What is Danganronpa V3?
Waking up to find yourself imprisoned in a school, alongside 15 other students and a sadistic bear headmaster, Danganronpa V3 is a game that's part visual novel (essentially a virtual choose your own adventure book), and part crime scene investigation, as you play through a twisting story like no other. With each of your classmates suffering from acute amnesia, and each being an "ultimate" at something - a title that essentially means you're the very best the country has to offer at a particular talent - no sooner have you come through than you're given an ultimatum: the only way to get out, is to murder one of your friends, and not get caught in the class trial that follows. Cast into a maelstrom of thrills, chills and kills, it's up to you to work together with your new found friends, and figure out who you can trust, as you try to escape from the nightmare.
While this is the third game in the series, the game provides everything you need to get up to speed, even if you haven't played the first two instalments.
How do you play Danganronpa V3?
Playing Danganronpa V3 is like sitting down with a great murder mystery, only one you get to play the main role in. While the ultimates may all do their best to get along, you know it won't be too long before tempers start to fray, and things go south - especially with the dastardly headmaster, Monokuma, always being sure to provide you with a motive. While there's plenty of jokes, awkward situations, and elaborate attempts at bringing everyone together to enjoy, you know you're never too far away from having to solve a murder.
When a murder occurs, the gameplay switches tack, as you're tasked with investigating the crime scene, and gathering all the clues you can. After combing the scene for clues, it's on to the class trial, where the students will start to debate who they think the killer is. With the game highlighting any potential contradictions in their statements, and giving you a limited selection of evidence you can use to counter it, now packaged up as "truth bullets", it's up to you to find the right contradiction, and choose the right piece of evidence to present to counter it, to break through the arguments, and steer the conversation down the right path. If you can figure out who did it, only the murderer will be "punished" (read: killed) - but if you get it wrong, everyone besides the murder will find themselves up for the chop.
How easy is Danganronpa V3 to pick up and play?
Danganronpa V3 is a game that'll test your mind over your trigger finger, and is designed to be something of a brain teaser. Spotting not only which statement contains a contradiction, but which piece of evidence you can use to prove that it's a contradiction can sometimes require a rather particular way of thinking, as you try to spot the holes in the arguments. You'll need to be mentally spinning plenty of plates as you try and figure out the truth behind what happened - and with so many false leads and red herrings to mislead you along the way, it can sometimes be tough to get the bottom of the cases.
That said, the game does give you plenty of clues along the way. Each section of the debate loops, giving you plenty of chance to find the contradiction, and while you are working against a time limit, the game will give you a bit of a hint once the loop's finished, about where the contradiction might be. Along with having to keep an eye on the time limit, making mistakes in the trial will take some health off you too, with the trial ending should you run out. Brilliantly, though, the game also has two separate difficulty levels - Logic, and Action - with three settings for each. Lower logic difficulties give you fewer potential "truth bullets" you can use, and takes less time/health off you for getting it wrong, while lower Action difficulties reduce the amount of "white noise" statements that fly around in the trial, getting in the way of where you're meant to be shooting.
While the game is fully subtitled, and the trials are fully voiced, there are large tracts of unvoiced text you'll need to work your way through in Danganronpa. Sample sentences include:
- A-alone? In your room? What do you mean by that? Are you invitin' me to come kill you?
- ...then I'll protect the girls by using all the degenerate males as human shields!
- You're too weak, Keebo! Lemme remodel you, and I'll make you the strongest robot ever!
With many a murder contained within, and a cast of student characters, Danganronpa V3 contains a fair amount of gore, and some implied nudity, along with frequent bad language and innuendo.
Words like "f**k", "s**t", "co*k" and even "c*nt" show up on a fairly regular basis in game.
Violence and Gore
The gore in game comes mainly from the scene of the crime, and the punishments that follow. Slow, mysterious shots will give you a close up of the wound before revealing the person that received them, while inspecting the bodies afterwards will sometimes reveal gory descriptions of the wounds and blood. The punishments for the guilty parties are similarly dramatic and prolonged, as you see characters being hung, boiled alive or otherwise cut to shreds as they try to escape. Unusually, however, the blood here is a fluorescent pink, rather than red, which does take the edge off the gore.
Innuendo is a frequent fixture throughout, with several references to virgins, "boners" and sex in general. One particular item sees you and a random student visit a love hotel for the evening, where you will take on the role of their fantasy - not all of these end up being sexual in nature, and there's no visual sexual content, but there are some descriptions of feeling/kissing as things start to heat up, along with whips etc being hung on the back wall. Nudity is more infrequent, though present in certain still scenes, as you peer into the hanging room as some of the girls get changed to go to swimming, or end up walking in on Ultimate Inventor Miu working on the Ultimate Robot.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4