Thanks to NIS America for the review code
Title: Disgaea 4 Complete
System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 10/29/2019
After last year’s remaster of Disgaea 1, we jump straight to the fourth entry, with this remaster of Disgaea 4 using the Vita version as a base. Take control of Valvatorez as he sets out to keep his Prinny Squad safe from an order calling for their total extinction, as he sets out to take out the empire of the underworld!
Having played the prior two Disgaea titles on the Switch, the visuals in 4 Complete look pretty much identical, using the same art style, the same sort of character sprites, (including the exact same art and animations for returning classes) and a lot of the same UI elements. Of course, the differences come from the game’s differing map designs, the new overworld, and of course, the main cast of characters.
It’s a fairly safe remaster that uses what isn’t broken and makes thing as refined as they were in the other titles, with most of the QOL stuff going to stuff like autosaving, battle speed, and other such options. Considering that this is also based off a remaster of a remaster for Vita, it shouldn’t be surprising that most of the added content was just stuff from that version, but I find that it all holds up very well. The music is pretty typical, with special mention going to the Chapter 1 End Boss theme, which I found to be pretty outstanding.
Overall, the game looks and sounds just as crisp and clear on Switch as the other two Disgaea titles, and considering how this is a remaster of a PS3 title it should come as no surprise that it still feels great, even to newcomers to this particular entry such as myself.
In traditional Disgaea fashion, each map tasks the player with sending out each member of their party to clear the map of the opposing enemies. Having gone over the traditional mechanics in 1, 2 and 5 already, I don’t really have much else to say about the actual combat, since it’s pretty much identical. Gain skills, level up, team up for combos, using Geo Panels, that’s all here and accounted for, and you can even Magichange monsters with humans to use the monsters as a weapon. The Item World also returns, as do the senator meetings.
Yet Disgaea 4, despite feeling super easy to jump into for the first time ever due to my experience with the other two entries, still manages to be just as frantic and fun as the other entries. The chapters still progress on a map-by-map basis, and the maps here are really solid and enjoyable. You can still revive fallen allies at the hospital, and you can still purchase new equipment and use the item world to power up them up. There really isn’t much to say here that I haven’t repeated about the other games, outside of the fact that everything still works.
There is indeed one major difference I noted here from the other games, and that comes from this weird board map where you can place evil landmarks, which in turn you can position certain party members next to in order to get beneficial bonuses during battles. This along with the cheat shop that allows for adjustment of EXP, HL, and Mana points leads to some handy customization, which in turn can even be used to cut down on grinding certain aspects. Indeed, using these two I was able to get an absurd amount of HL in no time at all, which made it easy for me to properly equip my party and even get new members ready for battle, thanks to the availability of EXP potions.
The gameplay is fun, the battles can be adjusted to move at incredibly fast speeds, and you can even set the camera to be from an overhead view, just like Disgaea 5. And even like the other Disgaea games, you can lose during key boss battles and cause a new game plus based off that experience. (though unlike Disgaea 1 Complete, they actually did make sure to edit the credits accordingly) For those looking for a pick up and play strategy experience, Disgaea 4 Complete works just as well as 1 and 5, although there isn’t really anything brand new or exclusive to this Switch version when it comes to content: All the maps and plot elements here come straight from the enhanced Vita port of Disgaea 4, leaving the enhancements here to be QOL stuff.
Still, even as I progressed through this game using the same familiar mechanics I’ve adjusted to for the past two years now, I enjoyed every moment of it. Progressing through the main story was very fun, as was revisiting old maps to gain EXP for my weaker party members. Upgrading the shop with repeated purchases proved beneficial like before, and overall the pacing of this game was still very solid, as to be expected. Still, I can’t say I feel any desire to push this game to completion before the other Disgaeas in my backlog, but I definitely felt that this entry moved a lot faster compared to Disgaea 1.
In conclusion, Disgaea 4 Complete is yet another solid strategy RPG joining the Switch’s lineup, and while it feels a lot more engaging and modern than Disgaea 1 for obvious reasons, the game doesn’t really offer much new in terms of gameplay features, sticking to the same strategy RPG action that has worked in every entry in the series to date.
It also feels much more like a better port than 1 Complete, since that game still had elements which made it feel like 1 Complete was just a copy of the PC version, while here it truly does feel like the Vita version but with all the HD enhancements and tweaks to make it pleasing on modern displays, leading to the ultimate version of the game.
Choosing between Disgaea 4 and 5 on the other hand, can be a bit tricky, since they’re the newest main installments to date and both Complete versions are very good. Disgaea 4 is still incredibly fun and the battle speed options make battles blazing fast, but the story isn’t really much to write home about, though there’s still hundreds of hours of content to play with and the item world provides that infinite replay value fans have come to expect. On the other hand, Disgaea 5 Complete has a bunch more story content, a more engaging story, a level editor, and even in-game achievements for the Switch port, which just like last year’s Disgaea 1 Complete, Disgaea 4 regrettably leaves out on the platform.
Really, either of the three Disgaea games are worth picking up, but I definitely felt 4 was very close to 5 in terms of quality. The story may have not engaged me nearly as much here, but the speed of the battles and overall enjoyment factor was just as fun, so this still leaves Disgaea 4 Complete as a great entry in the franchise. Just don’t expect this to have anything too terribly unique. Here’s hoping Disgaea 3 Complete becomes a reality soon, so that I and other newcomers to the franchise will get to experience all five main entries on modern platforms.
I give Disgaea 4 Complete an 8 out of 10.