A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is a mystery/adventure game for the PlayStation 4, Windows, and PS Vita, and it's the third main title in the Danganronpa series. The game is presented in a visual novel format, with players following events as they unfold and participating in key moments. Although it has an animated and somewhat cartoonish style, the game features intense scenes of death and torture, many of which are committed by and against the high school-age students of the Ultimate Academy of Gifted Juveniles. The plot and dialogue also include a number of overt sexual references, as well as liberal use of profanity and occasional alcohol and drug use references.
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What's it about?
DANGANRONPA V3: KILLING HARMONY brings a new group of students to the Ultimate Academy of Gifted Juveniles, for yet another round of deadly machinations staged by the homicidal robotic teddy bear Monokuma and his equally demented cubs. The students are challenged to commit the perfect murder, killing a fellow student and escaping detection by their peers. Using deductive reasoning, quick reflexes, and a little bit of luck, players must survive a series of trials, find the murderers amongst them, and uncover the true identity of their warped game master and the shocking secret behind their imprisonment. With a plot that full of twists and turns, there are only two lessons you can count on in the life-and-death class of Danganronpa: Trust no one, and nothing is ever quite what it seems.
Is it any good?
One of the hallmarks of any great suspense tale is unpredictability, and this mystery adventure game is loaded with lots of random elements to keep players on their toes. Face it: A mystery simply has no appeal if you already know everything that's going to happen. While the Danganronpa serious is no slouch when it comes to surprises, the plot in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has more twists than a pretzel factory. Without revealing any spoilers, it's safe to say that after the credits roll and the game's final secrets are revealed, you never feel cheated. Although nothing is ever quite what it seems, you can still see how a series of innocuous clues, unconnected events, and shocking reveals are actually connected in the grand scheme of it all. The end result leads to a rewarding payoff that's both entertaining and satisfying.
The insanity of Killing Harmony doesn't stop with its story. The gameplay is just as warped, forcing players to alternate between calm moments of interaction and observation and almost manic action. You never quite know what to expect, as one minute you're driving a car through the streets of someone's subconscious, and the next you're putting all the pieces in place in a literal puzzle game, and after that, you're trying to make sense of the chaotic ramblings of your fellow students all pleading their cases at once. It's high stress, high anxiety, and yet all still highly entertaining, if not completely disturbing. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is a macabre experience and a scathing look at modern society, but it's presented in such a way that it leaves you fully satisfied, sticking with you long after the credits roll.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. How does disturbing imagery of violence, even presented in a cartoonish manner, affect younger gamers and what should parents watch for?
Talk about decision-making in difficult situations. What are some ways to keep calm and make reasonable decisions under pressure? Could and should tough decisions compromise your personal beliefs and morals?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: NIS America
- Release date: September 26, 2017
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, High School, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.