If you haven’t played the Dangonronpa games, you’re really missing out. A tense overarching plot coupled with murder mystery elements, this series proves time and time again why we love a good murder. None of the games come even close to what Danganronpa V3 achieves. Just like how the 2nd game was a massive step up from the first, V3 improves in so many ways.
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is a point and click adventure game, very similar to the Ace Attorney games. 16 high-school students are trapped within the confines of a school, taunted by the un-bear-ably cute Monokuma. The only hope students have to escape is to kill another class mate. Of course, if you’re found out in the trial, then the murderer will be killed. Players must explore crime scenes, find evidence, and debate their fellow classmates if they want to escape the school alive. V3 introduces a crazy cast of characters, as well as a number of new minigames to make the class trials more “thrilling”.
V3 adds a number of new funky new gamemodes to improve upon the already fantastic gameplay. Much of the trials involve listening to your classmates, and finding logical inconsistencies in their stories. You then pick the answer that contradicts them, and watch as the truth begins to unravel itself. The way that this has improved is the addition of the Mass Panic Debate. When there’s a particularly distressful moment in the trial, many people will try to talk over eachother at once. This splits the screen into 3 characters, making concentration difficult. You need to think about the type of information they’re giving in order to figure out who to listen to, and who’s lying. V3 also features lots of minigames, such as the classic Hangman’s Gambit (literally just Hangman,) and Mind Mine (MineSweeper.) The minigames have always generally been the low point of the Danganronpa games, but they finally got it right with V3’s Debate Scrum. I cannot overstate just how fantastic the Debate Scrum mechanic is. When the students cant agree on a particular issue, Monokuma declares a split, and the characters are put into a team of two depending on their opinion. Then, the hardest beat you’ve ever heard starts to play as you team up with friends and enemies in order to shoot the other teams arguments. It’s the only minigame that really incorporates the feel of debating, linking both characters and gameplay, and it works fantastically.
Speaking of the music, V3 has the best score out of all the games. The music has always been amazing, but all of the tracks are able to encapsulate the emotion of the scene perfectly. It’s also incredibly varied and nuanced, as we have funky jazz soundtracks for the Monokubs, quiet sombre pieces for outdoors, and even a screeching laugh-like sound effect that literally taunts the characters to madness. Not only the music, but the visual design of the game looks great too. The 2.5D style has really been perfected. Characters are excruciatingly detailed and unique, and the visual effects look really nice in the engine.
As this is a murder mystery, the story is one of the most important aspects of the game. Everytime I finish a Danganronpa game, I’m left stunned at the insane things they pull off. I think it’s safe to say that V3 is the pinnacle of the series and I doubt it will get crazier than this. The cast of characters aren’t as likeable as 2, but they definitely feel more real. Relationships are a lot more complex than whether you like someone or not, and the Ultimate personalities feel much more like a backdrop than their entire character. The characters go through so much change and really grow throughout the game, making it much more tragic when we see their downfall. The ending may put off some people, but I think the game as a whole is a fantastic story that has a lot more twists and turns than its predecessors.
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is the best the series has ever been. I don’t think there will ever be a Danganronpa game that compares to the choice of characters and blending of gameplay elements. The mystery is so unique and dramatic, it’s difficult to describe just how clever it is without spoiling. If you haven’t tried the Danganronpa series, I’d seriously do it, just for this games sake.