Danganronpa V3’s Ultimates May Leave You Feeling Nostalgic

By Jenni . September 22, 2017 . 12:00pm

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With a new Danganronpa comes a whole new cast of high schoolers to identify with and suspect. There are 16 people thrust into this killing game in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. Yet, while these are all original characters, there are elements of their personalities that feel like very definite callbacks to the protagonists we have seen before. Seeing these traits may cause suspicion, delight players, or foster trust. Of course, everyone has hidden depths and sides to themselves that you only get to see by bonding with them during Free Time or advancing investigations. But for many of these characters, the first impression can call to mind people we have helped save or convict before.

 

Let’s use Kaede Akamatsu as our first example. After all, she is a rather important character, what with her starring role here in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. She also bears quite a bit in common with Makoto Naegi, the original Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc’s hero. Both characters are brimming with hope, positive, and optimistic. She doesn’t believe killing is the answer and is ready to go to great lengths to try and end the game in the best possible way. Having such a person as our gateway into this installment is helpful, because it calls back to that feeling of determination and positivity Makoto has inspired throughout the years.

 

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This might make people suspect Shuichi Saihara would take cues from Kyoko Kirigiri, since each one is a detective. But rather, he has an entirely unique personality. If anything he has the same sort of drive as Makoto and Hajime Hinata. He has made a decision to protect people and carry out an important mission. He won’t deviate from that. But, as we see him grow and come to this conclusion, we do have his detective skills to fall back on. While he doesn’t act as a foil to Kaede as Kyoko did to Makoto, Shuichi’s investigation skills, intuition, and resourcefulness are on par with hers.

 

We also have situations where characters have personality quirks and tendencies that are reminiscent of iconic Danganronpa characters. Miu Iruma is one of the best examples. Like Toko Fukawa, she’s a socially awkward individual. She’s blunt and verbally abusive, unable to properly and peaceably interact with people. Essentially, she’s a caustic person. But, when someone behaves in a way she isn’t expecting, such as giving in to her instead of being pushy, her personality completely flips. It’s just like Toko, who doesn’t know how to handle people actually being nice to her. Personally, I preferred Toko. Miu’s personality and responses are just too aggressive for me and caused me to feel she was less charming and value compared to Toko, who was definitely a misfit that set you on edge, but had better reasons for her behavior.

 

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In the same way, Kirumi Tojo and Peko Pekoyama feel like the same sorts of characters. Each one is driven by duty, not taking their own desires, emotions, and needs into account. Instead, they are attempting to do what is best for specific others. In the case of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Peko has a single target she cares for and works to protect. In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Kirumi is there for the good of all. While there are requests she will not undertake, she spends her time researching what the other students may want or need. Having someone so dedicated to others is reassuring and adds a stability to the game.

 

We even have a gentle giant. While we had Sakura Ogami and Nekomaru Nidai in previous games, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony gives us Gonta Gokuhara. All three characters are incredibly strong. They could easily face dangerous figures or lift heavy objects. Yet, they are all trying to do as well as they can, for the most part. We see somewhat gentle sides of each, with Gonta especially attempting to be an honorable man. While we have now come to expect that the big, intimidating dude (or dudette) is going to defy expectations, it is a comfort in a game where everyone could be out to get one another.

 

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It isn’t uncommon for characters with strong adventure and visual novel elements to rely on tropes and defined archetypes to help people connect with characters. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is no different. Many of its characters are going to remind you of people who were forced to participate in past Danganronpa killing games. It is to the game’s benefit here. Given how quickly some characters will drop out, it is necessary to make players care about and identify with them as swiftly as possible. Calling back to previous competitors can be quite a help. Especially when it comes to rooting for people. It can also be a good way of lulling people into a false sense of security. It’s handled well here.

 

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony will come to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in North America on September 26, 2017 and PCs worldwide. The game will come to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in Europe on September 29, 2017.


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