Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3: Kowareyuku Machi to Kanojo no Uta is the third game in the Disaster Report series of characters surviving in the wake of a large-scale disaster. This entry takes place in 2012 on a man-made island in Japan and the main goal is to reach the mainland safely in three days while the city is slowly devoured by the sea. The game follows the tradition of the previous two games focusing on defensive survival mechanics and a linear storyline.
At the start of the game one of two protagonists can be chosen: Rina Makimura or Naoki Kousaka. They are eighteen and nineteen years old respectively and came to the Central Island City to start their studies at the university. The game starts when the character is on the bus when an earthquake hits. The first section then has the character escaping the tunnel. Along the way Saki Honjou and Ayami Hazuki join as fellow survivors, they encounter mysterious gunmen and there is an underlying theme of greedy corporations ignoring safety warnings in favor of profits. There are also minor educational elements to the game where it pauses with safety tips explaining how to deal with scenarios in a real world situation. This also includes topics such as maintaining social order and cell phone usage rather than pure survival. Often environmental puzzle-solving is tied to choosing and following realistic solutions. A few options for romantic pursuits are also present. The storyline is largely identical regardless of the protagonist with minor differences for the clothing collectibles, endings and interactions with other characters. Naoki is also more susceptible to stress, but has more health.
In most sections with both indoor and outdoor environments there is free movement, controlling the character directly, while dealing with a difficult situation. Examples are crawling to minimize smoke inhalation, avoiding floods, bracing the ground during earthquake tremors, gathering items such as food and water, exploring safely, minor platforming and stealth sections, and improvising to maintain health. Survival mechanics also include item crafting to create tools and inventory management. There are story sequences when new characters are encountered or require support or rescue.
Often there are multiple dialogue options through dialogue trees and conflicting choices. There is no morality system that constantly shapes the character, but choices sometimes influence how the options for future situations and eventually different endings can be achieved based on a few key choices. The personality also influences how quickly the stress meter fills up. This stress meter (ST bar) is an entirely new mechanic that influences the protagonist's health (HP bar). When stress is not maintained and dealt with it gradually reduces the maximum amount of health. Typical stress-inducing factors are exposure to danger and sights such as corpses, falling down, or exposure to water or fire. Stress can be maintained for instance by sitting down on a bench (doubling as a save point), drinking water or using a medikit.
It is still possible to share items with others characters, but compared to the earlier titles this rarely needs to be done. Also different is that all movement is now on foot, compared to the inclusion of vehicles and other types of transportation such as bikes and jet skis in the previous games. Next to gathering items for survival there is a focus on character customization through clothing options. Through local ad hoc multiplayer up to four players is supported in separate cooperative missions.