Last year, we got the original Disgaea for modern consoles and now, here's 4. Wait, what the heck happened to 2 and 3?
For the unfamiliar, Disgaea is an SRPG series that features open-ended and varied gameplay set in twisted yet charming worlds. Whereas most games in the genre are structured around telling elaborate stories, Disgaea is more focused on providing a crazy experience that you can enjoy at your own pace. This formula has made the franchise stand out from the crowd ever since it debuted and Disgaea 4 is perhaps the best game in the series so far. Although it features familiar and enjoyable gameplay, there are so many wrinkles to both combat at party management that it can be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, the unconventional game world and hilarious cast of quirky characters are enjoyable enough that you'll want to learn all of the ins and outs so you can progress and see how the plot unfolds.
As I've already touched upon, Disgaea 4 has quite a lot of aspects to keep in mind as you battle. Although I found the first game to be rather simplistic, I actually had to learn a lot in order to master the battles here. Besides the basics, you'll have to keep many factors in mind such as readying for enemy counterattacks, positioning allies so they can perform team attacks, performing combos which is a good way to earn after-battle bonus items, taking advantage of Geo Block effects as well as destroying them to harm multiple enemies, and throwing allies to reach faraway foes. I'm only scratching the surface but a couple of cool additions are Magichange which transforms monster-type allies to weapons and Demon Fusion which lets you combine monsters to form a giant one. Heck, you can even combine those concepts to carry out a Fused Magichange which will make you much more powerful. It's all supremely rewarding stuff.
Between battles, you can do all sorts of activities at the main hub area. Of course, you can heal and buy and sell items and you'll also learn and boost skills among other things. For starters, there's an Item World with branching paths where you can level up items by completing floors. Next, the Cam-pain HQ allows you to arrange your party and Evil Symbols in order to earn certain benefits. You can also try and pass bills in the Senate as well as get Senators drunk or sober them up which is pretty funny. Anyway, this is where my confusion really began as all of these supplementary systems are only explained via lengthy text descriptions in-game so most of it went over my head until I did some research online. I really wish there were interactive tutorials because all of this is fairly complex stuff.
Don't get me wrong; I'm very happy that there are a lot of aspects to tend to because after learning how everything works together, Disgaea 4 Complete+ becomes a very rewarding game. However, I'm a bit perplexed by why it's called "Complete+" seeing as not much content has been added that wasn't already in previous versions. You mostly just get some quality of life improvements that were featured in Disgaea 5. If you'd like more specific details then please read NIS America's overview of features in Disgaea 4 Complete+. In short, it's a minor upgrade at best. One thing that I wish they fixed was the camera. For whatever reason, I always find myself struggling with making out where characters are in Disgaea games so I always have to zoom out to the near-overhead angle so I don't have to squint but even then, it's still very cluttered. Why not allow the player to rotate the camera freely with the right stick?
Although Disgaea 4 Complete+ isn't a substantial upgrade to the previous iteration, what's here is still a fantastic SRPG. Therefore, if you don't already own it and are a genre fan then I recommend picking up a copy.
- + Familiar SRPG gameplay with a welcome amount of complexity
- + Hilarious characters and game world
- + Lots of aspects to tend to
- - With so many systems in place, tutorials aren't as easily digestible as they should be
- - Camera can be annoying
- - Almost no new content