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Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Game Name: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC
Publisher(s): NIS AMERICA, INC.
Developer(s): Spike Chunsoft
Genre(s): Adventure, visual novel
Release Date: JP: January 12, 2017, NA: September 26, 2017, EU: September 29, 2017, AU: October 6, 2017
ESRB Rating: M for Mature

Before I start my review let me give you a brief summary on where we stand on the timeline.

Beware Spoilers!

Year 1:

The cast of Danganronpa 2 begin attending Hope’s Peak Academy.

Hinata is chosen for the SHSL Hope Project. Eventually the project success and he becomes Izuru.

Year 2:

The cast of Danganronpa also known as the 78.the Batch joins Hope’s Peak Academy.

Junko begins to influence the students of Hope’s Peak including the Danganronpa 2 cast turning them into Ultimate Despair.

The motive of Danganronpa 2 Chapter 2 happens and Fuyohiko’s little sister is murdered.

Year 3:

The most despair inducing event in Hope’s Peak history happens and Izuru kills everyone in the student council.

In Danganronpa 0 Junko learns how to alter the mind as Ryouko.

The Ultimate Despair begins a war with no purpose.

Jin Kirigiri along with the sixteen students of the 78.the batch decide to look themselves in Hope’s Peak to keep safe from the outside world.

Year 4:

Junko kills Jin Kirigiri, erases the memories of the students and begins the school life of mutual killing.

The survivors of the school life of mutual killing go out into the world and join the future foundation.

The Ultimate Despair upset over there fallen leader begin to cut her to pieces and attach her body parts to her body.

The Future Foundation locates SHSL Despair and takes them into protective custody. They decide to kill them but Naegi intervens and begins the New World Program.

Junko’s AI hijacks the New World Program and begins the Field Trip of Mutual Killing. The survivors decide to stay at the island to save the friends they loss.

That’s the entire timeline so far!

  • The Reserve Course is now established (The events of DR3 Side: Despair Begins)
  • The 77th Class is now attending Hope’s Peak Academy
  • Hope’s Peak Academy Event where a school girl gets murdered
  • Kamukura Izuru Project is initiated
  • 78th class is now attending Hope’s Peak
  • Hope’s Peak Academy’s New School Building is open (The events of DR0 Begins)
  • The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Hope’s Peak
  • The Parade is initiated (The events of DR0 Ends)
  • Kamukura Izuru Project has been terminated
  • The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic, Despair-inducing Event in Human History (The events ofDR:AE Begins)
  • Hope’s Peak is now closed off (The events ofDR3 Side: Despair Ends)
  • The School Life of Mutual Killing is initiated. (The events ofDR1 Begins)
  • Death of Junko Enoshima. The remaining 78th class students escape. (The events ofDR1 Ends)
  • The Hope’s Peak Elementary School Children take over Towa City. (The events ofDR:AE Ends)
  • “Killer Killer” being a member of Future Foundation. (The events ofDR Gaiden Happens)
  • Naegi discovered and sheltered the 77th class (The events ofSDR2 Begins)
  • The Mutual Killing of the 77th Class occurs
  • Junko Enoshima’s Alter Ego is annihilated (The events ofSDR2 Ends)
  • Monokuma Revival (The events ofDR3 Side: Future Begins)

The Best Watch Order for Danganronpa 3

Danganronpa 3 is split into three parts: Despair ArcFuture Arc, and Hope ArcDespair Arc is a prequel to the rest of the main franchise as a whole and follows the characters of Danganronpa 2Future Arc, on the other hand, takes place directly after Danganronpa 2 and follows the surviving cast of the first Danganronpa—as well as a host of adult former students of Hope’s Peak Academy—trapped in a new killing game. Meanwhile, Hope Arcserves as the final ending for both of them.

So, logically, you might think it best to watch the series in chronological order: Despair Arc and then Future Arc and then Hope Arc. However, this might actually be the worst way to watch Danganronpa 3.

The best watch order is the order in which the episodes aired on TV: Future Arc Episode One, Despair Arc Episode One, Future Arc Episode Two, Despair ArcEpisode Two, and so on before finally finishing off with Hope Arc.

Why? While Despair Arc and Future Arcaired as different series, they are deeply interconnected—and even share the same director. There are many new characters in Future Arc, and episodes of Future Arc tend to focus at least partly on these characters and their conflicts with one another.

The exact nature or impetus of their conflicts is alluded to in Future Arc but is rarely explicitly revealed. However, following the suggested airing order, you’ll find if a single character or group takes center stage in an episode of Future Arc, the next episode of Despair Arc will contain that person or group’s backstory. This in turn allows you to see firsthand why the various characters are at each other’s throats in the Future Arc death game despite being on the same side nominally.

Because of this interconnectivity, watching Future Arc in one unbroken marathon leaves mysteries aplenty and characters who are never quite fleshed out. Watching Despair Arc the same way leaves the story feeling more than a little bit schizophrenic, as the tale often leaves the main plot to focus on characters who are introduced and then promptly forgotten about, never to be heard from again.

This is also why, even if you are only familiar with either Danganronpa or Danganronpa 2 but not both, it still is best to watch both Despair Arc and Future Arc—even though you may only care about the characters of one story or the other.

When it comes down to it, the way the two series tie together is perhaps the most innovative aspect of Danganronpa 3as a whole: Two stories separated by years in their fictional universe but so interconnected that they needed to be aired at the same time. So, sure; it makes it a bit confusing to figure out what order to watch it in, but when watched in the intended way, it makes for a viewing experience unlike any other.

Now it’s time for our review to begin

Perhaps more famous a courtroom experience than Phoenix Wright in the modern age, Danganronpa has become a sadistic cult phenomenon that continually finds new ways to defy expectations. As the first new title to be developed specifically for the PlayStation 4 (with a portable Vita version as well), Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony introduces a whole new cast of Ultimate students and a semester that no one will forget.

After being kidnapped and collectively suffering from a minor bout of amnesia, a new group of sixteen classmates enters their first semester at the Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles. Set within a similar setting to Hope’s Academy from the prior Danganronpa titles, this new setting also marks the beginning of a whole new Danganronpa storyline that newcomers can consider as their first encounter with Monokuma, the bear-y sadistic headmaster of both academies.

Each of the sixteen academics is the masters of their respective field, or Ultimates, in one way or another. Continuing the trend of incredibly strange and diverse Ultimates that Danganronpa is known for, the cast couldn’t possibly be more diverse. Rather than playing the role of an Ultimate lucky student that got in through a lottery, players will first step into the shoes of the Ultimate Pianist, Kaede Akamatsu. Among her alumni include the Ultimate Cosplayer, Ultimate Anthropologist, and Ultimate Supreme Leader. Each excels in their own way, although their attitudes would suggest otherwise. Their friendly locker room talk is filled with crude euphemisms, terrible puns, and the occasional death threat.

After all, these Ultimates aren’t just trying to survive a normal school year together; they’re trying to survive the Killing Game. Devised as a cruel plan to inflict as much Despair as possible amongst the Ultimate alumni, Monokuma pits all sixteen classmates against each other in a battle to the death. That bit of amnesia works in Monokuma’s favor, as each classmate only has a ‘fuzzy’ understanding of life before the academy and new motives are given each chapter to motivate everyone to conspire against their fellow classmates if they plan to break out from Monokuma’s academy.

Barring a few simple school regulations, the premise of Monokuma’s Killing Game is the same in Danganronpa V3 as it was in the previous two mainline titles. In each chapter, a student is eliminated from the class roster through any available means, excluding being fed to a shark and being teleported to an alien planet (you can safely cross those two off your Modus Operandi). Once the grizzly scene is discovered by their fellow classmates, a brief period of investigation takes place to gather up clues and evidence (in the form of Truth Bullets) before the Class Trial is underway.

Danganronpa V3’s Class Trial typically operates under one of two outcomes: if the killer can deceive their fellow classmates into picking the wrong culprit, they and only they can bearly escape Monokuma’s academy and graduate into the real world. On the other hand, if the class can work together and narrow down the suspect, that Blackened student is subject to a most unbearable sentencing and the game continues anew until there’s only one student left to ‘graduate’.

If you’re going to convince your fellow classmates about your line of thinking, you’re going to need cold, hard evidence. As most of these murders take place with no eyewitnesses present often times these objections need to be shot away with facts, in a manner of speaking. From the first case to the last, the mental gymnastics needed to decipher these bizarre murder methods might make absolutely no sense when you first come to a conclusion, but by seeking the truth and holding true to your convictions, the despair of a false outcome can always be avoided.

A fresh set of Ultimate students was just what Danganronpa V3: Killing Academy needed to bring new life into a series that’s seen a handful of students survive an unbearable series of Killing Games before. Nothing against Makoto Naegi, but true despair can only set in once you know that there’s no escaping from Monokuma’s claws. By bringing in a new class of Ultimates, any expectations on who will live and who will fall victim to the Killing Game might claw away any lingering hope.

When not shooting and refuting your way through a Class Trial, Danganronpa V3 allows players to spend some free time and get to know their fellow classmates a bit more intimately through Free Time chats and the occasional bizarre minigame. While the Class Trials are the bulk of Danganronpa’s action, these side diversions continue to surprise even the most seasoned trial witness. There are casino games, side-scrolling levels, and the obligatory postgame activities that you’ll just have to check out for yourself.

Whether or not you’ve seen the inside of Monokuma’s courtroom more often than jury duty summons, Danganronpa V3 starts off with a clean slate that anyone can join in and appreciate. With a new cast of characters and a series of trials that defy expectations, Killing Harmony is in a rare class of its own where no character is safe and anything can be a murder weapon. Even as someone that’s survived through both of Monokuma’s killing games and took to the streets with a weaponized megaphone, I couldn’t anticipate how much despair Monokuma wanted to inflict upon the new class of Ultimates.

You can buy it via Amazon. GameStop

A promotional demo called Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (Demo Version) was released in Japan on December 20th, 2016. The Demo was later released in North America, Europe, and Australia on August 25th, 2017.

The demo is approximately between 1hr30-2hrs long, and allows players to play as Kaede Akamatsu for the first time, briefly meet the new cast of characters, experiment with the new gameplay mechanics (such as being able to “smack around” objects while investigating), explore a small section of the school, and try out the new Class Trialminigames. Because the story is unique to the demo, it does not spoil any of the plot of the main story, instead heavily referencing the previous, Japan-exclusive demo of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, known as Dangan Ronpa: Kib? no Gakuen to Zetsub? no K?k?sei (Trial Version), and featuring the murder case of Yasuhiro Hagakure who does not appear in the storyline of the full game.

Completing the Demo, and transferring the save data to the full game, will reward the player with 333 Monocoins, the Class Trial skill “Machine Gun” (“Point Blank” on PS Vita) and the demo-exclusive present “Nail Brush”, which unlocks a cutscene during Chapter 1 of the full game.

Thank you to the localization team for bringing this game over to the West you guys did a great job and I know it must have been hard work translating the game but I can tell you guys must have had fun while doing it with all the references in the game.

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