Welcome to the first strategy RPG for the Switch, dood! Disgaea has been around for many years and has been developer Nippon Ichi’s magnum opus. One thing that has been the foundation for the series is the vibrant and colorful characters that are absolutely filled to the brim with attitude and snarky dialog. Take those characters and throw them on a grid-style battlefield, toss in a handful of intensely animated revenge-driven teamwork combos, a cup of overwhelming optimizations, and a pinch of Prinnie pawns that explode when you throw them, and you have the recipe for a fantastic tale of revenge in the Netherworld to vanquish the demon lord Void Dark (not to be confused with Capcom’s Dark Void).
Saraphina is the Princess Overlord of Gorgeous and has a seriously warped and inflated sense of her value to men. She believes all men to be her servants and simply does not take “no” very well. Killia, being the main protagonist, certainly has a treasure trove of secrets along with a voracious appetite. In fact, the entire cast of misfits each has hilariously exaggerated personality traits that leave you wanting to either love them or despise them. The voice acting is excellent, really drives the story, and makes us want to complete missions so that we can see more of their shenanigans.
Disgaea 5 Complete starts us off with Saraphina seeking to wreak vengeance on lord Void Dark and is always looking for strong humanoids and monsters to carry out her colossal plans. Void Dark has been busy conquering the Netherworld and enslaving the overlords to attempt to be the supreme ruler extraordinaire. Saraphina just can’t stand the idea of anyone being superior to her so, naturally, she isn’t going to go down without a fight. However, she’s not really all that much of a fighter.
After we get through the opening anime scenes and the aforementioned excellent voice acting, we are introduced to the hub called the Pocket Netherworld. Here we are hit over the head with so much information that it’s really apparent we will be reading a lot and going through a host of tutorials to begin to understand how complex of a game Disgaea truly is. The learning curve is extremely high and takes a great deal of time and patience if we want to learn everything there is to know about all this RPG has to offer. The developers really did a fantastic job explaining everything that we can do and to say it is overwhelming is an understatement.
There are so many nuances to learn about from combos and how to pull them off in battle, to innocents that you can move around from item to item. Not only do we have a plethora of items and spells, but we also have monsters that fight completely different from humanoid characters. Tie that together with Magichange, where monsters can become weapons for humanoids, and you have, to quote Red Magnus, a SUPER complicated strategy RPG. If taking the time to learn about all that doesn’t sound interesting or fun, then it’s quite possible that this isn’t a game for you. However, if we’re up to the challenge it becomes a very deep and immersive experience. If you’re on the fence, NIS America has a free demo of the game available on the eShop so you can try before you buy.
I can hear some murmurings that the game was released on the PS4 quite some time ago, almost 2 years, so why should we care about its release on the Switch? Why do we love our Switch consoles? Red Magnus would say “because it’s super portable and you get all sorts of super included extras like 1 million HL”! That’s right, 1 million of the in-game money called hells. This allows you very early game purchasing power for allies in the recruitment shop or for items and equipment. However, purchasing too many recruits to start the game may be unwise because you can only hire recruits up to your own current level. So buying a bunch of low level recruits may not be the best strategy. Then again, it might be depending on how you approach the battles and the game in general. This is where the depth of gameplay comes in. There really is more customization than we could ever desire. If you don’t want the hells or other items that make up the idea of “complete”, then you don’t have to take them. It’s optional just like everything else. While learning the intricacies of all this title has to offer may not be crucial to completing the game, it certainly is worth the time if we want to get the full experience that this release has to offer.
There is so much to go on about with Disgaea 5 Complete, but suffice to say it has everything the other Disgaea titles have to offer plus plenty of new and interesting features such as the revenge meters, evilities, and a quest shop. While I didn’t find the quest shop all that compelling, it’s still a cool feature that we can check every now and then to see if we can do something to gain extra items, abilities, or recruiting classes.
Overall I am impressed with Disgaea 5 Complete and having it portable on the Switch is absolutely fantastic. The artwork is brilliant and fun, the story is interesting, and the witty banter gives us a good laugh. I will say that an interest in the strategy RPG genre is a must. Disgaea is, and has been, very battle-centric. There isn’t a world to walk around going from town to town or finding points of interest. Battles are selected from a list after talking to the portal prinnie and it asks you where you want to go, dood! Disgaea 5 Complete doesn’t disappoint and does a great deal to make this feel like a fresh title and well worth playing.
Disgaea 5 Complete Review
- Graphics - 9/109/10
- Sound - 9/109/10
- Gameplay - 9/109/10
- Lasting Appeal - 8/108/10
Final Thoughts: EXCELLENT
A solid and seemingly infinitely customizable strategy RPG full of amazing characters, great animations, and rewarding victories. A huge learning curve could be taken as a positive or negative depending on one’s perspective, as it’s not quickly picked up and played; especially if it’s your first Disgaea game. An incredibly fun and enjoyable experience that will give everything one could want from the genre.
Jay has been an avid gamer since the Intellivision days. His hobbies include building PCs, 3D modeling and printing, and spending time with his children and dog.