By Alexander O. Cuaycong
and Anthony L. Cuaycong
Disgaea 5 Complete Edition
DEVELOPED BY Nippon Ichi Software and catering to the turn-based JRPG market, Disgaea has long legs. Having carved its niche in the genre by emphasizing not only the cuteness of its characters but also the surprisingly fun mechanics of its combat systems, the long-running series released its latest title, Disgaea 5, on the PlayStation 4 in 2015. Now, two years later, Disgaea 5 is slated to be unleashed on the Nintendo Switch as Disgaea 5 Complete, featuring the main game and all its original downloadable content.
Considering all this, does Disgaea 5 Complete hold up? Yes, it does, and quite well. Disgaea 5 Complete keeps the same Disgaea formula the series is known for, and adds a few new touches to the combat system. Guide principal protagonist Killia and heroine princess Seraphina through various Netherworlds as they battle the evil Emperor Void Dark and uncover the secret of Killia’s secretive past. Make use of skills to combat your foes, and use varying weapons and characters to maximize your team’s potential and take in the increasing difficulty of each new mission.
While missions tend to be straightforward, battle layouts are unique and provide a lot of leeway on how to vanquish foes. Fights are conducted turn by turn, with players moving units across a predetermined map. Thusly, the game provides a combo-oriented feel to it; attacks can be chained in a coordinated assault. And the more effective the combo, the bigger the rewards; in-game items and loot, including rare collectibles and bonuses, await those who excel in filling a combo gauge.
Needless to say, characters in the game have an aptitude for certain stats and weapons; how fast they move, how accurate they are, how effective each strike will be, even how far their attacks will go — all these depend entirely on the weapon they wield and how proficient they are with it. Characters naturally gravitate to the weapon that suits their class more, and there are plenty to choose from. Weapon types affect range and damage dealt, and weapon skills come in a wide array of flashy, colorful, and creative designs.
And there lies the biggest asset of Disgaea 5. The game gives players a lot of leeway in team composition, allowing them to assemble their champions as they see fit. One character might be armed with a gun, while an other may have a spear or a bow. Certain weapon types push and pull enemies around, and some hit more than one unit at a time; Disgaea 5 even retains Geo reactions, where certain tiles have various positive and negative effects for characters occupying them. In terms of gameplay, Disgaea 5 is what every JRPG fan can hope to experience; it is easy enough for neophytes to understand and pick up, but it likewise provides substantial depth for longtime fans of the series, and the genre, to highlight their creativity and skill.
Combine that with the plot, which shifts from serious to nonsensical at a moment’s notice, and you have a game that’s for major gamers even though it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s reflective and robust, and yet injects just the right amount of fun in each scenario. It’s a light-hearted game at its core, and fans who play through it the first time will undoubtedly love how the developers have managed to perfectly capture the series’ charm with intertwined levity and heft.
If the main story still isn’t enough to satisfy you, worry not. Disgaea 5 Complete comes with side stories and missions, providing players with content that will take them hours upon hours to sift through. There also exists the option to up the ante; this provides the bulk of the title’s replay value, as increasing the difficulty gives enemies better stats and equipment but also dangles more desirable rewards. Stats can be counted in the millions, and while it isn’t necessary to grind in Disgaea 5 Complete, its end-game content requires you to do so. Items can also be improved in-game by going through the Item World, a series of randomized levels of varying difficulty dependent on the quality of the prize. The better the item at stake, the harder the level that awaits.
In sum, Disgaea 5 Complete is a solid offering on the Nintendo Switch. It gives players old and new the core Disgaea experience. And while there is no novel content available in Disgaea 5 Complete, those who already own Disgaea 5 on the PS4 may still choose to double dip as the Switch version boasts of all the DLCs from the get-go, plus provides extreme portability. It’s a title those who own Nintendo’s current-generation hardware cannot do without. Highly recommended.
• The Disgaea experience at its finest
• Runs superbly on the Switch
• Features all DLCs from the outset
• Potentially provides thousands of hours of playtime
• No new content on offer
• End game gets tedious and grindy