Disgaea 5 Complete (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Brandon (Michael) Howard 17.05.2017 13

Review for Disgaea 5 Complete on Nintendo Switch

Nippon Ichi Software's Disgaea series has always excelled at pushing RPG tropes to their ultimate limit. Whether it's grinding out hundreds of thousands of levels for those few extra stat points, or maxing out items through complicated systems, Disgaea has found ways to make the mundane aspects of its genre exciting through its over-the-top visuals and characters. With so many different challenges and levels to complete, Disgaea 5 Complete feels right at home on Nintendo's newest platform.

Disgaea may take a few cues here and there from other strategy role-playing games, such as the Fire Emblem series and Final Fantasy Tactics, but that isn't what's driven the series' success. Disgaea still has classic strategy at its core, but it's made a career out of subverting the tropes that have made RPGs so successful over the years, and Disgaea 5 Complete is no exception, with its deep and immersive systems and overwhelming flair.

Unlike many RPGs, Disgaea 5 Complete isn't a story of heroism, but instead one of revenge. Seraphina and Killia, two powerful demons who have been wronged by the demonic Overlord Void Dark, somewhat reluctantly join forces to overthrow his growing regime. Throughout their journey they meet other Overlords who also seek revenge against Void Dark for various wrongdoings, creating an alliance bent on carrying out vengeance against the demon.

Screenshot for Disgaea 5 Complete on Nintendo Switch

All of Disgaea 5 Complete's characters are vibrant and memorable, and the voice acting is especially on-point. All the characters might be demons with vastly different agendas and extremely loose morals, but they're charming and lovable in their own ways. The character development comes through in scenes before and after every stage, which provides a nice balance of gameplay and story; neither section ever feels too overbearing at one time.

The story is told throughout the course of 16 multi-stage chapters, making it one of the longer entries in the series to date. Each stage features unique environments, puzzles, and enemies that require careful strategy and outright grinding to complete. Stages are infinitely replayable, making it easy to come back to challenging stages after a few rounds of practice on easier levels. The new questing functionality even offers rewards for completing older stages, making it feel a little less painful to take the time needed to pump out those extra few levels.

Screenshot for Disgaea 5 Complete on Nintendo Switch

Each stage offers a single point from which to deploy characters, who can move around the map based on their movement range, and attack enemies with various weapons, skills, and magic. Each character class has their different strengths and weakness, so building a well-balanced team is the key to success. Characters can also be picked up and thrown, making for some unorthodox battle strategies, and new ways to tackle foes open up as the story progresses.

Characters can level up all the way to 9,999, although the main story won't require quite that level of commitment. Most of the post-game content will require a bit more of a time sink, however, and players who want to explore all Disgaea 5 Complete has to offer should best be prepared for a long haul. Equipment is a whole other ball game, with each item having its own methods of powering up through the randomized dungeon known as the Item World. Again, the story mode generally won't require too much dabbling in this, but for post-game content, it'll be essential in claiming victory over the challenges faced.

Disgaea also allows players to directly influence game mechanics by passing bills or through the in-game Cheat Shop, which can adjust the power level of enemies, as well as experience, money, and resource modifiers, allowing for more efficient grinding, or gruelling challenge runs. There's tons of different ways to tailor the experience to best fit an individual playstyle, which definitely helps as players dive deeper into the wealth of content hidden deep within Disgaea 5 Complete.

Many of the Disgaea series' more opaque systems are a lot more accessible this time around. The character creation is still both extremely detailed and easy to master, while unlocking new classes (something that was often somewhat hidden in older games) is loaded into the much more visible quest system. The "Innocents" system, which can power up and strengthen items, is also a lot more user-friendly, offering a convenient place to store and manage the various parts the system requires.

Screenshot for Disgaea 5 Complete on Nintendo Switch

All the accessibility options make this one of the more beginner friendly Disgaea titles out there, especially for those looking to dig deep into the post-game. The natural progression systems feel much less steep than in previous titles, and it never reaches the point where it feels like a slog to keep going on. The DLC added from the PS4 version also works overtime, simultaneously offering new challenges and a variety of characters to make the game a little easier for series newcomers.

The controls all work great, whether through the Joy-Con, the Joy-Con Grip, or the Pro Controller, though it must be mentioned that the lack of touch controls is slightly disappointing, if not understandable given their absence on the PS4 version. There's also options for inverting the control set-up for those who want a slightly different input/output correlation, so the controls will always feel very natural.

Disgaea 5 Complete retains the over-the-top spectacle of its predecessors, while never feeling like an unending, impossible grind. The story and characters are just as hammy as ever, but that's one of the most endearing parts of the series, and there are still some standout impactful moments that keep the plot engaging through its 16-chapter long epic.

Screenshot for Disgaea 5 Complete on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Disgaea 5 Complete is a natural fit for the Switch, as the features that make it more accessible than older titles in the series are highlighted through the portability of the platform. While already an excellent SRPG in its own right, the DLC added into the core game both provides a definitive experience for series veterans, while also offering several slight handicaps to newer players. Disgaea 5 Complete's strategic depth and genre-savvy charms feel perfect at home or on the go, making it an excellent addition to any growing Switch library.


Nippon Ichi


NIS America





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

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


the lack of touch controls is slightly disappointing

I actually think this is unforgivable. I really thought that when people were Tweeting NIS about touch controls, the reason behind the delayed Western release was to patch them in after the Japanese version didn't have touch controls in. Seriously - why put a game like this on a touch-enabled device...and then not enable a stylus or finger to be used? Makes no sense, and puts me off straight away Smilie

( Edited 17.05.2017 22:15 by Adam Riley )

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I think so too, but this Switch screen isn't the same as the 3DS screen, which was stylus friendly. It's not the same soft type screen. I'm sure there's a technical name for the types of screens. But still no reason why it can't have touch anyway, even if using a finger might not be quite as accurate. The lack of soft screen like the 3DS is a bit of a bummer, otherwise I think perhaps more games would take up a touch option, which would be perfect for these strat games.

Has to be said I appreciate the option to switch cancel/confirm on A and B. A minor option, but an important one all the same. Especially important now that non-Nintendo players coming from Xbox/PS and jumping in with Switch can struggle to adapt to the confirm button being on the right side of the diamond.

The DLC being available off the bat perhaps means I can cheese my way through this, but I don't mind having an easy ride. Looking forward to going through it.

( Edited 18.05.2017 00:07 by Azuardo )

I think it's a "capacitive touch" screen. I've got a special stylus that can be used with phones, which works perfectly on the Switch screen. I'm just amazed they didn't include the option.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Ooh, maybe one of those sort of squishy rubber-ended stylus that you can use on computer monitors would work nicely on a Switch then? I tapped my 3DS stylus on the Switch one time, and I immediately realised it was a big mistake, as not only did it do nothing, but I could tell it would scratch the shit out of it.

An option would have been nice at least tho, even if it meant using a finger.

Yup, I use my rubber end against it Smilie Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I knew exactly what I was typing when I wrote that Smilie

Whoa, am I in the minority again... :/

By the way Brandon, did you find the ride any challenging? One of my main issues with the game is that it's extremely easy, especially in the first 4 or so chapters.

Can't a fella drink in peace?

Of all the Disgaea games, I'm pretty sure 5 is far and away the easiest title from beginning to end. The post game is still pretty challenging, but the way the innocent shop works makes the item world prospects waaaay easier. The Asagi map in the post game, plus that one class with Land Devastator, really speeds up the post game grind. Baal will probably still give you some trouble, but little in the post game will compared to, say, reverse pirating in Disgaea 3.

Not that that system was particularly hard, just annoying as hell. I'm glad the Carnage world is easier to access this time around.

( Edited 18.05.2017 12:02 by Chantiment )

I can live without the touch controls, but I still miss them from Disgaea DS, since that's where I started the series. It's super annoying, but I've yet to see a practical application of the Switch touch screen. I'm sure it's great for various UIs, but I don't see it working well with games for the reasons you guys mentioned.

Try World of Goo Smilie Motion pointing AND touch controls work smoothly Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I honest to god had no idea the Switch had touch controls until this comment thread. 

No touch controls is honestly bad. :/ After playing SRPGs on iOS and 3DS it is really unpleasant to go back as it feels so natural really quickly to just drag around the characters on the board. It improves gameplay speed, and the feeling of playing. Not to mention the wonders it does for menu maneuvering.

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

I've not been pining for touch controls since playing it, but I hope future installments grant the option. I guess they couldn't be arsed and wanted to get the port out as soon as.

There are some nice options all around in this game tho. I like that you can switch from the diagonal view to a straight top-down view. I find myself often playing with the top-down view that allows you to move literally left, right, up and down, rather than diagonally. Makes it easier to pick the tiles you want.

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