Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony Review

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The original Danganronpa trilogy concluded not too long ago, courtesy of an anime double bill. With the Hope’s Peak saga wrapped up, a new game has emerged and this time round it has been released both on PS4 and Vita simultaneously. I opted to purchase the game on Vita, as I find reading text heavy titles more comfortable on a handheld. That and I am also a cheapskate, so the Vita edition’s lower asking price helped to tip the scales in its favour. Like in past Danganronpas, Killing Harmony stars a group of sixteen talented youths who have been kidnapped and had their short-term memories erased. Trapped inside an Academy, they are forced to participate in a murder game. Is this latest release from Spike Chunsoft to die for? Read on and find out.

OVERVIEW

Escape from The Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles is only possible by committing homicide and not getting caught. When an assassination occurs players must investigate the crime scene and determine whom the culprit is, in the subsequent class trial. Deduce the killer’s identity correctly and you progress to the next chapter. Guess wrong and the evildoer is liberated, condemning you to a Game Over. The judge of the court cases is a mechanical teddy named Monokuma. He’s a beary bloodthirsty character. On this occasion, Monokuma is assisted by a quintet of offspring named the Monokubs, who are modelled off past Danganronpa characters. For the most part Killing Harmony plays like its predecessors. Scouring the environment for clues has been enhanced though, thanks to a new feature that allows budding sleuths to move onscreen objects.

What makes the Danganronpa games such a joy to play are its quirky cast of characters. Their humorous interactions are funny, which helps endear the sixteen hostages to players – making the moments when a victim perishes all the more poignant. Some of the students that feature in V3 include an accomplished maid, a bashful magician who insists that her tricks are genuine magic, a martial artist who detests men, a cosplayer who often quotes anime, a kinky inventor, a muscle-bound gentleman who is fond of insects, a spikey haired android and a compulsive liar (who tells more fibs than Hilary Clinton). My favourite character is astronaut Kaito Momota. In the first chapter Kaito comes across as a buffoon, but as the story progresses he proves to be a true bro.

VERDICT

My rating for Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is a five out of five. The game was a blast to play from start to finish, with the narrative’s only blemish being that the final trial drags on for a bit longer than I would have liked. Speaking of finales, I suspect that the twist at the end will prove to be divisive. I personally thought that said reveal was cool, but some fans are likely to disagree as it makes the events of past games feel inconsequential. For readers who may be wondering how the Vita version performs – I experienced no crashes and for the most part things ran smoothly. I did however encounter a brief glitch that caused the background music to cease playing whenever someone spoke. Thankfully the bug remedied itself after a minute or two.

I highly recommend Danganronpa V3, especially to gamers who are fond of Phoenix Wright. Just like Capcom’s lawyer series, Danganronpa is packed with zany mysteries that will test your deductive skills. The trials feel more kinetic than Phoenix Wright, as they are peppered with mini-games that include block smashing and driving sequences where you cruise across the highway collecting letters. In terms of content, the story clocks in at a respectable forty hours. Once the end credits roll some bonus content unlocks too. Right now I am playing the RPG mode, which involves fighting through dungeons with a party that you level up via a Danganronpa themed board game. Murder and board games? Sounds like Cluedo, only with fewer candlesticks and more robotic ursine.

27 thoughts on “Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony Review

  1. You and I just always seem to be functioning on the same brain wave. Seriously, you finish one show and review it, and I just happen to be two steps behind ya! Anyway, I just finished watching both of the Danganronpa 3 series, and while I was thoroughly entertained and brought to peace (after the madness that is 2, Despair Girls, and Zero), I’m not sure how to feel about yet another 3. Am I hopeful or despairing in the wake of a new finale? Well, a bit of both, but mostly excited! I’m very glad that you enjoyed it! It’s reassuring.

    But yeah, is this supposed to be “The End”? Or does the company have more up its sleeve? There’s only so many times that I can stand getting buddy-buddy with a deep 15+ character cast, not to mention that a certain Super High School Despair was driving the insanity and story for me.

    • Get out of my brain! Haha 🙂 I started to watch the Danganronpa 3 anime, but dropped it after a few episodes because it got too depressing for my tastes. The games have sad moments too, but they do a better job of balancing things out with humor.

      No idea if V3 is the finale of the series. The impression I got from the last chapter is that the game’s creator is a bit tired of these murder games and wants to move onto something else. As long as the franchise remains profitable and critically acclaimed though you cannot discount the possibility of further sequels, prequels and spin-offs.

      • True, there does come predictably and tedium with the parallel and similar murder cases. But as a story, did it feel like This was the end, or does the third anime series truly finalize that? I guess you might not know considering that you haven’t seen it all the way through (some parts are very sad, but I love the grittiness of it all), but only you’ve played the game, so I thought I’d ask.

    • This game takes place after the Danganronpa 3 anime. The way V3 ends could conclude the series, but if they really wanted to they could make more sequels or prequels set between Danganronpa 3 and V3. I can’t elaborate beyond that without giving away major spoilers.

      • Ah, gotcha. Thanks for the insight! Guess we’ll have to remain hopeful* that if anything does come after V3 that it doesn’t derail the great things it’s got going for it, though that would take something truly horrific seeing as how the franchise has established itself this far.

  2. As you know my gaming days are behind me, but lately I have been seeing so many cool videogames featured on blogs that honestly I get tempted to buy games again lol. This really looks like a very cool and interesting game. Love the diversity it seems to have coupled with the interesting premise/storyline. Man, posts like these really aren’t good for my self restraint in returning to the world of gaming lol. Seriously though, great post. Glad you enjoyed the game so much, and it was fun to read your review for it 😀

    • If this game sounds cool you could watch the anime adaptation of Danganronpa 1. The series feels a bit rushed, because it crams a 30 hour game into twelve episodes, but its decent all the same. Steer clear of the recent Danganronpa 3 shows though, as they reference the second game a lot, which would be confusing for viewers who haven’t played that title.

      • Thanks for the recommendation 😀 I will try that one out at some point for sure 😊 (Finally finished an Animeseries again for what seems like forever). Review for that one will be up hopefully tomorrow 😀

    • Best to play them in chronological order because the sequels make reference to the previous games. In terms of gameplay they are all mechanically similar (visual novel with some mini-games). This isn’t one of those franchises were you may want to skip ahead because the later titles are more polished.

      • Yep, I’ve been getting them on PC. The porting isn’t perfect, but nothing that greatly detracts from the experience.

        And it does make me happy that the series is finally all in a place I can actually play them.

  3. This game sounds, so interesting. I wish I had a working PS4 or Vita now. I would love this game 🙂
    I loved playing wolf among us and the CSI games and busting chops during interviews. 🙂 The whole murder mysteries thing and finding who did it, is so awesome 😀
    I really like your game reviews. They put me back in the mood, to start gaming again. 😀

  4. Totally forgot about this one. Need to pick it up, but which versions? PS4 since I have the others on PS4, or Vita because it’s cheaper and easier to play on both TV and handheld? Decisions, decisions… At least good to know the Vita ran well overall.

    • I suppose if you have played the past games on console you might as well continue the trend. Thus far I have played all the Danganronpa titles on Vita, so that was also a factor when I chose which version to buy. It’s a shame more companies don’t utilize the cross buy feature.

  5. I never played a Danganronpa game before but your review makes it sound like I should. Sounds good, though I’m not sure about the students actually perishing.
    Would you say the feel of the game is anything like Persona?

    • It sad when some of the characters get killed, but you can’t have a murder mystery without cracking some eggs.

      Gameplay wise Danganronpa is more like Phoenix Wright than Persona. It’s a visual novel with mini-game segments rather than a JRPG. In between cases you can increase your relationship with classmates though, which reveals backstories and unlocks skills. That aspect of the game does remind me a bit of Persona’s social links.

    • It makes more sense when you experience it. Basically a bunch of kids are trapped in a school. If one of them gets murdered the survivors have a trial to guess who they killer is. If they guess the killer’s identity the murderer gets executed. If they guess wrong the killer is set free and the rest of the school are executed.

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