Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited (PS Vita) Review

By Nikola Suprak 29.03.2015 2

Review for Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited on PS Vita

NIS has always had a wonderfully weird and delightfully eccentric catalogue of games, and the series that has served as their flagship, sticking out its tongue and making armpit farts at the helm, has been Disgaea. At their core, they have always been some of the most hardcore of SRPG titles, a genre so dense and unapproachable that newcomers will always need to venture in with their machete if they are to have even the slightest of hope of getting to the core of the game. Disgaea has always balanced this out by having some of the most light-heartedly, irreverent, and funny plots that could be hoped for, and the contrast between the seriousness of the gameplay and silliness of the dialogue has been a winning formula few games have managed to parallel. Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited continues in the trend set by its predecessors, but it perhaps does the formula better than any of them. This is just a wickedly fun SRPG that succeeds on every front and is perhaps the best reason to buy a PS Vita to date.

Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited is actually a port of the 2011 PS3 title Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten, so those that already sunk numerous hours into that title might want to consider if a portable version of essentially the same game is worth a purchase. Fortunately, this game comes packed with a few extra surprises, including being packaged with the entirety of the PS3 version's impressive DLC catalogue. This takes what was an absurdly long and complex journey and makes it even longer, stuffing this game so full of content that it is almost bursting at the seams. There are wars that don't last as long as Disgaea 4, and it seems criminal how much content is being provided for the relatively meagre asking price.

Beyond all the DLC, though, there is a surprising amount of brand new stuff that can't be found on the PS3 version at all. From relatively minor additions, like new items and magic, to more major additions, such as brand new story segments and the ability to customise the appearance of weapons to a certain extent, it quickly becomes obvious that this was not just some lazy port put out to cash in on those desperate for Vita titles. This is clearly the definitive edition of the game, and even those that polished off Disgaea 4 entirely a while back might want to take a second glance because they will be surprised with all they find.

Screenshot for Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited on PS Vita

Even with all the shiny new additions, though, this game is essentially still Disgaea 4 and tells largely the same story. It tells the tale of Valvatorez, a former hotshot and tyrant that has since moved on to a more leisurely life as a Prinny instructor. Promises are clearly important to the man, as some plot relevant promise he previously made is actually what has brought him down from his tyrannical ways and altered his diet to sardines instead of the much more hearty meals of human blood he had been used to. Unfortunately for him, his most recent class of Prinnies get kidnapped shortly after the game begins, putting him in a bit of a spot as it prevents him from fulfilling a promise he made to them. Valvatorez springs into action, and sets out on a quest to rescue his missing Prinnies. His quest leads him smack dab into the hellhole that is underworld bureaucracy and he soon discovers some dark plot afoot to eliminate the poor, adorable Prinnies he has been teaching for all these years. This leads to Valvatorez starting his own revolution, and along the way he'll pick up a colourful cast of characters to assist him in his quest.

While the plot might sound somewhat predictable, the strength of the story doesn't come from the actual tale it is telling, which is admittedly somewhat by the numbers. Instead, it comes from the irreverent humour and silliness that is crammed into every single second of dialogue. The gameplay itself is complex and serious, so the silliness in the story and dialogue serve to compliment the game very nicely. The wacky, over the top nature of the dialogue might bother some people looking for a more serious quest, and some of the running gags do get a bit tired at times. Overall, though, the script keeps the player smiling throughout, and the strength of the dialogue makes every interaction worth reading.

Screenshot for Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited on PS Vita

The characters in this game are perhaps the best cast assembled in a Disgaea title, and Valvatorez himself makes for a very strong protagonist. They all interact in this wonderfully bizarre way, and while the wackiness of the script can leave some of these interactions feeling almost too weird, there is a relatable aspect to many of these relationships that shines through. This is a fun story, more interested in being unique and bizarre than telling some sort of epic plot, and as long as expectations are altered accordingly, the plot is an absolute blast to get through.

The gameplay is comprised of numerous grid-based battles that should be at least vaguely familiar to anyone who has dipped their toe into the SRPG genre before. Battles are a turn-based affair, with the cast of heroes and some particularly polite monsters taking turns running across the stage and hitting each other. While some similar games are happy to give the player an attack, defend, and magic command and then set them out, Disgaea 4 laughs at the level of simplicity before throwing three new features in just for kicks. Characters can combine in numerous ways, the level layout itself can be broken apart or used for bonuses, and various characters perform significantly better depending on what the exact layout of the level is. The game doesn't do a great job explaining everything all the time, but that is part of the fun. A seemingly endless supply of features are thrown at the player's feet, and Disgaea 4 says "have fun" before running off to watch the chaos from afar. The sort of complexity and depth the battle system offers is almost unparalleled in all but the deepest of SRPGs, and fans of the genre will love learning all the various tricks and manoeuvres that will best serve them in combat.

Screenshot for Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited on PS Vita

This doesn't even begin to cover all the various extra content the game provides outside of battle. The main story itself is relatively tame and shouldn't take up a lion's share of the game's considerable play time. All the stuff outside or after the main story, however, gives it literally hundreds of hours of playtime if there is to be any hope of seeing Disgaea 4 through to 100%. There is just so much to see and do, and even things that are usually pretty straightforward, like item equipment, have layers upon layers of depth. The item world, a mainstay in the Disgaea franchise, allows players to enter an item of their choosing and power it up through various battles. A political map becomes available a couple of hours in to allow players to expand their influence, and this by itself feels like if it was fleshed out a bit more could be its own game. Then there are numerous end game bosses that are substantially more challenging than the ones found in the main quest. There is just an amazing amount of content here, and what is even more surprising is how well it all words together. There is no need to do any of this, of course, and while the level cap is an insane 9999, the game can be completed far, far before that.

If there is any minor complaint to be had, it would be that at times it feels like the game is trying to do too much. Breakable Geoblocks that cause area damage, Geo-panels that give special effects, fusing monsters, and a seemingly endless number of worlds to explore - the list of features goes on and on, and this entire review could be comprised of interesting gameplay features and nothing else and it would still be about three pages too long. It feels like the world in Disgaea 4 is difficult to tackle unless the player has first written their Disgaea 4 dissertation on the battle system. This isn't a game made for someone looking to quickly unwind at the end of the day. It is made for someone who goes into a game with a backpack, three maps, and a Sherpa Indian guide hoping to get lost. The amount of content can feel overwhelming at times, and some aspects of the battle system seem unnecessarily complex just for the sake of complexity. This is a wonderful game if time is taken to become dedicated to the machinations of it, but for anyone looking to just jump in and play they might find themselves getting a little lost.

Screenshot for Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited is the definitive version of arguably the best game in one of the best strategy RPG series around. There is just an absurd amount of content that even the most well versed SRPG fans will find themselves getting lost for hundreds of hours. The interface might be a bit daunting to those that don't already have their feet wet in the genre, but those that stick around to learn the ins and outs of the combat will find a thoroughly rewarding battle system and an absurd amount of quests and side-quests. There is just so much to do and so much that the game does well that not only is this one of the best SRPGs in years, it is one of the best games on the Vita, period. This comes with an unqualified recommendation to anyone that is looking for something to occupy their Vita, with the sole exception being individuals that have already completed the PS3 version of Disgaea 4 with all of its accompanying DLC. Everyone else should mark off a month or so of their gaming time to some SRPG goodness, and maybe alert their family to warn them why they may not be seeing them for a while, dood.

Developer

Nippon Ichi

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I should probably start the PS3 version after getting it recently. I'm just worried it won't be as fun as Soul Nomad (PS2).

I actually own the PS3 and Vita versions of this but never invested any time in them...

What I have played has been great though!

I play games... sometimes.

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
K-Pop Korner - The Best of Korean Music
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Insanoflex

There are 1 members online at the moment.