Disgaea 5 Complete (Review) Nintendo Switch

Disgaea 5 Complete (Review) Nintendo Switch
Review Score:

Disgaea 5 Complete by developer Nippon Ichi Software is an isometric, turn-based RPG that sees the player in the role of Killia, a young, cold-hearted demon who is seeking revenge against Dark Void, the Demon Emperor of the Netherworld. Along the way, the player will build a massive army of demons consisting of Prinnies, custom made characters, and the protagonists from prior Disgaea sequels to do battle against the rogue factions that have turned the Netherworld into a war zone. As the game’s title implies — the Nintendo Switch version is the epitome of ‘complete’.

On the surface, Disgaea 5 Complete seems like a straight-forward port of the Playstation 4 game. The characters, core game mechanics and main story have remained virtually the same, as the player assists Seraphina, a wealthy, Overlord princess that has retreated inside a ‘pocket’ Netherworld that she created. From there, the player is reintroduced to all the NPC vendors that have become commonplace in the Disgaea universe, including the Rosen Queen Co (where the player can purchase and sell armor and weapons); the Netherworld Hospital (an NOC that resurrects and heals fallen party members); and the Data Shop (a system where the player can view the items their party has collected; the amount of damage inflicted on enemies; and the skills used during combat), among others.

New to Disgaea 5 is the Alliance Attack, a feature where main storyline characters team up for special attacks based on their relationships with each other. Another feature is Revenge mode, where nearby units receive power boosts from allies that are repeatedly attacked. When this happens, the player can execute an ‘Overlord’ attack indicative of the party member chosen.

Any monsters that join the player’s party can be fused together to create powerful melee weapons. Known as Monster Fusion, this feature allows up to four unique monsters to fuse with a party member of the player’s choosing. The weapon combinations vary based on the monsters being fused. For example: fusing two Prinny together creates a large, fat Prinny sword, while fusing a Succubus and a Nekomata together summons a powerful Butt Bump Axe. Again, the type of weapons received through the fusion process vary based on the monsters being fused.

The game also includes Revenge Mode, a new feature that utilizes a ‘Revenge Gauge’ that fills every time a character takes damage or perishes during combat. Once the gauge is full, party members will enter a stasis called ‘Revenge’ Mode. When this happens, characters will gain special abilities and stat boosts that will improve their performance during combat. For example: damage inflicted by enemies is reduced by a whopping 25%, while all character skills – despite their effectiveness – only cost 1 SP.

As the game progresses, the Revenge Gauge will maintain itself between levels. However, it will begin to deplete the moment a character with a full Revenge Gauge enters combat. Overlord characters can use special Overlord skills once per battle when they’re in Revenge Mode. In fact, Overlord Skills can be obtained for every character by visiting the Dark Assembly. It should also be mentioned that enemies can also enter Revenge Mode and gain the same skills as the player’s party. This can make for some interesting battles.

As a bonus, the game includes a second story that involves the protagonists from prior Disgaea games. While mostly filler, these mini missions serve as fan fare, as the player battles popular characters such as Valvatorez (the sardine-loving vampire from Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten); the rambunctious Overlord, Laharl (i.e Disgaea 2, etc.); and Etna (i.e. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Disgaea 2, etc.), among others. Defeating these characters will not only make them allies, but playable during the main story. The second story isn’t perfect, though. During the main game, Killia is portrayed as a rude, condescending anti-hero who prefers to work alone. But this isn’t the case during the second story. He is depicted as a helpful, laid back character who is willing to help those in need, regardless of the consequences. Fans will be better served if they complete the main story first, rather than the other way around.

Like its predecessors, Disgaea 5 Complete uses a turn-based combat system where grid-like environments comprise the landscape. Party members are placed on the battlefield by using the ‘dispatch’ portal, which is located at the edge of the battlefield. Character movement — while based on turns – is also limited by a number of ‘steps’, which are depicted as red flashing squares on the battlefield. For example: Killia can travel a minimum of 32 squares depending on the environment, while a Prinny (especially after moving once from the portal) can be limited to 26 squares or less.

The Tower attack system is also present in Disgaea 5 Complete, allowing the player to ‘stack’ characters in a ‘tower’ formation to fight enemies that stand on cliffs and platforms. This feature also increases the strength of low level characters, making them more powerful. If the player stacks ten characters into a Tower, they will have access to the ‘Tower Laser’, a devastating attack with an S-Class ranking. It should be mentioned that character levels do not matter in this case. A ten character Tower can inflict thousands of points of damage, regardless of the enemies being attacked.

Depending on the battlefield, the player can encounter puzzle-based Geo Effects that are controlled by ‘Geo Symbols’. These Geo Symbols can produce different colored Geo Panels on the battlefield that contain specific symbols. For example: a group of red Geo Panels can grant ATK +50% to anyone standing on them. In some cases, Geo Panels can grant the enemy immortality until the Geo Symbol (designated by a pyramid-like crystal) is destroyed by the player. Once the Geo Symbol is eliminated, all Geo Panels and their effects associated with the Symbol will vanish from the play field, clearing a path for the player’s party to advance. This process must be repeated until the battlefield is free of all Geo Signs. Otherwise, the player will have little chance of winning

Graphically, Disgaea 5 Complete looks as good as the Playstation 4 version. When docked, the game will upscale the graphics to 1080p, but the upscaling is hardly noticeable. The 2D sprites and isometric backgrounds look incredibly smooth on the big screen. The game’s performance consistently remains solid, even when there are multiple characters on-screen. The same can be said about portable mode, which yields similar results. The game functions well no matter how it’s played.

Disgaea 5 Complete is a vast improvement over its Playstation 4 counterpart. The addition of DLC  – along with the option to play on the go – makes NIS America’s latest release a must-have for any Switch owner, whether they’re fans or JRPGs or not.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $59.99

Disgaea 5 Complete Official Website:
http://disgaea.us/d5-complete/

Review Score
Graphics
The 2D sprites and isometric backgrounds look incredibly smooth on the big screen.
Sound
A memorable soundtrack and great sound effects enhance the experience.
Gameplay
The gameplay is vastly improved over its pedecessor.
Overall
Disgaea 5 Complete is an absolute must-have for any Nintendo Switch gamer.
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