PC/Mac/Linux
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Game Info:

Disgaea PC
Developed by: Nippon Ichi Software
Published by: NIS America
Release Date: February 24, 2016
Available on: PC
Genre: Turn-based Strategy
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Teen for violence, language, suggestive themes
Price: $19.99
(Humble Charity Link)

 

Thank you NIS America for sending us this game to review!

Disgaea PC is an updated version of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness which was originally released for the PlayStation 2 in 2003.  Five years after that, it came out on the Nintendo DS.  While the story and multiple endings are the same, the textures have been updated and Steam features like achievements, trading cards, and cloud saves have been added.  If you’re new to the series, there’s plenty of gameplay packed into this $20 title.  

The Overlord of the Netherworld, King Krichevskoy, has died and the demons are fighting amongst themselves for the prized title.  Two years into the chaos, Krichevskoy’s son, Laharl wakes up to find his castle in disarray and his vassal, Etna, by his side plotting to kill him.  Etna decides to join Laharl’s side to help him reclaim the throne or seize an opportunity to off him if he lets his guard down.  Demons, after all, are selfish and shouldn’t be trusted.  

At least that’s the assumption of the angels living in Celestia.  Later in the game, Flonne, and angel trainee is sent to the Netherworld and meets Laharl and his party.  She is intrigued by his demeanor and apparent lack of kindness and vows to determine once and for all if demons can express love.  Once defeated, several other bosses agree to join Laharl’s party.

Like many 3D turn-based strategy games you can deploy a limited number of party members (maximum of ten) and can move and perform an action during each turn.  The number of movement spaces is dependent on the character’s stats and the actions can be consuming an item, fighting, or using a special skill like magic.  After all of the party members have used up their actions, you can end your turn and watch the enemies retaliate.   

Disgaea PC
Highlights:

Strong Points: Funny characters; fighting abilities and dialogue; challenging battles
Weak Points: Lots of grinding is required to survive enemy attacks; no way to skip attack animations
Moral Warnings: A few angels are shown as bad while some demons are good; swearing and blaspheming; sexualized outfits; gross humor

Many games have used the ability to counter an attack, but this is the first title I have seen with a counter-counter ability that can counter up to four times back and forth!  In fact, many of the special attacks are silly and often drawn out in the cut scenes.  I wish there was an option to skip the fighting cut-scenes because they are tediously long.  As abilities are used more they level up and as the characters gain levels, more special abilities become available to them.

Another new feature to this series are the Geo Panels which apply various attributes to similarly colored squares they are residing on.  Sometimes the panels are helpful to either the allies or enemies by giving them a damage or defense boost.  Other times the panels can be very restrictive by blocking players from crossing them or by granting units invincibility.  Geo Panels can either be attacked (as long as they’re not invincible) or picked up and thrown to another colored square.  

The story mode battles ramp up in difficulty relatively quickly and much grinding is required to be strong enough to advance the storyline.  To level up you can replay previously completed story missions or play in an item world several levels deep to fight numerous enemies and a final boss before returning to your castle.  Successfully completing item levels will increase and strengthen the item’s level.   It should go without saying that the more valuable an item, the tougher the enemies within will be.  It’s nice to have an exit item on hand because there is no telling how many levels deep an item world is and leaving is not possible without an exit item or without clearing the last boss.  If you plan on adventuring in the item world, make sure you’ve set aside about an hour of time to do so.

Last but not least, there’s an Etna mode which can be unlocked by finding and reading her secret diary diligently in each of the fourteen episodes.  In Etna mode, the main character is Etna instead of Laharl.  There are Steam achievements available for completing episodes in her mode.  

Disgaea PC
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 51%
Violence - 5.5/10
Language - 1.5/10
Sexual Content - 6.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 5.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 6.5/10

No matter what mode you’re playing you’ll want to have the best weapons and armor possible.  The more you shop at the weapon and accessories stores, the higher your customer ranking will be.  As your rank increases you can talk to the senators and ask their permission to get more expensive (or cheaper) equipment.  If you have enough favor with them, they’ll grant your request.  However, if they reject your request, you can battle the senators that voted against you to reverse their vote.  Senator approval is also required when creating decent characters, but if you have some good for nothing characters, you can re-spec them for a fee.

The character conversations can be lively at times and the humor in this game is pretty good.  Sadly, it’s often laced with profanity (d*mmit, b*stard) and blaspheming.  Despite there being angels and demons there isn’t much mention of God until Laharl calls out to Him wondering if He’s even there.  The Prinnys in this game are souls bound in servitude to repent of their sins in hopes of being reincarnated.  Other issues worth mentioning is a skimpy bikini like outfit worn by a female party member.  Last but not least there is some gross humor including piecing together the ultimate zombie and attaching a horse wiener on it.     

Visually Disgaea shows its age and some of the textures are best suited for small screens instead of my 27” monitor.  The facial expressions of the characters in the dialogue screens are nice looking though.    

The background music has a lot of variety and you can purchase tracks with in-game money to play instead of the default music.  The voice acting is well done and most of the game is voice acted, but not all of it.

I’ve heard a lot about the Disgaea series and I’m glad I’ve finally gotten a chance to check it out.  I look forward to playing more of the series someday.  If you don’t mind the language, gross humor, and religious references, there’s a lot of fun and obligatory grinding to be had here.

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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