Disgaea has never been a series to suggest for newcomers. It offers a steep difficulty curve which already makes it a difficult recommendation, especially for those who have never played any SRPG. The game has a lot of complex systems that are challenging to understand unless you have previously played any of the Disgaea games. The difficulty can be easy or hard depending on how you play and build your characters.
Disgaea 4 Complete is an enhanced release of the fourth Disgaea game. It was first released for the PlayStation 3 in 2011 and has been expanded with new content for the PlayStation Vita. This new port offers all of the visual enhancements from the PlayStation 3 and content from the PlayStation Vita version of the game in one package on the Nintendo Switch.
Those who are familiar with Disgaea 4 can still benefit from this new release. It contains all of the post-launch DLC content that was included with the PlayStation Vita release. This version included additional story content focused on the lead, Valvatorez, and expanded more on his past. It wasn’t necessary story-wise but it helps you appreciate his character even more in the game. Other quality-of-life changes include the ability to autosave the game, increase the flow of battles, and a cheat shop. None of these are essential to enjoying the game but they do help in improving the experience.
Honestly, Nintendo Switch is quickly becoming my ideal platform for Disagae with three games getting released on it so far, and the portable nature of the system helps in playing these games over a longer period. It is also nice to have the choice of getting the full HD visuals when playing the game docked. This already makes it a definitive version to own if you ask me. The additional content is just icing on the cake. I hope the remaining games, including the Prinny and visual novel spin-off, can also eventually make their way to the Nintendo Switch.
One of the issues with the Disgaea series is that it only caters to a specific niche. Most of the games in the series start to look the same due to the lack of visual upgrades, but the one thing that differentiates each entry is the story and characters. Every Disgaea game is known for its dark humor and those who manage to strike a perfect balance between the dark and comedic tone are the most enjoyable ones out there. I would qualify Disgaea 4 in this category which makes it one of the best games released since the original Disgaea.
The game’s story follows the life of a vampire Valvatorez who has a loyal servant Fenrich. Valvatorez was a fearful tyrant hundreds of years ago until one day he promised a woman that he won’t drink blood until he can fulfill one certain condition. This condition was to make this mysterious woman fear him but before he can accomplish it, she, unfortunately, dies which leaves Valvatorez with no choice but to abide by his promise. Over the years, he acquires a taste for sardines which helps him stay alive and fulfill his obligation of training Prinnies in Hades.
Disgaea 4 features a grid-based battle system where players can control 10 characters at once. Some of the new gameplay additions coming off from the previous games are the ability to perform combo attacks on the enemies, grabbing teammates to form a tower and then using it to pull off various special moves. There are also various strengths and weaknesses to take into account when dealing with the enemies in Disgaea 4 like the condition of the grid, elements, and enemy level. Every battle will play out differently depending on your strategy and it is fun to figure out the best way to finish a battle.
Grinding is a big deal in Disgaea 4 as it can make or break the game. Item World offers one way to grind with procedurally generated levels. There are many characters to get in the game and as you progress through the story, more will be unlocked. These can be recruited and have to be trained to deal with the higher level enemies and this is why the Item World is incredibly useful. One new addition for Disgaea 4 Complete Plus is the cheat shop which makes it easier to acquire more experience and reduce the amount of time it is needed to grind for characters.
Another highlight of Disgaea 4 Complete is in its main cast and writing. Valvatorez and his minions are a likable bunch of characters. The story has many twists and it is political but the character banter is always great to witness, and there is plenty of comedic relief moments. The game never tries to take itself too seriously which immensely improves its appeal. The tone is never too dark to turn off someone from the dialogue. There is usually a joke thrown to keep the conversation going without taking it seriously. Even the most serious moments are presented in a way that hides their real nature.
For those who have never played Disgaea 4 and were introduced to the series with Disgaea 1 or 5, this new release will be a blast to play as it encapsulates everything good in Disgaea into one game. For newcomers, it might be an interesting way to dive into the world of Disgaea but I recommend to check out the first game before picking this one. In either case, this is a solid re-release bringing back one the best games in the series to modern platforms including the PS4 and Nintendo Switch.