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Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (PS4)

Developed by Spike Chunsoft, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is available now on PS4 for £54.99!

The latest instalment of the Danganronpa series, the new world of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony will provide you with fast-paced investigations and an intriguing story full of unexpected twists and turns. As always in my reviews, I will aim to avoid any spoilers!

I have never played a game from the Danganronpa series so I am new to it all and from what I’ve played, I don’t think it really made a difference to my overall enjoyment. It is a visual novel and the third title in the Danganronpa series. There are three difficulties available for you to choose from (you can set the difficulty on both the “logic” and the “action”) depending on what kind of experience you want to get:
  • Kind – to enjoy the story.
  • Normal – a slight challenge.
  • Mean – with harsher penalties but better rewards

Set in a “psycho-cool” environment, 16 characters who are all "Ultimates" but don't remember what their talent is, have found themselves kidnapped and imprisoned in a school. During their stay, some will kill, some will die and some will be punished. Carry out your investigations and choose the murderer from your newly founded friends whilst taking part in the class trials!

Each chapter is split into three stages: exploring the school and interacting with the other characters, investigating the murder that has taken place and finally, carrying out the class trial.

The school has been well designed and there are lots of secret areas to unlock. I’ll be honest, at first, the corridors all look the same but you do get used to the layout of the school after a while and there is a map to help you traverse the floors. Once you have been to an area you can unlock a fast travel point which was such a relief, as to begin with, I did get a lost a fair few times.

As you go around exploring you can punch items around and gain coins which can be spent in the casino or the school’s store and you also level up which gives you the ability to upgrade and equip enhancements to your abilities during the class trials.

There is a lot of music in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony and its something I really appreciated having on in the background to listen to whilst playing and I like the fact that it changes depending on what is going on in the game at the time. I will say that "Clair de lune" makes an appearance (a favourite of mine) which was both wonderful yet heartbreaking. My only issue with the music was that at the end of a class trial on recapping, there was stuttering each time someone's dialogue popped up on the screen. 

The characters’ voice acting was performed really well which certainly helped establish your opinion of them but I really didn’t like it when a character makes an odd half sound instead of actually saying something, it got quite frustrating actually as I’d have liked the character to properly voice the conversation and not just grunt or say a phrase completely unrelated to what they are about to say.

The characters, as with all anime I have seen, have been really well designed and each has their own distinct personalities which you will either love or hate. There were a couple of characters that I really couldn’t stand but there were also a few characters I really liked and enjoyed finding out more about them. As you play through the game, sometimes you get “Free Time” which gives you the opportunity to explore or talk to the other characters to improve your friendship, give them a gift and gain extra friendship fragments!

Something that did confuse me throughout the game is the presence of the “Monokubs”. I guess they are supposed to add in some endearing humour but personally, I just thought they detracted away from what should have been a more serious kind of game with pointless immaturity.

The menus are easy to navigate through and provide a way of being able to keep a track of your current friendships with the others. Controls are simple and the entire game is mostly “point and click” but unfortunately I have experienced some poor responsiveness in the class trials when I’ve pressed the button to shoot a statement and my bullet hasn’t fired which was quite frustrating.

So now we’ve covered a few of the basics, let’s talk about the gameplay. I’m not going to lie, it took a long time for me to feel like I’d really gotten into the game. The prologue felt so slow and clunky, I honestly felt like I was in constant cut screens. Every time you leave a room, cutscene, new floor? Cutscene and going outside, yes you guessed it, another cutscene. At least the further into the game you go, the story gets so much more interesting which makes up for the length of time it takes to do everything. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is an incredibly slow-paced game which speeds up the second you actually want to try and take your time!

I should also mention that there is no autosave function so trust me, save often! I lost around two hours of progress because I forgot to save and had to step away from the PS4 (which then turned off thanks to an update resetting my preferences). I was devastated. You may not think I would have lost a lot but I did. I was waiting to start a class trial and instead had to go all the way back before the character had even been killed!

The class trials are something that I was completely new to and even after the tutorials I still needed a few extra turns before being able to progress through it. You have to shoot your “Truth Bullets” into other characters statements in order to move the trial forwards. I like the concept of interjecting and refuting arguments but it’s a bit of a let-down that you can’t choose the wrong answer and affect the overall outcome of the case. You must get the right answer or eventually start again.

I feel like the whole class trial could have been presented in a much more concise way which would have flowed a lot better. I also think that the trials are far too long. I have three children and often have to leave a game on pause in order to deal with them so can’t always commit to anything too time-consuming before they are in bed. I timed one of the case trials out of pure curiosity and it was THREE hours from start to finish!! Now, you can’t save whilst in a trial so once you’ve started you either have to get to the intermission (which is about halfway) in order to save or cut your losses and quit, losing your progress.

There are a number of mini-games and quick time events in the class trials which I thought were a nice addition and certainly broke up the monotony of the non-stop debates and questions; from “Hangman’s Gambit 3.0” (hangman in the dark where you have to find your letters to spell out the answer) to “Psyche Taxi” (drive a car through cubes to form the question and then crash into a person at the end to choose your answer) are just a couple of examples.

Once you’ve chosen your culprit you get to watch their punishment which is exceptionally gruesome and then begin a new chapter where you start the entire process again. There are plenty of hidden messages throughout the story and even at the end, you are left with more questions than answers!

When you have finally completed the game (of which there is a “good” and a “bad” ending) you can then access the additional bonus game content so for your money, you are definitely getting a lot of content to play through! Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has three extra modes (Love Across the Universe, The Ultimate Talent Development Plan and Despair Dungeon: Monokuma’s Test) to play and an additional collectible card game (Card Death Machine).

Overall, I loved the story and the unexpected twists and turns and I was honestly shocked at some of the culprits. I just think that the gameplay itself can lead itself to being unnecessarily slow which can put some people off. If I had to give it a score it would be 8/10. Enjoyable, a few issues with sound and the controls but the story was really good.

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has a total of 41 trophies available to unlock. A wide range of requirements from natural progression, finding secrets, achieving S ranks on the highest difficulty as well as gaining the Ultimate Platinum Trophy! (see what I did there?). An extensive trophy list which will be sure to keep you busy for hours and hours!

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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