Disgaea is a pretty big deal to some people. I myself have never been a massive fan of the series. And by that, I just simply mean that I haven’t played many of the games, but enough to be excited about this particular one. It is a series that has typically, although not always, appeared on Sony’s consoles, with one other releasing on a Nintendo console, that being Disgaea DS. That was almost 9 years ago by this point so should Nintendo fans be excited to get a series that has more often than not avoided the big N?
Disgaea 5 Complete, as the name implies, is the complete, or definitive version of Disgaea 5 which released on the PlayStation 4 back in 2015 and was met with some very positive critical reception. It features all of the DLC for Disgaea 5 on a single, teeny tiny Nintendo Switch cartridge (or download if that’s what you prefer). So what was already a massive game will now genuinely take you over a hundred hours to finish. That’s a lot of bang for your buck!
The Switch and PS4 version have essentially no differences. Considering this is now on a hybrid handheld device, that’s pretty impressive regardless of the fact that this game isn’t exactly a powerhouse in terms of graphical fidelity. There are marginally longer load times but that is the only difference I could pick up on. It is a superb conversion to the Switch.
In-game achievements have also been brought over from the PS4 version, they even pop up in the same kind of way, which is a nice touch. Since Nintendo doesn’t have anything along the lines of a trophy/achievement system, the fact that NIS has implemented one so this version is in no way inferior to the original should be much-admired. I have always felt that trophies or achievements can add replay value to any game and considering this is already such a massive game, having trophies on top of that only further increases its value for money.
Disgaea 5 Complete centred on the idea of revenge, primarily for Killia and Seraphina, who are on a mission to kill Void Dark, an evil demon that devastates numerous Netherworlds. He doesn’t do this alone however as he has the help of The Lost, which are an army of over one million warriors. Killia and Seraphina must travel across the Netherworlds to meet all other Overlords so that they can all bond together and unite against Void Dark. The main story is made up by stages, with each of them having its own unique challenge. Aside from this, there is plenty of side content to be getting on with too that allow you to find new characters, get new items and attempt some DLC challenges among other things.
For those of you that are not all that familiar with Disgaea. It is a grid based strategy RPG, similar to something like Ogre Battle or the better known Final Fantasy Tactics, but different enough to not feel unerringly similar to anything else for the most part. You’ll quickly get up to speed during the first few skirmishes you are handed and this is especially true if you have played a Disgaea game before. If you’re new to the series, there’s indisputably a lot to learn and, at first, it all might seem a bit too daunting with the amount you have to take in, but I found that the game does its best to gently introduce new elements for you to get used to it. You will gradually learn about things such as unit placement, combos, what order each team member will attack, area of effect and so on. The quicker you learn these and how well you can implement them into each battle will increase your chances of doing well and the further into the game you get, the more this is true and the more you need to know about these kinds of elements.
When you enter a battle, you will see an area coloured blue on the ground which indicates where you can put your characters with a limit of 10 to begin with. Once the actual battle starts you have your general inputs such as Move, Attack, Special, Defend, Item and Equip – all fairly standard stuff. But in Disgaea, you also have a unique feature called Lift and Throw. Basically, it’s exactly what it sounds like, you lift a character and then throw them. I mainly used this to stack up as many characters as I could together and have the bottom one throw so they attack as a tower. You can also chuck enemies away to keep them out of range of your lower defence units. There are plenty of tactics to utilise with the Lift and Throw mechanic so I found it useful to just try out different things to see what worked and what didn’t. As mentioned this is a unique feature in Disgaea games and I can’t remember any other RPG’s having anything at all similar. It can certainly add a lot of variety to battles and it gives you an extra thing to think about during them.
Disgaea 5 Complete doesn’t change all that much from the previous entries in the series, instead choosing to add a couple of new ideas into the mix, which is certainly no bad thing. For example, you have Revenge Mode which gives out various bonuses to all characters such as superior defence and using less SP for skills. Revenge Mode activates when the Revenge Gauge fills up. It does this during battles when an ally unit receives damage or is defeated, and also when defeating enemies that are themselves in Revenge Mode. Killing enemies whilst they are in Revenge Mode will also earn you Revenge Shards, which can be used to increase certain stats. When Enemies enter Revenge Mode they gain the same benefits you would. Some characters have one more benefit when using Revenge Mode, as they can use a special skill called Overload. Overloads can be different for different characters, one example might be that your character will turn into a giant and be able to deal out massive damage for a set amount of turns. Again, enemies can also use Overload too, providing they have the right character to do so.
There are tons of other things this game has to offer that if I went over each and every one of them, would make this review a good few thousand word long. To quickly go over a few, you have an MVP system, which is new to Disgaea 5 Complete and it basically tells you which character did the best and rewards them with slightly more EXP. Dimensional Prinny allows you to go into battles that you have unlocked, which at first won’t be many. Data and memories show you stats, items you have collected and skills you have used or seen in encounters and also events that have happened in the story, among other things. There are also a lot of different shops to visit such as weapon and item shops, quest shops, skill shops, cheat shops and best of all, curry shops!
One downside I can see being a problem for some is that because there is so much to take in and so much you can do, even if the game tries its best at explaining it all, it’s certainly not the best game for casual players and that ultimately makes it quite a niche game in many ways. So if you are thinking about buying it but are on the fence, just be aware of how much you need to put into the game to get the most out of it.
As I alluded to earlier, the game looks identical (from my perspective at least) to the original PS4 version. And again I know this is no graphical masterpiece but I do personally really like how this game looks. It is very colourful and I enjoy each character’s animation, it has been done really well. Voice acting is also present and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. You can switch (no pun intended) it from English to Japanese but still keep English subtitles on so you can keep up with the story, which I know a lot of people will be very happy about.
Due to the fact that it is now on the Switch, it really gives you no reason to stop playing the game for any considerable amount of time. I personally wouldn’t have put in the volume of hours I have on this game without it being on the Switch. As with all games on the system, just the sheer convenience of taking it anywhere with you and being able to just put the system to sleep until you pick it back up allows me to play at times of the day where I wouldn’t usually be able to, such as on a lunch break at work. It just makes it so much easier.
I had a lot of fun with Disgaea 5 Complete, so much so I now plan on going back and playing more games in the series. The game is ridiculously massive even without the included DLC. So you are going to be playing this for a long time to come. Disgaea 5 Complete keeps all the fun and charm of the series while making it somewhat easier for newcomers to jump in, which is never a bad thing to do. Just try and take the time to learn the fundamentals. If you already have the game and all of the DLC for PS4 then I would question whether you should jump in again purely for the convenience of portability, but that is a question you have to ask yourself. I genuinely hope that NIS bring more Disgaea games over as I feel the series can find a new home on the Nintendo Switch, it is absolutely perfect for this system.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by NIS America