Review: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (PS4)

Review: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
  • Cross-Buy No
  • Cross-Save Yes
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
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Title: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (25.92 GB)
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 16
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
The Danganronpa games are visual novels where a group of ultimate high school students are trapped and forced to kill each other.

Monokuma, a psychotic mechanical bear, informs everyone that to escape they must kill a fellow student and go through a trial without being convicted.

For those who would rather be friends, he provides ample motivation to earn their freedom. Between the murders there is exploration, investigations, minigames, and relationship building.

Danganronpa V3 follows the same tradition as the other games.

Having a new cast of sixteen ultimates, and the fact that Danganronpa V3 is not a direct sequel to the main story, means players do not have to play the other games in the series to enjoy this one.

Fans will get however more out of the story and both games are available on Vita and PS4.

This is the best group of frightened and trapped students yet. Usually I’m only interested in learning more about a handful of students. This group also has the most unusual talents: ultimate child caregiver, entomologist, and anthropologist.

With a group of sixteen, there are bound to be a few characters you will not like. The series has always pointed out which character has the biggest boobs and in the spin-off game there was a mini game where you had to stop robotic arms from groping a girl.

Miu’s constant mentioning of boobs and boner jokes every time she talks is just too much. It feels forced as it never flows with the conversation. In general, I’m getting tired of how the women are portrayed in the series. Being able to see a character’s panties in their picture in my character profile does not add anything to the game.

The new smacking mechanic when exploring feels mostly pointless, but the investigation mode is a big quality of life improvement since it highlights every object that can be examined or interacted with. This is much better than slowly moving the cursor all over every inch of the room.

It wasn’t something that I used often but it was a big time saver in a couple of instances. There were a number of times in the previous games that I missed a small item and wasted too much time looking for what I needed to find to progress the story.

There are some new twists to the trials too. You can now lie to manipulate people to think what you want and there are mass panic debates, which are three non-stop debates at the same time, just to name a few. The extra variety from the new challenges breathe some fresh air into the trials, although these do not stop some of the big logic jumps or seemingly random connections between clues.

There are tutorials for everything. For people who do not wish to go back to the first game, this is completely accessible.

The Danganronpa games have always been crazy and over the top and the location is a big part of that. The jump in locations from the first game to the second was a big change that took me by surprise. I was really excited to see the new crazy location Spike Chunsoft thought of for Danganronpa V3. Although the area quickly expands beyond what initially appears, it ultimately falls flat.

I don’t know what drugged up hallucination led to the creation of Monokuma, but he is one of the most memorable characters in video games. He is the star of the game. I understand trying to keep things fresh and not relying solely on the same tricks.

That said, I did not like his companion in the second game and I cannot stand his group of companions in this game. I guess they’re supposed to be comic relief, but they’re just annoying. Just give me a maniac with a devilish smile. Actually, the dynamic of additional kuma bears could be interesting, but that was not done properly in this case.

With the series, you quickly learn to think outside the box and expect the craziest outcome. Despite some weaknesses, Danganronpa V3 still managed to completely blindside me a few times. It’s just one of the reasons I will always love the series.

Visuals:
The game will have a Vita version but it is also the first in the series to be developed for the PS4 so the overall presentation has vastly improved.

The art style is a mashup of comic book frames and anime. The game is constantly switching back and forth and occasionally throws an image that looks hand drawn. Each is well done and has a unique look.

Audio:
The menu music instantly brings back memories of past games.

Some of the music has a higher tempo and with the faster beat, I started reading faster and going through the conversation faster. The whole time my heart was filling with dread and my head was telling me to slow down. I was sensing something bad was about to happen, usually to a character I cared about.

Visuals novel games require a lot of reading and the added sound effects help make the dialogue more engaging.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
Danganronpa V3 is a good to great game, depending on how you feel about certain things. In the end though it feels like more of the same. It simply does not meet the rising expectations set by series.

Most of the additions are good with only a couple of missteps. But more could have been done to separate it from the formula of the previous games.

The craziness and uniqueness of Danganronpa series means it will always have a special place in my heart. For longtime fans or people curious to check out the series, this is a game that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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