Overall score 95

The next installment of the Danganronpa series is finally upon us. Unlike the last release, Ultra Despair Girls, which was more of a spin-off in terms of story and gameplay, the new Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony brings the series back to its murderous roots. A new cast of Ultimate characters are put into a dangerous killing game and you must do your best in solving the many mysteries that are present in order to reach the culprit and the truth behind everything. If you’ve enjoyed the first two entries in this series, Danganronpa V3 is a return to form in that gameplay style, along with plenty of new stuff to experience.

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony brings the series back to an adventure game style, featuring many traditional game and story mechanics. A new cast of characters is present, but they are plunged into the dangerous killing game that fans of the series are very familiar with. Making a return though is how you explore the world, with the first-person perspective from the first Danganronpa game being used. Also returning are the Class Trials that occur whenever a murder takes place thanks to the killing game. So fans who were wanting a more traditional Danganronpa release, after Ultra Despair Girls happened, will have much to look forward to with Danganronpa V3.

THE GOOD: A more traditional Danganronpa game is great and I’m happy to see another installment like this, but it’s the new things that stick out to me in this latest release. A new cast of 16 students with a talent that they greatly excel in are forced into a killing game, similar to the scenario presented in the first two games. While a couple of the characters do feel like your standard anime tropes, I actually found most of them to be very interesting and unique. Certainly some twists to be had too, as the people you least expect to be the culprit, might actually turn out to be one. Always a disappointment when you see favorites killed off early, but I really enjoyed how the story played out and how the survivors developed over the course of the game. If you’re wanting to go on a crazy ride full of despair and hope, you’re definitely in the right place.

With the killing game making a return, that means the Class Trials are once again back as well. Featuring many of the same gameplay elements of having to shoot down arguments with truth bullets in order to bring yourself closer to solving the mystery. With Danganronpa V3 also featuring its own set of new mini-games, like the Debate Scrum which features two groups of characters with split opinions facing off. In order to past the mini-game, you must match up your groups statements with the opposing side’s arguments by matching up key words. Then there’s Mind Mine where you’ll need to destroy blocks in order to uncover clues that will provide an answer to the question being presented. Along with returning ones like another update to Hangman’s Gambit and a new form of rhythm game. Much like previous games, there will certainly be mini-games that are less enjoyable than others, but I actually found all the mini-games in Danganronpa V3 to be enjoyable and challenging in their own ways.

One of the top things for me with Danganronpa V3 is that it’s no longer tied to the Playstation Vita. While the game is available for Vita, it is also available for the Playstation 4 and PC. Meaning this game has full HD support and the graphics look fantastic. While the HD re-releases of the previous Danganronpa games still turned looking good, seeing a Danganronpa game made especially with HD in mind is simply great. The visuals of the game look sharp and colorful with the change ups made in presentation. This is especially true with the Class Trials, with the traditional debates being more ridiculous as statements are presented in more than just sentences and actually take up some unique forms with visual flairs mixed in. This is best Danganronpa has looked and it just added to my overall enjoyment of this game.

Matching up with the game’s presentation is the fantastic voice work that’s present. You do get dual-audio for this game, so you can choose to go with the Japanese or English dub. However, I do feel that the English dub cast is a worthy listen to. I’ve always been a fan with the voice cast decisions made in previous games, and I still feel the same way with this new cast. Also, several of the voice cast have actually voiced previous characters in the series before, so it was a nice treat hearing some familiar voices, but they do a good job in differentiating it enough to not distract you from the new character. Sure, a couple performances could be better, but I felt this was a good group all around.

Don’t want to spoil too much with the game, but just like previous games, there are unlocks to look forward to once you complete the story. There’s the returning School Mode where you can spend time with classmates without the worry of them being killed off. Although, the gathering game that was tied to this mode is no longer present, which I did find a little disappointing. However, there’s actually a lot this time around in terms of post-game content. Like a card collecting mechanic that’s tied to a board game and dungeon crawler. The best part is that these modes feature characters from the first two games, so you will have moments where you can see interactions with the new characters and old. Makes for an interesting experience and I was quite surprised at how much extra content there was after the story’s conclusion.

THE BAD: Not much I can find to be negative about this time around with Danganronpa V3. Most in part because I’m just happy to see the series back in this form. Though I guess one thing that I’ve always disliked with these games is the audio balancing. It always seems to feel off for me. Unsure as to why that is, perhaps because I play many games with headphones on. Whatever it is, I struggled to find a good balance of audio. Music always felt too loud with voices being too soft. I changed it up by increasing the voices and lowering the music, but then it felt like the music was too soft. Going any higher though would then cause some voices to be to soft. So one complaint that I do have is how inconsistent some music and voices are, where they can feel too soft or too loud compared to the other music tracks and voices.

I guess there’s also the story as well. While I found it to be an enjoyable ride throughout, some could take issue with how things get played out and with who survives and who doesn’t survive. I don’t think it’s entirely negative though, I find it to be part of the fun that these games bring. They do a good job in making you feel attached to these characters, just so they can break you later on.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony brings the series back to the murderous adventure that made it popular in the first place, with a new cast, new mini-games, and new twists. It greatly shows how far the developers have come as I felt they really increased the ridiculous this time around and it looks great thanks in part to being made with HD in mind. Plenty of fun to be had during the course of the game, as well as after too, with a great amount of post-game unlocks that long-time fans will be quite pleased with. Needless to say, fans of Danganronpa have much to be excited about and will be in for quite the ride from start to finish. Danganronpa continues to be one of my favorite adventure games ever and I truly do feel that they are among the best you can find anywhere.

Editor’s Note: Review is based on the PS4 version of game, which was provided digitally by the publisher.

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