to the murder mystery mayhem that has ran the past few years. If it is indeed the last ride aboard the Monokuma hype train, I would like to thank Spike Chunsoft for all of the entertainment they have provided over the years and look forward to seeing what the team comes up with next!
Review copy courtesy of NIS America