The newest addition to the Danganronpa family is fast approaching and I’ve been able to get an early look at it. Before I jump into my thoughts, let me give you a run down of what this game is. I did receive this game early and for free from NIS America, however my opinions are my own.
At its core, Danganronpa is a killing game. Students are kidnapped and taken to a ‘school’ where they are pitted against each other in a fight to the death. Monokuma, an evil bear, is the mastermind behind this crazy ride. Once a student is killed, their peers go to trial. If they can convict the right person of the crime committed (the blackened), then only the killer is punished. If they’re wrong, everyone else dies instead and the killer goes free. This continues until a trial goes wrong or only two students remain. The last ones alive are then allowed to ‘graduate’.
My reviews are a bit different in the way they’re structured. I’ll tell you what I liked about the game, what I disliked about it and then wrap it up with some questions for you. Let’s jump into it!
What I like about it…
One of my favorite things about this game are the characters. They are all very well written and unique. While some tropes do abound, I feel like most of them are people we haven’t ever really met in a gaming space before. They feel like real people (for the most part) with personalities that you’ve probably encountered in real life at some point. I love when you get free time in the game because that’s when you’re able to spend time with the others and really learn about where they came from and why they’re stuck here with you.
Investigating the murders is something that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m a big fan of detective games in general, so when it came time to do some sleuthing I was ready to go! Something that impressed me was how they connected the investigations to the trials. A lot of times games will lead you in the direction you need to go so you don’t miss anything. This takes away the feeling of urgency that you would expect from a murder scene. But in V3 you can miss things, and doing so screws you over when it comes to the trials. Missing a piece of evidence because you forgot to observe something earlier can be the catalyst to losing the trial and getting everyone killed. The pressure you feel when you realize you’ve messed up is something that I haven’t felt in awhile from a game. I personally love it because it pulls you into the experience in a way that you weren’t expecting.
The art style and music are good examples of what makes the game stand out. There is definitely an anime feel when it comes to the art, which is fitting since the series has an anime adaption. It fits with the ‘killing game’ plot because it takes away the idea of gore. They replace colors we would expect, like red, with hot pinks and purples, giving the serious situation a cartoony vibe. This can also make things more gruesome, especially when it comes to the executions. Using a cute art style to depict death and murder oftentimes leaves a greater impact on the viewer.
I lost my mind, in a good way, when i discovered one of the collectibles; hidden Monokuma’s. As stated above, Monokuma is a bear that runs the show within the school. Throughout the game you can find small versions of him sitting in random places. I love collectibles in general, but ones where you have to actively seek them out are my favorite. It’s like playing a mini game to me. My brain loves working on multiple things at one time, so watching out for tiny bears while investigating a murder was awesome.
I don’t have many complaints when it comes to V3, but one of them was the pacing during the early game. I understand the need for a tutorial section, but I felt like it was dragged out and could’ve been melded with the main story a bit more. There were a few times when game points and character dialogue was repeated over and over again for retention sake. I understand that they were doing so for the sake of game concept, but I feel as though it wasn’t executed as well as it could’ve been. I felt like the game thought that I was just dumb.
The trials are interesting. I like their involvement from a story standpoint but the way they’re set up became irritating. You have to use the evidence you collected during an investigation to either counter or back up certain arguments. This in and of itself isn’t a problem, it’s the physical action of countering or backing up that irritated me. Your evidence comes in the form of truth bullets that you must shoot at the statement you wish to interact with. But there comes a time when the arguments are moving so quickly that hitting the one you want is frustratingly difficult. I spent a chunk of my time fast forwarding back to the text I was trying to hit over and over. I’m sure this can be taken care of by changing the game’s difficulty but I personally feel like I’m cheating that way. They do give you the ability to slow down time by concentrating which helps, but I still came out of it aggravated in the end.
I am very much enjoying V3 and I can’t wait to play more of it! Keep in mind that it is a story heavy game with a bunch of dialogue, so if that’s not your cup of tea then you may want to steer clear of this one. But for those of you who love a good murder mystery with lots of in depth characters and cool art, I strongly recommend you give this a try.
What do you think of the Danganronpa series as a whole? Have you played any of the games or watched the anime? Is this something you think you’d be interested in? Let me know in the comments! I love having discussions about things like this.
If you’re interested in seeing some game play, you can find the first video of my let’s play here. Thanks for reading!!