So, the new Disgaea has a demo out, you betcha i was gonna take the opportunity to talk about it, even more since i will not be able to a have a review for it in a timely manner (or at all), i’m pretty sure, i know my schedule it’s gonna be hell when the game releases.
the demo is fairly beefy, and let’s you play the first 2 chapters (of 15, as i understand) of the story, making for 2/3 hours of content (maybe a bit more if you want to clear all the quests you can actually finish without the Item World available) more than enough to get a grip with it. I will not talk about the story because i’d rather let you enjoy it for yourself, just know this is primo Disgaea style of absurd and zany.
Yeah, it’s not like the demo for Disgaea 5 Complete where you could immediatly access uber-peta-leveled characters just to try them out, this demo is just a slice of main serving, so it makes sense you’ll be able to carry the save data to the full game when it releases this 29th of June.
Gotta say, i wasn’t convinced at first about the series going for 3D models after years and years of sprites, but then again, i guess it was inevitable, for the better, and…. it’s a well done transition.
Aside from new classes (which you really don’t get to see or plays as in these first two chapters ) and new accessibility options (like autobattle, which can be toggled off and on, auto-replay of a beaten map, etc), many staples of the series are still present and function as before, with the exception of the Hospital, admittely streamlined for the better, as now you don’t have to pay to heal or revive characters, it happens automatically… at least until you go into the Item World. So now it’s just a place to get prizes for the amounts of damage and deaths collected, like it also was before.
Combat itself it’s mostly unchanged from Disgaea 5, but now the Team Attacks work differently, as in units (both allies and enemies) don’t need to be occupy the squares directly adjacent to another unit, they can be within 2 squares of each other to power up both normal attacks and special skills.
Also, now all units can lift & throw regardless if they are humanoid or monsters, and on this regards, you can equip whatever weapon on monster units as well and have it working as it intended (so if you equip a Prinny with a Gun weapon, it gains more attack range, for example), didn’t see any monster weapon for sale either, . It appears there’s no Magichange or gigantification mechanic, at least
That aside, it’s still excellent, highly refined tactical turn based rpg goodness.
The new main feature is the Super Reincarnation, which is also essential for the plot, but can also be used ingame, not only by Zed, and it works like the Reincarnation system worked in previous Disgaea titles, as in you start back from level 1 but you get better base stats.
It costs 0 mana to Super Reincarnate (but it still costs Mana to create or reincarnate in a character class and you lose all Mana that character possesses when it reincarnate), but now when you do so you collect a new resource, Karma, which is used to improve the base stats, or – when you accumulated a lot – improve the character mobility, number of counter-attacks, attack range, etc.
This is important as now you level up a LOT faster than before, thanks in no small part to the various bonuses given for MVPs characters (“destroyed most object and Geo Blocks”, “defended the most”, “dealt the most damage”, etc.) at the end of each battle, which is also accounted for as the devs upped the ludicrous level cap of the series even further into the “zillions”, so – for example – even getting to level 100 is easy as pie, and it’s not a bug, the game fully expects you to level up into the heavens.
I think, at least, i’m not sure how it will work out in the full game, because it’s has been speed up to such a drastic degree that could lead to obvious and gynormic balance issues. Sure, this is Disgaea so the game is designed to make grinding fun and part of the core experience, but you never leveled up as fast and hard (without passing bills that were designed to enhance exp gain and so on), in any of the previous titles, so it’s a bit disarming.
Then again, this also is done to make you focus more even more on the important stuff, the stats. While levelling is important to unlock skills, equipment managing and stats building is the essential stuff to worry about to strengthen your characters, and already in the 2 initial chapters you see enemies sporting huge ass stats and dealing tons of damage, so much that they start using the nomenclature to abbreviate huge ass number, like “thousands” with the “K”, and so on.
The new facilities give you even more room and occasions to personalize your experience and develop characters like you want, like the Juice Bar, which basically acts as a deposit for extra exp, extra mana and “stats extracts”, or the good old Cheat Shop.
On a more distinctly sour note, performance isn’t great. The game offers three settings, one enhancing performance in spite of graphics, the opposite and a balanced mode. Played most of it in balanced because of course.
This in handheld mode, when in docked mode… it doesn’t look or run noticeably better.
It’s a bit disappointing, because it should run easily better regardless, and of course there’s both the fact NIS has clearly experience with the Switch as a platform and this is a mainline Disgaea installment, but to be fair this could be improved over time (as in when the game releases) and it’s not a huge issue since this is a turn based tactical rpg, but it’s just frustrating because it really does-should run and look a bit better.
Still, looking forward to get my hands on the full thing (and all the Limited Edition goodies) later this summer!