Disgaea 1 Complete is an HD remaster/celebration for the 15-year-old series and it hopes to catch new fans as well as bring old fans back, but will the game stand the test of time?
While there is a story for the game, it seems to be more of a fun little excuse so you can play this pretty good strategy RPG. Also included is a fast forward option to skip cutscenes for those that just want to get to the game already.
While the story won’t win any awards (and it hasn’t for 15 years) it does have a beginning, middle, a few different endings and there is actual progression and growth for the zany characters during the story that adds charm to the overall experience of the game.
The game is separated into episodes which solidify its anime aesthetic and even has a preview after every episode narrated by one of our main characters Etna.
Speaking of narration…
There is actual good voice work throughout the game, mainly during the cutscenes, and it even sounds better than the anime based on this game series. While yes they use some (if not all) of the same actors, the voice work sounds so much better in-game. It might be that they took their time on the game and the result could be part of the remastered part of this remake.
The music can be hypnotizing as you play and it will make you keep playing for longer than you thought you were. It’s also memorable and when you hear the songs outside of the game (like in the anime) it brings back memories that put you right back into that gaming mindset.
There are many different sound effects for the different attacks when you mercilessly play a special attack against those poor little chibi demons, for example, the sound effects make them feel more badass.
Disgaea 1 Complete is a turn-based strategy game and it introduces players to the gameplay in a very player friendly way. During your turn, you can pretty much move your characters around wherever you want, within each character limit, and they can attack whoever you want in the order you want. As long as you don’t execute your characters or end your turn you can back out of your decision. This allows for noobs to change their mind and for more seasoned veterans to craft a more strategic approach.
This I think is why the Disgaea series has lasted for so long. Even if you’re a noob gaming journalist who can’t get past Cuphead’s tutorial you can get the handle of this game, but there is also depth and strategy for the more hardcore players.
Having said that, the average player will get better at playing the game with time and practice and later on in the game (not too late) there will come a time where you will lose and it will either be because you’re underpowered or because you suck. A healthy amount of grinding should be expected in all RPGs, and it is not too bad in this game for those who hate grinding and might be concerned.
The castle functions as the hub world for the game where you can access the shops, the Netherworld Hospital where you heal your characters, the Item World where you can go into an item and beat monsters to level up that item, the Dark Assembly where you can create new monsters and the Dimension Guide where you can play the game’s story mode.
This is the part of the game I have the most issues with. The shops have a limited amount of random items but you can exit out and go back to buy more of whatever item you were looking to get. You can also add more items when you get approval in the Dark Assembly. Furthermore, it is really hard to gain money if you only play the story, so you’re going to have to go into the Item World.
In the Item World, you choose an item to go into (duh) and you get procedurally generated stages as you progress through it. This wouldn’t be an issue but some of the time these stages have places where the limited rotation camera won’t let you see a thing, this is only an issue in this mode since the story mode stages are clearly crafted and have some purpose to them.
Did I mention that you can level up pretty much any item to ridiculous levels?
Also in these stages, the Geo Symbols can be a pain in the butt, especially if you’re not entirely sure how they work (which is not knowledge that you completely need to know as the game points out, but it is very helpful if you do). Although it is very satisfying when you destroy the right symbol and all the tiles start changing color, you hurt your enemies, and you gain a hell of a bonus for the stage.
When you have to start leveling up your items go to a weaker item’s world and every tenth level beat all the enemies and you will get a Mr. Gency’s Exit that you can use for the harder item’s world. This will allow you to exit out to heal and buy more items and go back to where you left off. I really don’t know what prompted the decision to have you be stuck in the Item World until you get to the tenth floor or die and lose all the progress you made, but it sucks. This really wouldn’t be such a bad thing if Mr. Gency’s Exit items were more readily available, but the game only gives you one for free and you can’t just buy them in the shops.
On the Lighter Side
I really like how you can create a cool new character in the Dark Assembly to use during combat. You can only choose from demons you’ve beaten before which makes sense. You can get them with mana that you acquire whenever you kill a demon, and the more mana the better stats you will get for your new character.
While there are some issues with Disgaea 1 Complete the overall gameplay experience is good, helped by the charming art style, story, and player-friendly turn-based combat. A definitely recommended title especially on the Nintendo Switch. To be honest, I couldn’t imagine being restricted to play this just at home, the game is great in short bursts as well as long playthroughs.
Disgaea 1 Complete is a great introduction (or re-introduction) into the series and will keep you playing for hours upon hours even after you’re done with the story.
With all that said I give this game an 8/10
It kind of makes me wish I got that sweet Rosen Queen’s Finest Edition.
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Title: Disgaea 1 Complete
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Release Date: 10/09/2018
MSRP Price: $49.99