Danganronpa has been a series that I’ve never really had a chance to play through, so when Danganropa V3 was announced I was reluctant to try and jump into the franchise in the third game. Some of that fear was justified in that coming into a game like this, with so much developed ideas can be a little overwhelming, but if you persevere, you can make sense of the crazy world of Danganronpa. Thankfully this isn’t a direct sequel to any previous game, but there are a lot of elements that are the same.
You start off with 16 characters locked inside a school, where you control the main character in first person view. You can walk around the school, and more areas will become available as you progress. The basic concept of the game is that you have to solve a murder in each chapter, and this involves three phases of gameplay; interacting with characters, investigating the murder and trying to solve it, and then performing a class trial in the classroom. Why do you have to do all this? The school’s been taken over by a black & white bear called Monokuma and his cubs who appear in the previous games.
The class trials in particular are very challenging, but also the most fun part of the game. If you figure out who committed a murder correctly, only the culprit aka the “Blackened” will be punished, but if you decide incorrectly the “Blackened” will live and the rest of the class will be punished. It sounds quite boring, but there are a lot of elements to the class trials. Most of the class trial is about finding inconsistencies with the various characters’ alibis, and there are various mini-games and skills such as Truth bullets and Lie bullets you can use to figure out what happened. For example, in the Hangman’s Gambit, you have to spell a phrase on screen with floating letters that are partially obscured and revealed briefly at random.
On top of the main gameplay, there is loads of content that you can look into. You can improve your relationship with other classmates by talking to them during Free-Time Events for example. Also, there are a few endgame bonuses that are unlocked such as the Year-round Space Variety Love Show, and a dungeon crawler RPG called Dungeon of Despair. The whole game is pretty crazy so having unlockables like this shouldn’t be a surprise really.