Disgaea 1 Complete brings the original Disgaea game that started the beloved franchise to the PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. With it comes the addition of the Etna mode that was present in the PSP version, as well as improved visuals and sprites. Disgaea is a tactical turn-based RPG that lets you take control of Prince Laharl as he tries to claim his place as Overlord of the Netherworld, as his father was before him. However, the throne will not easily be taken as the Netherworld is full of demons that all want a shot at the title. Alongside Prince Laharl are a crew of allies that will help him in his quest, most notably the vassal Etna, Flonne the angel in training, and of course the delightfully cute peguinesque Prinny.
I was first introduced to Disgaea on the PSP. It was something I download on a whim, and within moments I was enamored with it. It was the first over the top anime game I had ever played, but it has fun, and it has a heart. It’s over the top in a unique way that in essence parodies what a role-playing game is. For instance, you can reach level 9999, and every item has its own stages should you choose to strengthen the item’s properties. If you’re like me then at first glance it sounds daunting, but it’s speaking to the post-game, and to those who want to get into the minutia of it all. Even the gameplay and strategy can get quite involved as the levels progress, however, this is just giving you more tools at your disposal. Every map has its own set of rules that handicap you in some way or work to your advantage if you think of the stage as a puzzle.
Each chapter has a world with its own stages. The first stage of each world was usually the hardest for me because you are meeting a new enemy or terrain condition that you need to work out. In addition to that, the first stages would see the enemy a lot stronger than previously, so I would grind a couple of previous stages to make it a little less taxing. It is ideal to have all your characters work as a team; otherwise, they will not all share in the experience from killing an enemy and become easy targets as the stages increase in difficulty.
You can create characters and promote them through exams to get an approval rating. This lets you do any number of things from getting better gear at merchants to extorting money from the judges or allowing your character to be reverted to level 0, while retaining your stats and some bonus attributes. The gameplay is fun, yet I was compelled to aptly get through the stages to see how the story progressed. The story will continually surprise you and have you chuckling at the humor throughout. I mean how can you not want to become the Overlord of the Netherworld, when most other games are churning out heroes.
I recommend Disgaea 1 Complete to newcomers and series veterans unless you don’t like Japenese sensibilities or tactical role-playing games. Disgaea may be coming out in a packed month of games, but it’s different enough to scratch a different itch over all the big open world games. The gameplay is relaxing enough to jump in for a couple of stages and opt out daily too. I enjoy being able to play this game again, and I hope we may see similar editions for Disgaea 2-4 on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch eventually. Oh, and did I mention the PlayStation 4 version has trophies? Give it a go.
Disclaimer: NIS America sent me a review copy.