After never having played a Disgaea game previously I was sceptical as to whether or not I would enjoy it, in particular the gameplay. My general gaming background has been rooted to more action-based experience’s, shooters and action RPG’s have delivered more of my favourite experiences. But as I’ve ventured into other genre’s I have been pleasantly surprised, Steins Gate 0 has sold me on visual novel’s, various Final Fantasy titles have made a JRPG fan out of me and Disgaea fits that same trend for with tactical roleplaying games.
Disgaea 5 originally launched in 2015 and has received the package treatment as it launches on Nintendo Switch. The complete edition will of course contain all previously released DLC which makes for great value.
Killia is a competent and somewhat cocky demon, you will lead him and his newly acquired friends on their mission to overthrow the evil and powerful Overlord, Dark Void. Joining Killia closely by his side is Seraphina the ‘Gorgeous Overlord’ with a knack for making men fall for her charms and work for her. I know what you must be thinking but don’t worry you are impervious to such trickery. But she still likes to think she’s the boss. It’s a dynamic duo with tons of camaraderie. On your journey, more characters will join the party ranging from those you hire and slap a name on, to already pre-determined ones.
Strategy based action sees you battling on a square grid and in control of your entire party, early on you can be controlling 20+ characters thanks to the included DLC. Starting off in one square is a portal that acts as your summoning point, choose who you want to dispatch and begin. Movement is restricted to the number of steps stated in each character’s stats page which can leave you short sometimes as you traverse the area ensuring you give enough thought as to how you want to proceed. A separate aspect of movement is the lift mechanic in which one character can lift another and throw them to another square within a certain distance, which allows you to think about and implement different tactics.
You can attack an enemy player once within the attacking distance, this is different for each party member, allows you to take a tactical approach and place your party appropriately, ranged fighters of course can fight from afar and cover those who deal in close quarters. Having multiple characters next to each other when you launch an attack you will execute combo attacks that can deal some heavy damage and by the end of a fight grant you rewards. Of course, there are special moves to utilize if you have enough SP spare, there is also an ultimate type move called an overload but are specific to overlord classes and each character will have different overload abilities. These are only use-able once the Revenge meter has been filled, this can be filled through taking damage and once a party member gets killed.
Turbo’s change the game slightly and force you put more thought into the action, in basic terms these objects occupy a square and grant a buff or de-buff to other squares, destroy the turbo’s and the affected squares nullify. Believe me when I tell you do not get stuck in the area’s where enemies are super boosted, it does not end well.
When it comes to the visuals, particularly on Nintendo Switch you have to judge it both ways, in handheld mode and TV mode. Handheld mode the game looks great, it’s clean with a wide variety of colour’s in different shades and you can see that care has been put into the detail of the textures, particularly in the surrounding areas of each field. On the larger screen it looks like the screen has be stretched, you can notice every little imperfection but that doesn’t deter from the fact that it’s still a good looking experience. Great character aesthetics really catch the eye, a variety of different outfits for the more key characters but some of the lower-class enemies frequently have the same looks.
Never in a game have I wanted to just sit in a hub world and listen to the music for a prolonged length of time until now. The background song when in the Pocket Netherworld which is where you spend your time whilst not on a mission is stunning. The rest of the soundtrack is just a perfect example of how a game can capture emotion and immerse you in its world. Be it spending your time in the hub world, taking on enemies or in a cutscene, each musical piece fits the environment and tone.
Story – 8.5/10
Visuals – 8/10
Sound – 9/10
Gameplay – 8.5/10
Game Design & Innovation – 8.5/10
Disgaea 5 Complete really is a well-rounded package of a game, not just a jack of all trades, master of none it instead excels in all key areas. The story is unique, filled with fun characters to connect with and enemies you want to face. Gameplay is heavily complex but is spoon-fed to you to prevent it from being daunting. The game looks great and thanks to the level of detail included, the scene is set for each battle. Not only does it please the eyes but the ears as well with its thought-out soundtrack designed for immersion and awe-inducing moments.
OVERALL – 8.5/10 – GREAT
Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin (Jester).
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Disgaea 5 Complete on Nintendo Switch however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)