By Benny Carrillo / September 26th, 2017
Debating for Your Life, V3 Style ~ Story Mode and Class Trials
Danganronpa V3 is massive. The game consists of several modes which will run you easily 40+ hours if you want to see it all. You, of course, begin with the story mode which follows 16 students as they find themselves trapped in the “Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles” and as participants in Monokuma’s latest killing game. Consisting of a prologue and six chapters, you’ll spend the bulk of your time here. In fact, the story mode will probably take you as long as the other three modes combined to finish. However, let’s first talk about the story more in-depth.
Each chapter of Danganronpa can be split into four major parts: Story, Free Time, Investigation and the Class Trial. The first of which is the story section that opens each chapter. This leads into Free Time, which allows you to interact with whatever character you want to get to know better and gather Friendship Fragments. Next is another story section before a murder occurs. Once a body is discovered you’ll have to investigate the crime scene to gather clues for use in the Class Trial. Finally, there is the Class Trial itself, which we’ll talk about a bit more.
The Class Trials are where the bulk of the gameplay of Danganronpa is located. As such, these are the most interactive and complicated portions of the game. Class Trials have two parts. First are story portions, where the participants talk amongst themselves and debate various aspects of the case. Connecting these segments are various minigames that allow you to answer various questions about the case. In the interest of space, I’m going to recommend you view the video below if you’re unfamiliar with the Class Trial system, which is from our playthrough of the demo. Don’t worry there are no spoilers for the main game here. Instead, I’m going to touch on what new changes I liked and didn’t like when came to Danganronpa V3’s Class Trial System.
First, there is the new Lie Bullet. By holding the Triangle button, you can change the meaning of a bullet from a truth to a lie. Sometimes you will have to do this to move forward in a case, but occasionally you can also use it to move a trial along a “back route” or alternative path. The idea is an interesting one, but the problem is that this system costs health to use and there’s no way to view your Lie Bullets without the health cost. It’s not a major problem, but it meant I didn’t use it unless I had to. While on the topic of bullets, I’ll also point out that the “Mass Panic Debate” was underutilized, but a good addition. The same can be said for most of the minigames as well.
The “Debate Scrum”, which occurs when there was a split opinion, was criminally underused. It was a fun mechanic that made you have to think and reason quickly. My issue is the button mashing at the end of the debate felt tacked on. I’d prefer just another two rounds of debate rather than mashing a button to prove my point. The new “Hangman’s Gambit” is the best one yet and a massive improvement over the one in Danganronpa 2. My complaint here is that you cannot move the light that emanates from using your focus gauge, which slows things down. Also, “Mind Mine” was simple, but a lot of fun. The last two minigames I’ll talk about, however, I had some issues with.
First, there’s “Psyche Taxi”. While not a bad idea and graphically beautiful, it’s just way too slow and easy. While the “Logic Dive” segments of Danganronpa 2 were difficult at times, they were a ton of fun and had great music to boot. This is just driving until I hit enough letter boxes to move on. Instead of being a welcome challenge, it just slowed things down for me. Then there’s Argument Armament, easily my least favorite part of the game.
Aesthetically the idea of Argument Armament is great. You’re facing off against your opponent who is clad in armor. The problem is the game itself. In my opinion, the best rhythm game that Danganronpa has done was the “Bullet Time Battle” in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. The reason being is that it kept things simple. It gave you great music, was simple to follow, and the challenge came from doing perfect and bettering yourself. Argument Armament meanwhile focuses more on a beat than a good song and just feels clunky with the way it signals to press a button or press and hold.
My apologies for the strong choice of word here but, I absolutely hated this. Please keep things simple when it comes to these segments. The challenge should come from doing well, not from just trying to clear the game. That all said, Danganronpa V3 does improve upon the Class Trial system and I do like it, just not certain parts of it. Still, the Class Trials are not the last game mode we need to cover. You see, once you complete the story mode you unlock three additional modes.
Beyond Despair Lies Even More Fun! ~ Post-Game Content
The first of which is the Ultimate Talent Development Plan. This is a mode that allows you to select a character from Danganronpa 1, 2, or V3 and take them through three years at Hope’s Peak Academy. The game itself is based loosely on the board game Life and functions similarly. Roll your dice, move your character, encounter event, and continue. The end goal is to raise the strongest character you can by leveling them up and buying skills before the end of the third year. Once done, you’ll save that character and be able to transfer them into the second mode, Monokuma’s Test
Despair Dungeon Monokuma’s Test is a dungeon crawling RPG where you take the characters you just raised and try to make it through fifty floors and stop Monokuma. The catch is that you don’t level up in this mode. Instead, you’ll earn gold and parts you can use to create equipment. Really, your goal is to gather enough gold and make it far enough to rank up the “Death Card Machine”. Then use your gold to get more powerful base versions of your characters to take back into Talent Raising and repeat the process from there. The final mode is Salmon Team.
Love Across the Universe: Dangan Salmon Team is the “school mode” of Danganronpa V3. School mode has always been a “what-if” scenario where the killing game doesn’t occur. This time though, things are simplified. During the day you’ll be able to spend time with the character of your choice, while at night you’ll head to the casino to play games to get tokens to trade for gifts. Really the main reason for this mode is to unlock the “Free Time” events that you wouldn’t get in the main game. It’s standard affair for Danganronpa by now, but it’s still a very welcome mode. That’s all for the modes. Let’s move onto the next page and cover the characters and story.
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