Disgaea PC (PC) Review

By Aria DiMezzo 01.03.2016 3

Review for Disgaea PC on PC

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness was, in many ways, Nippon Ichi's watershed title, coming out of nowhere and blowing people away with its robust class system, quirky characters, limitless customisation options, and ridiculous amounts of content. It was eventually brought to PSP as the absurdly named Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, which offered small graphical improvements and a new campaign starring the smart-mouthed but definitely-not-flat-chested Etna. After years of fans asking why it wasn't already on PC, Nippon Ichi has delivered. Should fans now be delighted, or be more careful in the future what they wish for? Cubed3 dives straight into this beloved gem.

Fans who expected robust graphical overhauls will be disappointed, as most of the improvements were to maps and portraits, but not character models. Luckily, Laharl and the gang were spared the indignity of questionable redesigns, a la Final Fantasy VI, but they don't really appear to have been improved, either. Whether this is a problem depends on individual preferences, but the graphics are clear and concise, and they don't detract from the experience. While maps look better than ever, the overall graphics merely get the job done—nothing more, and nothing less.

This is essentially Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness on PC, which will be helpful for those who didn't play the re-release on PSP, and Etna's campaign is still available from the start with a short code. However, this is where one of the problems appears: menus and tutorials reference things like "Button 1" and "Button 4," with no indication of what key or button the game actually considers "Button 4." By default, "Button 4" is the Escape key, and it becomes needlessly obtuse. It raises the question: Why couldn't menus and tutorials simply reference the key that was actually mapped (such as "[Esc]" and "[Enter]") instead of these arcane numberings? This is easier with a controller, since obviously Circle/B will be cancel and Triangle/Y will open the menu, but players who see "Button 3" and have to figure out what that means are in for unnecessary confusion, especially with a keyboard.

Screenshot for Disgaea PC on PC

Those are the only real problems with Disgaea PC, other than its uninspired name, because the series still exists in a niche that doesn't offer up much serious competition. Turn-based strategy role-playing games aren't exactly mainstream, and Nippon Ichi's charming series stands tall among them. This position in the gaming industry is well earned: the characters are fascinating, their relationships are enticing, and the voice acting has just the right amount of narm to make players laugh and smile. The spoiled demon prince Laharl attempting to become Overlord while Mid-Boss and others try to usurp his throne provides a lot of entertainment, and it only gets better when the dim-witted but endearing angel, Flonne, enters and falls in love with the prince.

The Disgaea series is certainly not one that takes itself seriously, and part of the fun is exploring the countless options and finding new ways to completely break game balance. The level cap is an absurd 9999, and it's typical to see damage numbers in the tens of millions, but here is where one of the original's biggest problems appear: the game isn't balanced. The only stats that matter are Strength and Intelligence, for warriors and spellcasters respectively. At later stages of the game, victory is essentially determined by whoever hits first, and this core issue has persisted through all releases of the original game. Within the campaign, this isn't an issue, but the story is a very small portion of what is on offer.

Screenshot for Disgaea PC on PC

The Item World is where most time will be spent. It's a dimension hidden inside an item, where Laharl and his team must fight their way through a series of floors, defeating Specialists along the way, who provide stat bonuses to the items that contain them. For each floor defeated, the item also gains a level, which makes it more powerful, and every single item in the game can be entered this way. Far from simply maxing out a character's stats, it's also possible to max out their equipment.

Nor is that all. The Dark Assembly is the Netherworld's parliament, and humanoid characters can use Mana, which is earned by defeating enemies, to propose various pieces of legislation. Senators can be bribed with items, which makes them more likely to support the bill, but if all else fails, the character can attempt to "persuade" the Senators to support the bill—essentially by killing everyone who stood against it. Since some of these bills are tremendously helpful, getting them passed can be important.

Screenshot for Disgaea PC on PC

As though all that wasn't enough to be doing, every monster that is defeated can also be recruited into the party at the Dark Assembly. Each monster has advantages and disadvantages, as well as unique skills. Since Skills also gain levels, becoming more powerful and unlocking new Skills in the process, Disgaea PC becomes the min-maxer's best dream and worst nightmare; maxing a single character will take dozens and dozens of hours. Even then, a character reaching Level 9999 isn't necessarily maxed, because they can be Reincarnated to a different class, keeping a small percentage of their previous stats, subsequently becoming even more powerful with each Reincarnation.

Most of this absurd degree of customisation is optional, however, and isn't necessary to simply beat the main story. Skipping the Item World and Dark Assembly does amount to missing out on most of the game, but the main campaign can be completed without all the grinding. The hard part is tearing away from the Item World and Dark Assembly long enough to finish the campaign, but the story is well worth playing through thanks to the amusing characters and excellent voice acting.

Screenshot for Disgaea PC on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Although Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness was really the definitive version of the original game, Disgaea PC still holds up very well, particularly in a genre that isn't overflowing with competition. The graphics have aged reasonably well, and the improvements to the maps look great, even if they do make the character models look a bit flat and dull in comparison. Expecting players to rely on muscle memory for the controls is an issue, but these minor gripes aren't problems for long.

Disgaea PC can be bought from Green Man Gaming in Steam format today, along with many other great titles from indie developers, those on the Nintendo eShop, and you can even see what's new on GMG in general.

Image for

Developer

Nippon Ichi

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

Comments

I want to add that I freaking love this game, and have already sunk more than 40 hours into Disgaea PC, even after having spent hundreds of hours on Hour of Darkness and Afternoon of Darkness.

But...

There's no reason to get this over the PSP release, Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, if that's an option.

I also don't know how I got through this whole review without saying "dood" even once...

( Edited 01.03.2016 06:27 by Anema86 )

Has Anyone Really Been Far Even as Decided to Use Even Go Want to do Look More Like?

The game that just keeps on giving. It will never die!!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I hope it doesn't! I'm more than 100 hours into it now, but do have to mention that it seems to have a rather unfortunate problem with crashing on AMD systems, allegedly because of a memory leak. Whatever is really the case, until they implement an Auto-Save feature that creates a Restore Point at each new floor of an Item World, it shouldn't be played by people like me who are eager to store 185,000 levels. Getting to level 92 of an Item World while going after the Hyperdrive (which requires going through all 100 floors of a legendary without exiting at all, in one continuous run), only to have the game crash and all that progress lost... It's inexcusable in a game like this.

The crashes only began when I was about 65 hours into the game. I couldn't guess why that is the case, but when I reviewed it, there had not been a single crash for me. I haven't reached the point where I can reach the 100th floor of an Item World (I'm only level 1600, because I was trying to avoid the Cave of Ordeals, to see how long it took, but the Cave of Ordeals makes grinding so much faster that it's just stupid to not use it), but I did have it crash when I was on the 23rd floor, and I haven't played since.

The last time I played Disgaea was Afternoon of Darkness, and I used PPSSPP to do it. It had Save States and ran flawlessly. I don't really want Save States in Disgaea PC, because they're too easy to abuse, and the power gamers grinding up to level 9999 are exactly the type who would abuse save states, but a Restore/Save function similar to those used in the Final Fantasy re-releases (one that automatically deletes itself upon resuming) is necessary, since they'll never fix 100% of the crashes.

So be warned, everyone. If you intend to get a Majin to level 9999, you might want to wait. Grinding is one thing. Repeating a grind because the game crashed is something else entirely. Smilie

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