Once in a while, we play a game when we were younger or maybe in our free time with friends. One can often encounter a game series that manages to stick with them well after playing said title. For me, Disgaea was that elusive titled I played when I was younger and have loose memories about. It was a fascinating game and a family friend introduced me when I have started playing, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (FFTA), and I remember not being to enthralled by it. Maybe I was just too focused with FFTA. I tend to get too into a currently played game and everything else looks like peasantry… It is a bad habit yes but, Disgaea kept picking and poking away at my mind. So, I picked up a copy, sure the fifth main title but hey, better now than never right? Disgaea 5 takes what I loved about the squad oriented, top down, turn based strategy and runs with it. So much that you get to have a level 9999 cap and 40+ classes to play around with. Truly one of the few diverse titles I have played yet. With wacky two dimensional sprite animations and a wide variety of skills to specialize in, Disgaea 5 Alliance of Vengeance, truly aims for the starts, bringing everything the title possibly can to the table.
While a stranger to the series as a whole, I can thankfully say that a majority if not all of the Disgaea games, each have a diverse and unique story to each game with the game universe acting as a carried over force. That made me feel a bit better when purchasing the title in question. When it comes to the story, it is no better or worse than FFTA or any other top down, turn based for that matter. While the story follows Killia, we are thrown at other characters that have a bone to pick with the Lost’s leader, Void Dark. One way or the other they will all have their vengeance. The story takes roughly about a couple days time to beat, if you are decent at power leveling and grinding. The cut-scenes of the game either play out with the 2d sprites or the amazingly hand drawn art that pops up in the game. It really is a fun an quirky way of engaging the players. Now what is a cut-scene with out voice acting? This game delivers on both the Japanese and the English versions, allowing the player a free form way of switching between either from within the pocket Netherworld.
Now, player choice in how they approach a task and play is always a crucial aspect of any game, no less from a turn based strategy. Disgaea approaches this and gives a whole helping heap of lee-way to the player to go about how they level and what they do to progress and earn those sweet, precious HL (Hells=Currency of the Nerther-Universe). With a lot of classes to choose from and several new class ranks within the class you chose, Disgaea essentially presents a unique way to play. Even items can be leveled to provide insane stat boosts or even more attack power. You can even take this further by getting move scrolls or unlock Evilities, special passives or moves that make combat much more diverse. Your classes can then be tooled to be more offensive, defensive or supportive, depending on what moves they learn and are taught or what weapons you train them in. Heck, you even have a customization based map editor that allows the user to make their own custom maps, however the ones I have seen tend to be level 9999 and have a high challenge requirement. The difficulty of combat is actually gauged very well, with each progressive level taking the enemies and making them tougher and tougher. To mitigate this, we can look at the item world or even the Chara world to help our units level up and keep us toe to toe with the enemies. Even the research option, which allows you to discover and send units off to explore and fight in these worlds, will allow for your units to keep leveled up, so that way you don’t feel like any one group is missing out.
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Now in terms of future content, there is a DLC shop and there is a released season pass, which of course means that we get to see the possibility old content being thrown into the game and even more quests or items to use. I would suspect that we may also see a hopeful expansion of the map editor and more bits and bobble to throw into the mix. I don’t know how much the DLC programs added on PS3 added or what they did for the game, it just adds a great bit of mystery to what we can expect and or see from a future release of DLC. Now, I know how many gamers love DLC, it just is something that the industry goes for. I would hope to see some big DLC packs that might add longer quests or even more diversity to what we are able to do in the game like more classes or more areas or shops. I think that we will all be pleasantly surprised to see what they pull from the Japanese releases and apply towards the North American and great worldwide releases.
In ending this review I will say I do love the fighting mechanics, they are fluid and fast and fun, and a bit different than from what I am used to from FFTA or Fire Emblem Awakening. While the game can present a typical grind to meet this level format, it does so in a colorful way that helps you to fully expand and better your own units. The Item world gives us all an awesome, ever changing dynamic that is truly different with each game play. With a large item base and classes that will give you a lot to choose from, you can really make squads to play on certain maps and a literal bevy of endless possibilities. While the story was there it could have been a bit more but it was still plenty good as is! Keep your browsers locked on OGZ for all your gaming needs and anime wants!