Thanks to NIS AMERICA for the review code
Title: Disgaea 5 COMPLETE
System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 05/23/2017
When an evil entity known only as Void Dark takes control of the many netherworlds with his massive army, it’s up to a small group of rebels led by a powerful fighter named Killia to reclaim these captured lands and stop Void Dark’s conquest once and for all! This 16 chapter adventure will contain lots of humor, action and self-awareness, but the writers manage to do all that while succeeding at making the overall story engaging.
While Disgaea 2 PC had lively character animations and spritework, one thing I felt that the game lacked was the sense of the maps feeling like real places that a character would actually go to, since some of those maps lacked any sort of colorful “border” to indicate that they were in an enclosed area, which meant that some levels simply felt as if they were floating in space. Disgaea 5 greatly improves upon this fact by having a lot more of the main story levels take place in actual, enclosed areas without the black background nonsense. You’ll travel to a graveyard, a planet filled with poisonous water with inner tubes that’ll you have to cross, and plenty of other neat locations for you to explore!
Even some of the DLC chapters that are included with this version have detailed areas, including a massive colosseum, castle and more! Sadly not every single map is like this, as the custom maps still rely on bland, single-colored backgrounds for the border areas, and some minor maps are like this as well, but the increase in variety is appreciated. This also applies to the main hubworld, a spaceship which is much more detailed than the cramped town of Disgaea 2. Both handheld and docked modes look bright and colorful, and seem to run at a smooth enough framerate regardless of the way you stick with.
Voice acting also makes a comeback, and it appears a lot more frequently in the main story than it did in Disgaea 2, with some kind of voice acting for most major story missions, and a lot of miscellaneous voice clips as well. You can even choose between multiple voice clips for the custom characters you make this time around, allowing you to give them a bit more personality to make them stand out. (though they still won’t be nearly as expressive as any of the main cast or monster classes like the Prinny) Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any Japanese VA available, but at least the english cast is good enough to suffice.
Being a strategy game just like the previous installments, every element I mentioned in my Disgaea 2 review applies here, meaning that the gameplay is still a solid mix of strategy and action, requiring you to make clever use of your skills to defeat the enemies on each map and progress to the next main story mission, so I won’t be repeating myself on how these games play.
With all that said, new additions have been made to the series since that game, such as the inclusion of a “Revenge mode” that kicks in whenever you take enough damage from an enemy, prompting you to unleash a powerful “Overload Skill” which can give you serious stat boosts or allow you to unleash a powerful skill that can only be used during this state. Other additions for the most part come from added customization features, such as the ability to change the percentage of EXP, HL or Mana you gain at the end of each battle, general balance changes, extra options for character customization, a very helpful option to change the perspective of battles from isometric to top-down, and the addition of some online features.
Speaking of these online features, Disgaea 5 Complete manages to incorporate them surprisingly well for an early Nintendo Switch title. You have the option of sending a friend on your friend list a short message, a random item that may help them out, or even custom levels, made through the map editor. The map editor sadly doesn’t make use of the touch screen in any way, shape or form, but the traditional button controls do an decent job of letting you customize your own levels, allowing you to place platforms at varying heights, change the texture, and use your own team as the enemy forces! This is the closest that you’ll get to battling another player’s team, and while I can’t see this being anything more than a fun way to grind EXP or battle your friends, I am surprised with how well this feature carried over from the Playstation 4 version.
Another feature that carried over from the PS4 version that I did not expect was the inclusion of trophies, the achievement system used on the PS4! Since the Switch lacks an achievement system, I figured that most developers wouldn’t bother with the extra effort to incorporate them in the Switch Versions, but NIS proved me wrong, as every trophy available on the PS4 version is here and accounted for, all tracked by an NPC in the hubworld. They even pop in the same way that they do on PS4! Yes, it’s not a system-wide way of including achievements, but for a game like Disgaea with so much content, having these goals available to take on adds quite a bit to the replay value, and I’m really happy that NIS found a way to include them in the Switch version instead of cutting them out like every other developer would do.
In conclusion, Disgaea 5 Complete was a very welcome addition to my Switch library after having enough of my Zelda fix, as it finally gave me a reason to play my Switch more often! The same general gameplay mechanics from Disgaea 2 are here, but with a lot more polish, a new story, and lots of customization to take advantage of. By far the best part of the Switch version comes from the fact that all DLC that was released for the original PS4 version is included here, free of charge and available from the very beginning. Granted, this can make the first few chapters really easy, but using these extra characters, equipment and HL are entirely optional, and even if you do use them the game will put up a good challenge with some of the crossover DLC chapters, including characters from the other Disgaea games, including the two main characters from Disgaea 2!
It should be noted that even though this version contains everything from the PS4 version in a convenient package, it doesn’t include any new, exclusive content that you can’t find anywhere else, so if you already 100%ed Disgaea 5 on the PS4, DLC included, there’s pretty much no reason to get this port outside of it being on a portable system. Still, for RPG fans looking for a fun strategy game with LOTS of content, or just someone wanting a long Switch game after having enough of Zelda, Disgaea 5 Complete is a must own, especially if you’re new to the series, since the story doesn’t connect with any of the prior games and you won’t need to worry about getting lost if you start here, or jump from an earlier installment like I did!
I give Disgaea 5 Complete a 9 out of 10, and strongly recommend it to all strategy RPG fans who haven’t already played this on the PS4. If you’re looking for something amazing to satisfy you until the Switch’s Fire Emblem game, then you’ll find it here. Who knows, maybe you’ll find this game to be even better than the Fire Emblem series!