The Nintendo Switch has been a little starved for content since it was released a couple months ago. Zelda was a blast, but by this time most people have sunk plenty of hours into the game and are looking for something else to take up their time. There are other games on the console that may provide a neat little diversion, but none compare to the staggering amount of content available in NIS’ latest release – Disgaea 5 Complete for the Switch.
If you are new to the Disgaea franchise, you’re in for a treat. To sum it up as best as I can, Disgaea 5 is a strategy RPG that takes place in the Netherworld where you play a character named Killia who is trying to enact revenge on the Demonic Emperor, Void Dark. Along the way, you’ll meet up with a host of characters that you’ll recruit and level up to take on numerous stages that ramp up in difficulty as you progress through the game. There are other games out there similar to Disgaea, but none have the level of polish and comedic genius that NIS puts into one of their flagship games.
As I mentioned earlier, Disgaea 5 Complete is an SRPG (strategy role playing game.) On each grid based map, you’ll begin with characters that you pull through a portal of sorts and position throughout the map. You need to always be aware of your enemies and your surroundings. With SRPGs, you always want to keep your characters together in order to synergize with each other. This is especially true in Disgaea and characters will do dual attacks together when they are placed next to other. By strategically placing characters around the map, you can ensure that no one character will be left out to pasture if things go south. And go south they will. Thankfully, there are different character types that can help you in the most dire of situations including healers and ranged mages.
In Disgaea, you’ll begin the game with a couple characters that are all level 1. As you complete rounds, you’ll level your characters and unlock skills that will increase their performance in battle. Through a built in questing system, you’ll be able to unlock additional characters that will have their own sets of skills to level and introduce new methods of tackling challenges in each level. This is one of the most fun aspects of the game and unlocking new and interesting character types is one of the most addictive features. By the time you sink 30-40 hours into this massive game, you’ll have a whole host of characters that complement each other and can be brought into battle whenever you want. Along with characters, each can be equipped with weapons and armor you find or buy, furthering the level of customization you can impart to each character.
Disgaea 5, on it’s face, looks like a standard SRPG. It’s when you really start diving into the mechanics that you see just how deep and involved these games get. As you level characters, you’ll be given the option to “reincarnate” them which will reset their level to 1, but give them a large boost to leveling and base stats. This is the one way to make powerful characters that much more powerful. Disgaea is a grind heavy game, so be aware of that going in. That’s to be expected when to get your characters leveled up, you often have to reset their levels at the sake of base stats. But it doesn’t take too long to get them back up to snuff and with the added power, it’s more than worth the reset.
I mentioned earlier that characters can be leveled up, but this game goes one step further and actually lets you level up items…by going inside them. This is another characteristic of just how deep this game can get. By going into an item and fighting through the item world, you will increase the items level while also saving innocents. Innocents are NPCs that can be assigned to different items to give them stat increases. I know, it sounds crazy, and at first it will be insanely crazy to wrap your head around. If this all sounds way too deep for you, that’s fine, you can ignore the deeper aspect and just play the story mode and have an amazing time. That’s how I play these games and they are a blast. But for people who truly want to get really deep into the game and see everything it has to offer, there is plenty here to keep you busy.
The one possible downside of the game, and it’s not really a negative but something to be aware of, is that this isn’t a casual game. You need to invest time into Disgaea to truly get the most enjoyment out of it. You will hit areas of the game where you can’t continue because your characters just aren’t leveled enough. In these instances, you go back to previously visited levels and grind out some levels to raise your characters stats. You can also take diversions to the aforementioned item world which will also give you some levels on your characters. Some people absolutely hate grind heavy games, so I wanted to mention it. If you’re like me though, grinding in games doesn’t scare you and can actually add the enjoyment as you gain practice with your squad and always work to increase that ever rising character level.
Disgaea 5 Complete is a re-release of Disgaea 5 that came out on the PS4 previously. When it came out then, it was incredibly well received and this version contains all DLC that was added post release. There are also some extra characters that are pretty powerful and available from the onset of the game who will really help you get up to speed with the game. With hundreds of hours of possible gameplay, a fun and really comedic story there is much to love with Disgaea. On a platform that had other games to play, Disgaea would be a great buy, but on a platform starved for games, it’s a must own. If you’re already sunken more than enough time into Hyrule, then give Disgaea’s Netherworld a shot and lose yourself in the absurd, but addictively fun world of Disgaea 5 Complete.