By Benny Carrillo / September 26th, 2017
Awesome Friends and Annoying Villains ~ Story and Characters
The story of Danganronpa V3 as I mentioned follows the 16 newest students who are subjected to Monokuma’s killing game. This time though Monokuma is not alone as he has the Monokubs. While each chapter follows the same format and flow, you never quite know who is going to die or who the killer is. Danganronpa has always been very good at building a great mystery and explaining its logic. However, that’s not to say there isn’t a pattern.
If you’ve played the previous games, then you’ll probably start to notice some similarities between when certain cases and events occur. While Danganronpa 2 did something similar, it tended to zig in any way Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc zagged and played off your expectations. Danganronpa V3 meanwhile has an intentional underlying pattern. I’m fine with it this time, but the franchise really does need to shake up the elements of a case more in the future. That said, the writing on a whole is superb and just what I expect from the franchise. Which of course extends to the characters.
Since we can’t talk about everyone, I’ll just mention that I loved this cast. Everyone was well developed and you got their personalities. My favorite still remains Miu Iruma, the Ultimate Inventor, and kudos to her voice actress who nailed her perfectly. On the other side of the spectrum, however, lie the Monokubs.
Again, my apologies for the strong choice of wording, but I hate the Monokubs. While I wasn’t fond of Monomi and Monokuma’s comedy in Danganronpa 2, Monomi as a character had a point. The Monokubs do not have that same distinction. They exist for comedy, nothing more. Also, it’s not well-done comedy and is often used at inappropriate times. The ending of Chapter 4 is a notable example of this. What should have been a very emotional chapter ending was ruined due to their antics. I will admit that Monodam was the most interesting, being rather straightforward and somewhat developed. That said, as a whole, they distract from Monokuma.
Monokuma works best alone. He’s deadly, he’s snarky and he has proven that time and time again. When you pair someone with him, it just makes the other character look silly and weak in comparison. It’s a distraction from what really should be drawing our attention. If in the future there needs to be another mascot character, then I would suggest going the Ultra Despair Girls route and giving them the spotlight. That way at least they are developed and we can focus on fearing this new villain. Otherwise, just give us Monokuma. That said, we need to touch on one more thing.
We need to talk about two twists that divided the fanbase in Japan. The Class Trial of Chapter 1 and the ending. While I will avoid spoilers, I do feel they affect the player’s enjoyment of the story in a major way. If you’d like to know what my thoughts are, then please continue reading. Otherwise please click here to go to the last page where I’ll wrap this review up.
Why Do I Feel Betrayed? ~ Class Trial 1 & Ending
Still with me? Before we begin, you need understand that the central theme of Danganronpa V3 is “lies”. That’s not really a spoiler since the game is pretty heavyhanded in that regard. However, the development team really seemed to take this theme to heart. Let’s start with the twist during Chapter 1’s Class Trial. The twist makes sense and is set up well. From a writing standpoint, there’s nothing wrong with it and thematically it does fit the game. The problem comes from what I feel was a wasted opportunity all for the sake of the twist. It’s hard to explain why I feel that way without spoiling the twist itself, but suffice to say, this didn’t sit well with me. However, what Team Danganronpa did with it, was good and this really is a “your mileage may vary” situation. The same cannot be as easily said for the second issue, the ending.
To say the ending of Danganronpa V3 is divisive is an understatement. You will either understand what the writers were going for, or you will be incredibly upset. I had to go back and replay Chapter 6 a second time just to try and assess things with a clear mind. The problem really is that Team Danganronpa is so good at drawing players in and connecting with them, that it makes the ending feel like a slap in the face when it’s not meant to. I certainly understand the intent of what they were trying to do and it was a clever idea. Still, it left a bad taste in my mouth after such an amazing game and sullied the experience. I just hope that they learned how much sway over the player’s emotions they have and use it a bit more responsibly in the future. That said, let’s wrap up this epic overview and close things out.
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