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This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.
As a fan of the Dangan Ronpa series, V3 contains everything I love about the series but with even more polish. But there is a sting in this tale that threatens to permanently sour my opinion of the series.
Before I get to that, I'll discuss the good: The characters remain the focus as always, and the game goes out of its way to make them likeable (or dislikeable) before sucker punching the player with their deaths. They are funny, tragic, annoying, lovable and more, helped by the excellent design, voice-acting and hidden depths most of them possess.
The murders and class trials are as enjoyable as ever, with the new Debate Scrum mechanic being the highlight. Despite what some have said I never found the murders predictable, and thought some of the twists to be inspired.
But some twists go too far...
The first five chapters of V3 are as good, if not better than the previous two games. But where those games took the premise of the story and turned them on their heads in the final chapter, V3 takes a massive dump all over the series, with an ending which is downright insulting to long-time fans.
To sum up the ending: the first two games weren't real in-universe. That's right; Dangon Ronpa 1 & 2 were just games that go so popular that the world decided to defictionalise them into a reality show (of which V3 is the 53rd instalment!) So all those characters and scenes you loved from before now mean absolutely nothing.
Was this supposed to be some meta-commentary on the popularity of a murder game? Are the developers blaming the fans for the character's deaths, claiming we have some morbid obsession with death and murder? If so it's a massive up-yours to the fans, and like Spec-Ops: The Line, the criticism fall flat for two reasons:
1) The emotions we associate with fictional characters are nothing like we feel for real people. We may shed a tear when a character dies, or feel a tingle when they're found dead, but we know they're fictional. If these were real we'd be complete wrecks. To claim we're awful people for liking these things misses the entire point of escapism.
2) The developers had to put as much love and devotion into making the damn game in order for it to be as good as it is. Are they not equally responsible for the success of Dangan Ronpa as the fans are? To say this is ungrateful is a hell of an understatement.
I've heard the developers may not have intended the ending to be read this way, but if so they dropped the ball hard. Having the final boss be a fight against the entire internet making legitimate complaints, resulting in your victory putting people off Dangan Ronpa forever, just seems petulant.
Whatever the truth is, the ending leaves a sour taste in my mouth. A real shame for something with so much potential to ruin it all at the last minute. I hope that future instalments (if they ever make any) remedy this awful ending.
You, like the other reviewer, did not understand the ending. First of all, v3 is set in a completely different universe from the rest of the series. The other games happened in their own universe, separate from v3\'s. They\'re only fiction in the v3 universe. Second, the ending was not meant to be insulting. Kodaka has clarified that it wasn\'t supposed to be a fuck you to players and that the audience does not represent the players, but Shuichi does. Hell, the fact that so much effort was put into the rest of the game should make this clear. Clearly, plenty of people understood the ending wasn\'t supposed to be a fuck you to fans. I\'ve see far more of the English audience understand that than not.
Hey, Taylor Hyuuga. People are allowed to dislike and criticize the ending if they don't like it and have problems with it. Get off your high horse and get over it.
Taylor Hyuuga doesn\'t understand things like a difference of opinion.
Except I\'m arguing against the misunderstanding of the ending. I could care less if he likes or hates it, but the basis of his dislike in inherently flawed because it\'s saying it makes the events pointless, which goes against the theme of the game entirely, and that Kodaka was insulting fans, which is not at all what was happening.
The review focused too much on the ending. I know that there\'s a disclaimer that the review involves spoilers, but it won\'t be very useful to many people, even those who don\'t mind spoilers. It spends so much time talking about a single point in the game that players won\'t reach for 40 or so hours, while only barely touching upon important things such as characters and gameplay, so it doesn\'t do a very good job of judging the game\'s strengths and shortcomings, or making a fair recommendation on whether to play it
I personally strongly disliked the ending at first, particularly when I thought that all the surviving students were just going to throw their lives away as a mere act of defiance against Danganronpa. Of course, while I gradually came to understand and appreciate the significance of it, it doesn\'t really tie into or answer the previous unsolved mysteries the way the first two games\' sixth trials did. All three of those trials answer the question of why the protagonists are trapped in the situation where they\'re killing each other, but while the first and second games\' finales tied back to previous cases, this one suggests that much of what you thought you knew- even the characters\' backstories- is a lie. I don\'t see it as a slap in the fandom\'s face, but it\'s a bit too \"meta\" for my tastes.
Furthermore, it seems as though much of the basis of TaylorHyuuga\'s argument is a statement by Kodaka that, while perhaps true, is something that some of the fandom hasn\'t necessarily heard of. If they haven\'t, then it\'s understandable that they\'d conclude that the audience represents Danganronpa\'s real-world fandom, and Shuichi\'s impassioned plea was telling us that \"Hey, we\'re real people, so stop playing these games in which we kill each other!\" As such, perhaps such opinions about the ending can be valid conclusions based on what those players know.
To be fair to him, Valiona, Danganronpa is an extremely story-heavy series. Having a plot twist like that that actively undermines the entire game that came before it matters more than it would for, say, a shoot-'em-up where the story is incidental to the gameplay. And it's not like I don't very-easily see how the ending, especially how it's framed, can be read as "What kind of disgusting freak wants to watch a bunch of kids gorily murder each other? What's wrong with you?"
Then again, I *did* just publish a review in which I said that the series has persistently failed to evolve in a way that causes its storytelling to actually improve in favor of just doubling and tripling down on bloody spectacle and lurid plot twists for their own sake in an ultimately-doomed effort to keep one-upping their own shock-jockery and surprising the audience, so I guess my comment should be taken with a grain of salt.
@Spectral Time I don\'t agree. I don\'t believe it undermines the rest of the events at all. Regardless of whether the characters and events are fiction, they still really happened.
Taylor, whether or not an undermined structure undergoes collapse, it is still undermined.
You raise some fair points about the importance of the ending. While I don\'t hate the ending as much as I did before seeing the post-credits sequence and some people\'s arguments in defense of it, I still don\'t really like it.
Of course, while the story\'s vitally important to Danganronpa, and it\'s understandable that the ending might ruin the entire story for some people, I personally think that if Sinister Sandwich enjoyed the first five cases, he should go into a bit more detail about those, albeit not to the extent of providing unnecessary spoilers. Because I enjoyed the vast majority of the game apart from 1)Killing off Kaede and replacing her with Shuichi and 2)the ending, I gave a mostly positive review while briefly mentioning those two. Part of the reason was because I didn\'t want to spoil those twists, and another part was because those are two elements of a larger whole, and while they did negatively impact the entire story, they didn\'t ruin it for me.
I still don\'t agree, Spectral, for the same reasons. I never said it underwent collapse, I said in general I don\'t believe it\'s undermined at all for those reasons. It doesn\'t matter if their personalities are \"fiction\" because the events still happened, at least in the way I see it. And that isn\'t even mentioning the possibility of Tsumugi lying.
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