riostarwind's Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (PlayStation 4) review

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Writing a ending to a trilogy of games has to be tough. So why not go out with a bang?

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Welcome to another pulse pounding roller coaster thrill ride that is known as Danganronpa. Once again another 16 participants have been chosen to endure the never ending killing game. Thrills and chills await all who decide to get on this ride. All sorts of twists and turns happen every unfortunate demise. I hope you enjoy your stay, puhuhu.

It’s been a while since I last looked at the grim landscape of this series. It has certainly reminded me what this does so well and where it falters. Let’s start off with the gameplay since it has quite a bit to go over even if the gist of it is reading text like a visual novel. What is in store for you here is split into two sections.

While exploring a school doesn't sound amusing this one has some unique rooms.
While exploring a school doesn't sound amusing this one has some unique rooms.

The first section is everything before a class trial starts. In these moments it focuses more on exploration and learning more about the cast of characters that is stuck in this mad school. Running around clicking on things to see a scene play out is most of what you can do here. That may sound boring but it isn’t since the well written character moments have always been a huge part of what is done so well. Once a murder does happen you will go into investigation mode which is more of the same but now your getting clues that’ll then be used in the class trial.

The class trial might just go overboard with the amount of different gameplay moments. With the main one being the nonstop debate where you see a selection of the cast mull over what they think happened. Certain words are highlighted and must been broken with a truth bullet. Which is one of the pieces of evidence that was gathered earlier. A new element that was introduced this time was the ability to lie. Sometimes getting to the truth will require some creative lying although I could never tell when I should actually use this gimmick.

Even though this looks overwhelming it is pretty easy to figure out what you need to do.
Even though this looks overwhelming it is pretty easy to figure out what you need to do.

On top of this debates have variations on a similar themes. Like a mass panic debate is 3 people taking at once and figuring out which one has the word that needs to be broken. A argument with another classmate is possible too with the main focus being on cutting down their words with a truth blade till you get a chance to counter with a piece of evidence. Finally the debate moments have you warring with the other half of the class by countering their statements by picking the correct word. All of these sections come down to using some logic to figure out what you should do next.

After all that other minigames pop up here too. Psyche Taxi requires some good driving skills to pick up letters that then spell out a question. That is then answered by picking up the right passenger. Hangman’s Gambit 3.0 is all about putting together a word using letters that float across the screen. Mind Mine expects the player to clear out of field of blocks by matching certain colors together. Which then reveals a clue but the right clue must be picked. Honestly the amount of variations on everything borderlines on being way to much at this point. The reason why this looks so complicated is that a lot of this was built up over the years via all the previous games. Sure the developer needs to keep adding new stuff to each game but looking at it in text form it’s a bit much. Certainly not a game you want to go into without knowledge of the first two.

Oh I almost forgot to mention that you can also agree with someone's argument as well during debates.
Oh I almost forgot to mention that you can also agree with someone's argument as well during debates.

All of these different elements coming together into one thing does mean some of them are a bit meh. The taxi game may be the weakest link with it slowing down the debate compared to the fast pace nature of the rest of it. I didn’t even bring up the poor rhythm mini game that shows up near the end of each case. Because the reason why rhythm games are fun is that your playing along with a song. Yet all you get here is a simple repeating beat that sounds the same every time.

Lucky the main narrative is so strong any low points are annoying inconveniences that don’t stick around long enough to become a huge issue. Seeing characters grow after overcoming challenges is the reason why you’ll be sticking around to the end. Really feeling for the motives of the blacked in each case is done so well. (Most of the time.) Which is thanks to how well written the cast is although they can certainly be a generic archetype that very rarely breaks out of that mode. Still I expect you'll grow to like them like the previous games and hope to see them break out of this crazy game somehow.

Only one way out...
Only one way out...

Honestly I don’t know where this series will go after this since it has now peaked in it’s absurdness. If your a fan of this series and somehow haven’t played this then play it now. Otherwise check out the first game instead if this review got you interested in it. Getting to this game will have a even bigger impact once you know a bit more about the bizarre world of Danganronpa.

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