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Review

Review: Disgaea 5 Complete

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After a hef­ty delay, Dis­gaea 5 Com­ple­te has final­ly arri­ved on PC. This isn’t the first release to have been delay­ed by NISA recent­ly but, unli­ke the mes­sy port of Ys VIII, the demo of Dis­gaea 5 com­ple­te­ly see­med to be per­fec­t­ly fine. The final pro­duct gives this impres­si­on too, being a solid port of a gre­at game that’s only slight­ly let down by some weird chan­ges com­pa­red to the PS4 ver­si­on.

Like the majo­ri­ty of Dis­gaea games, Dis­gaea 5 Com­ple­te takes place in the home of demons, the nether­worlds. Each nether­world is a pla­net ran by an over­lord, and unli­ke Dis­gaea 1 the sto­ry this time takes place over many of the­se pla­nets. An over­lord by the name of Void Dark has been des­troy­ing various nether­worlds, and the prot­ago­nist Kil­lia is drag­ged into a fight to save what remains of the demon realm.

The sto­ry has a some­what serious pre­mi­se, but many of the cha­rac­ter inter­ac­tions and events are thank­ful­ly still rather goofy. Kil­lia is a no-non­sen­se demon, and he ends up play­ing the strai­ght man to many of the jokes throughout Dis­gaea 5 Com­ple­te. This means that, while he may not be the most inte­res­ting main cha­rac­ter in the series, his inter­ac­tions with the rest of the cast are still fun­ny. The main sto­ry has some good moments but is never as good as ear­lier Dis­gaea games, though the various side con­ver­sa­ti­ons that you can view do help to make the cast more like­ab­le.

If you’ve play­ed any of the pre­vious games – or read our Dis­gaea 1 Com­ple­te review – you should be fami­li­ar with the basic game­play in Dis­gaea 5 Com­ple­te. The same sta­ge based struc­tu­re is here, and at its core batt­les are still easy to under­stand. You can take up to 10 units into batt­le, posi­tio­ning them to crea­te com­bo attacks and deal mas­si­ve amounts of dama­ge. Game­play is the fas­test it’s ever been, even wit­hout spee­ding up move­ment and skip­ping the rather leng­thy attack ani­ma­ti­ons. New to this ent­ry is the reven­ge meter, which allows units to per­form spe­cial attacks once they or their allies take enough dama­ge. This sys­tem doesn’t chan­ge up batt­les too much, though the way it ties into the main sto­ry is still some­what cool.

The main impro­ve­ments are seen out­si­de of batt­les. Cha­rac­ter crea­ti­on fea­tures a lar­ge amount of clas­ses and Dis­gaea 5 Complete’s inclu­si­on of every DLC class means that it most likely has the most cha­rac­ter opti­ons in any Dis­gaea game. The opti­on to cus­to­mi­se a character’s appearan­ce is also a wel­co­me fea­ture, sin­ce pre­vious games had class colours tied to their rank. It’s also pos­si­ble to crea­te cha­rac­ters hig­her than level 1 using HL, Disgaea’s cur­ren­cy, skip­ping the initi­al low level grind and let­ting you take them into har­der batt­les.

The impro­ve­ments made to each Dis­gaea game have made grin­ding much more tole­ra­ble, and this is no excep­ti­on here. Cha­rac­ters can now equip mul­ti­ple wea­pons, mea­ning that they can not only use skills from both wea­pons but also gain mas­te­ry with them as well. Increa­sing a cha­rac­ters mas­te­ry with a cer­tain wea­pon could be tedious in ear­lier games, so this chan­ge is wel­co­me. The cheat shop also makes its return from Dis­gaea D2, allo­wing you to chan­ge the rates you gain things like XP and HL. Increa­sing one requi­res you to lower ano­t­her, but being able to increa­se XP gain by 1000% real­ly speeds up grin­ding.

The other two big­gest inclu­si­ons would be squads and the inno­cent farm. Squads are groups that can give spe­cial bonu­ses for tho­se in the squad or unlock new fea­tures in the hub area. Enemies can be cap­tu­red and used to upgrade a squad’s effec­tiveness, adding ano­t­her way of cus­to­mi­sing your units. Inno­cents are crea­tures that live insi­de items, gran­ting stat bonu­ses to wha­te­ver item they are atta­ched to. The inno­cent farm works simi­lar­ly to the day care cen­ter in the Poke­mon series, as it will level up inno­cents while you’re off batt­ling. Using squads and the inno­cent farm effec­tively means that you can make units very power­ful and is an excel­lent addi­ti­on for tho­se that like exten­si­ve cha­rac­ter cus­to­mi­sa­ti­on.

Dis­gaea 5 Complete’s visu­als are whe­re things get a litt­le stran­ge. Spri­tes are com­pa­ra­ble to the PS4 ver­si­on and look gre­at, though they can look a litt­le blur­ry during spe­cial attacks. The 2D art in gene­ral is fan­tastic too, though this comes as no sur­pri­se thanks to the Dis­gaea series’ dis­tinc­tive art style style. Envi­ron­ment are less impres­si­ve due to how bland many of them are even with some impro­ved tex­tures com­pa­red to pre­vious ent­ries. It’s the UI that con­fu­ses things though, sin­ce the assets used are from the Switch ver­si­on mea­ning that they’re at a lower reso­lu­ti­on com­pa­red to ever­ything else. The font used is noti­ce­ab­le thi­c­ker, likely so it would be easy to see on the Switch’s smal­ler screen, and menu spri­tes look less sharp when com­pa­red Dis­gaea 5 on PS4. It’s not too hard to igno­re the chan­ges after a few hours of play­ing, but this was still a rather stran­ge decisi­on.

The port its­elf is also not per­fect. Mou­se and key­board con­trol is clun­ky com­pa­red to using a con­trol­ler, at least during batt­le. When loo­king through menus it’s ser­vice­ab­le, even with some stran­ge default key bin­dings. The lar­ger issue with Dis­gaea 5 Com­ple­te on PC is the lack of any online func­tio­n­a­li­ty. This means that map crea­ti­on is also gone, a fea­ture that could real­ly help speed up grin­ding. For many this may not be a huge loss, but it seems some­what sil­ly to call this ver­si­on com­ple­te when it’s actual­ly mis­sing con­tent com­pa­red to other ver­si­ons.

Conclusion

It was a long time com­ing, but Dis­gaea 5 Com­ple­te is ano­t­her gre­at ent­ry in the series. The­re is an almost over­whel­ming amount of con­tent here and the game is sure to keep you busy for a long time. Hope­ful­ly this will lead to the last few Dis­gaea games being released on Steam, and with no more sud­den delays.

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