Have you ever wondered what would happen if you took the formula of Final Fantasy tactics and mixed in a massive dose of anime Humor?
No!!!! What is wrong with you!!!!
Well, Nippon Ichi software has had your back since 2003 and they have revisited the original Disgaea title in its 15th anniversary year and given it a shiny new coat of paint.
Disgaea is a title that originally launched on the ps2 and has since seen ports to the DS, PSP and the PC (with a failed attempt at taking parts of the original game and making a mobile title).
If you were to ask fans of the series then most would likely tell you the PSP version was the best version of the game as it added things, like being able to speed up battles by skipping animations and also Etna mode which allowed you to play a story centring around the hugely popular Vassal (a subordinate) of main character Laharl.
That version was then ported to PC, and this seems to be a Remastered version of the PC port so you are getting the best looking version of the best version of the title. It should be noted that this seems to be a visual upgrade only, it doesn’t have any of the improvements that made the later games better to play and still has the same flaws that the PSP version had.
The game revolves around Laharl and his vassal, Etna, who are demons from the Netherworld. Laharl is the son of the King of the Netherworld, who has just died, and the story initially revolves around him fighting off pretenders to the throne so as to take his place as the new lord of the Netherworld. Very quickly in the story, he is joined by the last main character to complete the iconic trio, known to all Disgaea fans as The Angel Flonne. Along the way you will have a whole host of characters join your party, the story is hilarious and fans of anime humour will get a real kick out of it.
As mentioned before the game is played in the same kind of style as the classic Final Fantasy tactics falling into the SRPG genre.
To those not familiar with the genre, this is far more strategic than your more traditional RPG. You have to consider things like how far your character can move, what direction you are attacking your enemy from, and even elevation can play a part in the damage you are dishing out to the enemy you’re attacking.
You also create your own characters to add to your party, making sure that you have the right mix of damage dealers, magic users etc. to help you get through battles without being wiped out and having to try again.
Disgaea can be very daunting to new users, originally when I started to play the games I had to look at guides and resource sites online to help me understand what all the stats and other elements of the games meant and how to use them. The great news for newcomers is that the Disgaea fanbase is well established, so it is very easy to find stuff online to help you get to grips with the many things you will need to understand to truly unlock the full power of your characters (you can level all the way to 9999).
The game has 14 worlds to play through in the main story, each of which has multiple stages that end in a boss stage (you usually recruit the boss to your party after each world).
Along with this, there is also a randomly generated “item world”, this is how you level your items to make them stronger. In item world, you have to clear stages and actually fight your way to make your gear and weapons stronger with the most powerful weapons having 100 floors to clear.
The item world is one of the best parts of the game, however, as I touched on before there was always a flaw in the original game where a floor could be randomly generated that was unbeatable. This still exists in this title so you may occasionally be frustrated to reach a floor in an item and have to exit the item instead of clearing it.
I was disappointed that this was the case as it would be great if this was an improved version and not just better looking.
Aside from the story and item world, there is also a post game that gives you more levels to play through, more characters to recruit, and you also have a new game. This allows you to go back and get a different ending than your first playthrough because there are a few different endings available.
I think the people that are most likely to buy this will already be Disgaea fans so they would know what they are getting into, but for people looking to pick up a Disgaea game for this first time you will be getting a deep gameplay experience that if you enjoy you will find yourself sinking 100’s of hours into as completing the game is only the start. Just be aware that this is an old game with a fresh coat of paint so some things will feel a little dated despite the modern looks.
I love Disgaea so I knew I was going to like this game, but I was disappointed that it was really nothing more than a visual upgrade. That being said I can’t wait to jump back into the Netherworld and finish everything the game has to offer all over again.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*