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Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention is a remake of the third game in Nippon Ichi’s crazy turn based strategy RPG series Disgaea. Boasting a max level of 9999 and the ability to cause billions of points worth of damage, Disgaea 3 certainly has enough to satisfy hard-core fans of the genre. However, how does the game hold up for those that may not be as familiar with turn based strategy RPGs or the Disgaea series?
Disgaea follows the story of Mao, an anime loving demon who wants to defeat the overlord, his father, for destroying his game console and with it the millions of hours of save data contained in it. This sets the tone for the rest of the game which, while having some serious moments here and there, is full of jokes and references to other series. The fact that the game is set in a demon High school where those who do good deeds are considered delinquents further shows that the game doesn’t want to be taken too seriously.
The aforementioned high school acts as the main hub during the game. The player can select new missions, recruit allies and buy equipment. Accompanying this is the homeroom system, where different topics can be suggested to the student body. These can include improving the items shops carry, or powering up all monsters in the game. Smart use of this system will allow players to reduce the amount of grinding needed to progress through each chapter.
And now for the best part of Disgaea 3, the gameplay. At its core, the game is like many other turn based strategy RPGs. The characters move and attack on a grid, with players aiming to complete the levels objective, which is usually to defeat all enemies. Positioning must be taken into account, since attacks have different areas of effect and may cause characters to change position. Players can also cause extra damage by hitting enemies from the side or behind, or with an element that they are weak against. With different weapon types and terrain height also being included, there are many factors that you must keep track of during battle.
The series has always contained strategic fights and flashy special attacks, and this entry in the series improved upon this by turning up the insanity to eleven. Monsters can now be changed into weapons to increase your repertoire of moves, and many strong new attacks have been added for those players who have created a powerful party. As well as all this, you must pay attention to the geo panel system which returns once again. Geo block which are scattered around each map bestow bonuses onto characters that stand on certain panels, which range from increased experience, to complete invincibility.
Extra content of the PS Vita version
This version of the game also includes some new content to help entice those that have already put a lot of time into the original. The main extra is that all the DLC (downloadable content) that was released for the PS3 version is included with the game, which adds a massive amount of extra content. This includes new characters and an extra story mode where you play as Mao’s childhood friend Raspberyl. It also makes use of some of the Vita’s features, including using the touchscreen to navigate menus and the ability to gain extra experience with its GPS function.
The portable nature of the Vita also means that you can play whenever you want on the go. This is especially handy for the item world, a collection of randomly generated dungeons which change based on which item you use to create them. While you can only quit every 10 floors, the ability to put your Vita into sleep mode means that you won’t lose any progress if you suddenly need to stop playing. Another advantage of this version is that sprites don’t look as stretched out they did on PS3, with the OLED screen making the anime style artwork stand out to great effect.
With any other game, all these features would be confusing, but the light-hearted nature of the Disgaea series helps to welcome newcomers with its great cast of characters and deep gameplay. There are also extensive tutorials covering each part of the game, so those who are new to the series can catch up with everything they need to.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention is the definitive version of the third entry in the series, boasting the deep gameplay of its predecessors, with a lot of new content to satisfy long-time fans. This is definitely an essential purchase for those who are even remotely interested in J-RPGs or even anime and manga. One thing’s for certain, you will definitely not be playing anything else for a long time.
This review is the work of our new Vita expert Isaac. You got questions or suggestions and don’t like our comments area? Hit him up on Twitter.