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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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