Title: Disgaea 1 Complete
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Reviewed On: Switch
Genre: Tactical RPG
I get the feeling that when people see a numbered series of games that span across years of console generations they generally stay away from it assuming that the ship has sailed. This is why I support publishers looking back on their older titles for a remastered release on new hardware. When Disgaea 1 Complete was first announced by NIS America I was glad that new players had the chance to start the series off with one of the best tactical RPGs that I’ve ever played.
Now, I’ve played Disgaea: Hour of Darkness on PS2 for well over 250 hours, I’ve also played the PSP port and the PC version of the game, but if you can believe it, I’m still not burnt out on this series. I personally find that this game has everything that the series is built upon and stars the most likable cast of characters. So with that said, let’s take a look at what NIS America is calling the definitive version of Disgaea.
Disgaea 1 Complete opens up with a demon girl named Etna attempting to awaken the prince, Laharl, and inform him that his father has passed away…two years ago. So it seems that Laharl has been sleeping for quite some time and a group of powerful demons is attempting to take over the Netherworld in his father’s passing. This doesn’t sit well with Laharl and he goes off on a quest to defeat anyone who tries to stand in his way.
Throughout the story, players will meet new characters who will join the team, including an angel assassin named Flonne. Each of these characters goes through some development as they learn more about themselves, but also learn to trust in the people around them. However, there is plenty of comedy in every chapter of the game to keep players on their feet about the direction of the story or what Etna is plotting next.
Gameplay has players explore the castle where they can buy items, weapons, heal party members, create a party member, or go to another dimension. Everything is rather self-explanatory and pretty easy to understand in terms of how to access each of these different menus. Players will spend most of their time exploring a new dimension by speaking to the Gatekeeper. I feel like the layout of this game is one favorite in the series. Everything is compact and they don’t get too crazy with the extra side-missions or assembly.
After choosing a destination, players will be transported to a grid-based map with enemy units scattered throughout. The first turn is spent placing units on the board and possibly getting close enough to an enemy for a first strike. Characters gain levels by inflicting damage on enemies, which will raise their stats depending on their class. The maps are well designed and offer enough variance to not become bored of them even when entering the game’s Item World, a special world randomly created from an item that can host some pretty tough enemies.
Disgaea 1 Complete is an extremely grindy game. It’s possible to spend hours leveling up units while playing the same 3 levels in order to be strong enough to take on the boss. Also, killing units gives you mana which makes it easier to summon stronger units. Okay, I’ll stop there, you see, I wanted to stay away from going too in-depth with the game’s systems because I want this to still feel approachable to a new audience. Sure these systems might sound confusing, but to Disgaea 1 Complete’s credit, they’re all pretty easy to get the hang of.
Battles are what you’d expect from a tactical RPG, but I enjoy how Disgaea takes a non-serious approach to them. Throughout the battle, these insane over the top characters each have special skills that fit their personality and character type. The enemies can all look like your generic demon or magic user, but throughout the game, you understand how to position your units to create a nice combo attack or chain together a Geos effect.
Geos are found on certain maps and add special rules to the battle. Sometimes these rules can add experience, but others will make the enemies more powerful and should be destroyed as quickly as possible. When a Geo is destroyed, it creates a chain reaction to self-destruct the square that it is powering, players can use this to their advantage. Personally, I get tired of worrying about the Geos, but that might be only when they don’t benefit my party. However, it’s a cool addition to battles to make sure you examine the map a little before rushing into the fight.
In terms of additional gameplay, Disgaea 1 Complete doesn’t offer much t0 someone who has played through the game before. It does include a special story featuring Etna that was previously introduced in Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, the PSP port, but most of the updates here are cosmetic. As good as this game is, for someone who has invested many hours into either version of the game, there just isn’t much here content wise outside of what you already know.
Gameplay performance in Disgaea 1 Complete is great. The game runs smoothly and the character illustrations and sprites shine in the game’s new resolution. In this regard, Disgaea 1 Complete is the best way to play Disgaea for anyone that hasn’t, and it’s the perfect place to begin your Disgaea adventure.
There is just so much to do in Disgaea 1 Complete that it makes it difficult to put it all up into a review. However, much of what Disgaea 1 Complete has is already what fans have played. This makes the game perfect for anyone who put any of the previous ports down after a couple of hours or was afraid to jump into such a long-standing series so late into its life.
Disgaea 1 Complete is beautiful, fun, and insane, and that’s exactly what I crave when I’m sinking hours into the series. There is no shortage of content for newcomers, the characters can reach level 9999, but returning fans might be burnt out on this particular story by now. Disgaea 1 Complete is the best version of Disgaea available and should be played by anyone looking for what I would consider one of the best tactical RPG available.
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