By Andrew Goldfarb
At first glance, Danganronpa is pretty weird. Each game follows a new group of high school students held captive by a robot bear forcing them to kill each other in order to escape. With each new murder comes an investigation, and eventually a trial to present evidence and prove who committed the crime. With me so far? You should be.
Danganronpa is an underrated gem in PlayStation’s library of exclusives, a subversive and sardonic adventure game that mocks anime tropes while simultaneously embracing them. Its humor is dark and its grisly crime scenes are darker still, but the series also has an unexpected heart. Its portrayal of hope versus despair is mostly tongue-in-cheek but occasionally unexpectedly profound, using exaggerated characters and situations to actually send a fairly inspiring message: even when you think there’s no hope left, there might be some.
The series started life on Vita and even with a recent PS4 port, it lacks the mainstream recognition of a lot of other Japanese games. As the first game in the series actually developed with PS4 in mind (and 4K visuals to boot), Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is a major leap forward for the franchise. Everything is sharper, with gorgeous character art and completely redesigned UI. Character portraits vary depending on the angle of the camera, and the writing seems more confident, heavily leaning into meta-acknowledgements of the absurdity of the situation and the past of the franchise itself.
Danganronpa V3 feels like it could be a major evolution for the series and a perfect jumping-on point
A demo shown by NIS America at E3 won’t actually be included in the final game and may not even impact the story, but serves as an introduction to the bulk of Danganronpa V3’s characters and mechanics, and will eventually be released on PSN with the option to transfer save data to the full game. The demo’s most important introduction is Kaede Akamatsu, our new protagonist and the