Nippon Ichi has now become the reference software house for fans of Japanese-style strategic role-playing games. On the other hand, with a portfolio that includes titles of the caliber of La Pucelle: Tactics, Phantom Brave and the Disgaea series it could not be otherwise. Born in 2003 on PlayStation 2 with Hour of Darkness, the latter has become famous from game to game until it becomes almost synonymous with strategic JRPG. Among other things, there are also several spin-offs of the saga, including many visual novels, as well as a free-to-play mobile version, Disgaea: Netherworld Unbound. In short, it will not be a millionaire series, but surely we are faced with a name capable of building a hard core of enthusiasts over the years, disinterested in high-profile graphics or simplified mechanics, and more eager to throw themselves into the complex worlds that Nippon Ichi has always had. knew how to create. After all, the Disgaea series has become famous precisely for the depth of the gameplay, as well as for the massive dose of irony that permeates its stories, two elements that now constitute a real "trademark" for the Japanese team. Let's see in this sense if the latter was also affixed in this fifth regular episode, which arrives exclusively on PlayStation 4.
The world of Disgaea comes to PlayStation 4 with a story overflowing with humor and novelty
Revenge, terrible revenge!
The story behind the adventure is not very original, with the Overlords of the Netherworld willing to seal unlikely alliances in order to save their kingdoms from the threat of the demon emperor Void Dark and his soldiers, known as Lost, but it is like always full of facets, especially in relation to the personalities of the various protagonists.
The main one is the demon Killia, who wants to take revenge on the terrible Void Dark for reasons that will be discovered in the course of the game, and which of course we prefer not to reveal. He is a decidedly solitary type, but capable of gestures of great altruism, except at the table, since he is a great glutton. At his side, the player finds Seraphina, the princess of the nation of Gorgeous, vain, spoiled and willing to do anything to avoid the marriage of interest imposed by the family with Void Dark; even to kill her future husband. And again, Christo, who does not like direct combat, but has incredible tactical skills, or Usalia, the heir to the throne of another kingdom, with a friendly personality but forced by a curse to fight astride a large Prinny yellow, as well as eating tons of curry so as not to become aggressive (confirming the crazy irony that permeates every aspect of the game). In short, as we wrote a little while ago, it is the details that make the narrative experience fun, with the funny animations of the characters, their delusional river dialogues, and the many comic situations that repay the user for the time spent following it all. Each character has his own attack techniques and special powers, which he develops with a lot of patience and dedication by accumulating experience points and leveling up (the maximum achievable by each is 9.999), or by equipping himself properly. In terms of gameplay, therefore, the structure of Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance does not differ much from that of its predecessors. The player must travel through a series of areas within the various realms of the underworld in search of items, weapons and allies to fight against the destroyer demon we talked about earlier. The missions can be accessed from a hub map, where you arrive from the party headquarters (Pocket Netherworld), which then constitutes the nerve center of the adventure. This is where you can organize everything between battles: recruit new elements, heal the wounded in the appropriate hospital, access side missions, save the game or buy new equipment.
This mini world is a sort of customizable microcosm not only from an aesthetic point of view, since it also has an "active" role during clashes, for example giving particular benefits to allies or, on the contrary, imposing specific penalties on enemies. Inside there is, as mentioned, even the Strategy Assembly, where you can get extra elements or unlock new functions and shops, perhaps by bribing some senators at the time of the vote, and the Item World, ie "the worlds" all interior of certain objects.
As per tradition for the series, each contains a series of randomly generated floors populated by numerous monsters and bosses, overcoming which you can increase the powers of the "analyzed" equipment, and much more. Then there are the Innocents, creatures that live inside objects and that can give them various bonuses. For example, a Gladiator-rated Innocent with a score of five can improve a weapon's attack parameters by as many points. If you want you can move from object to object or merge with each other. And if by chance the weapon or item where you want to place a small group cannot accommodate many, you can always expand its capabilities by going to the Item Assembly within the Item World. The Innocent Shop, one of the player's mini Netherworld shops, which acts as a warehouse where to store all the Innocents, is also very useful, and also allows you to automatically manage a series of elements related to them while you are in battle, including the possibility of sending them to a sort of "farm" to accumulate experience and, in the presence of two or more Innocents, sometimes obtain new and more powerful ones. The Innocent Farms themselves can be improved by giving more resources to the so-called Innocent Caretaker Squad.
PlayStation 4 Trophies
Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance offers 51 trophies, including secret ones, divided into 38 of Bronze, 10 of Silver, 2 of Gold and 1 of Platinum. To get them, for example, you have to complete different types of quests or various episodes, capture one hundred prisoners, reach a level equal to or higher than 9.999, get some particularly rare item or the legendary weapon of the Item World, etc.
As for the battle system, it does not stray too far from the canons of the series and therefore remains that of a strategic role-playing game, with player-controlled characters having to contend with groups of enemies, acting in turn on maps divided into grids. Compared to the other chapters, Nippon Ichi, however, has introduced some interesting new features in the combat system. Meanwhile, it must be said that the power of PlayStation 4 has allowed the team to display, in the advanced stages of the game, up to one hundred characters at the same time on the map, against the ten of the previous chapters. This is no small detail because the high number of enemies makes some battles very epic.
Among the real combat options, together with Team Attack, that is, the collaboration of two or more neighboring party members to earn bonuses and improve the damage of attacks, Squad Attack has been added. These start from the same principle as the others, but allow the execution of powerful special techniques depending on the type of team. In practice it is possible to create specific groups of characters commanded by a leader, and make him perform particular tasks in battle, obtaining in exchange benefits, such as perk or peculiar abilities, in addition to the possibility of sharing part of the boss's experience points. Teams can perform a variety of functions, from capturing enemies to interrogating them, and so on. The prisoners, in fact, can be persuaded to join the protagonists, on the field or in the rear, in such a way as to exploit their qualities, including the classes they belong to, which include the new Wrestler, Maid and Dark Knight, just to name. some. Another important novelty is the Revenge Mode, which is activated in particular conditions, such as when your companions suffer heavy damage or are defeated. When a special bar is filled, the characters' stats increase (also applies to enemies) and Overloads can be used. These are special and unique skills for each main character, which can alter the phases of the fight: Seraphina bewitches enemies with her charm, making them enslaved and confused for a while, while Red Magnus, the strong Overlord of the nation of Scorching Flame, it becomes gigantic for three turns, just to give two examples.
Small worlds grow
In addition to those already reported, there are also others that are revived from past chapters and that alter aspects of the game, such as the Magichange functions, Dual Magichange (a kind of double fusion for the creation of enormous powerful weapons) or the classic Geo Panel. These are colored panels that are found on some land, which affect in a beneficial or evil way with the characters positioned above her. By shattering on them small pyramids of different colors that are scattered around the area, you can however change their effects (this happens for all chromatically similar panels).
For example, If a green square is able to assign an extra move on the tactical board to its occupant, converting it to yellow could reduce some enemies' attack power or resistance by 50% from a distance. The effects of the Geo are manifold and must be discovered stage after stage. Moving on to more, let's take a look at the online. In this sense Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance offers some interesting functions on paper. We wrote "on paper" because due to some limitations related to the game's services it was not possible for us to try it, so we have to rely on what the developer said. In any case, the player will be able to show his Netherworld pocket to his friends and share it with other minor elements or, by streaming, obtain "experience" in the game based on the number of spectators who will follow him. If he gets comments later, he can even get bonus items. As you can see it is nothing serious, but it is still pleasant and in some ways original elements, especially if they should work as described. As for the technical part, the transition to the new generation of consoles has brought some benefits to the game. Mind you, let's not talk about who knows what technical upheavals, but the sprites are large, detailed and colorful, making the most of the character design, as always curated by Takehito Harada, historical signature of the series. Ditto the scenarios, conceptually simple but chromatically and stylistically appreciable, while the animations are a bit disappointing, a bit "woody" even for characters in two-dimensional graphics. In general, while not deviating much from past productions of the series on PlayStation 3, the product is still more pleasant to watch. Moving on to the audio sector, the music by Maestro Tenpei Sato, historical composer of the series, is excellent as always. The songs that make up the soundtrack, both instrumental and vocal, are spot on, and above all Kill Real stand out, sung in the animated introduction of the game by the original voice actor of Killia, Mamoru Miyano, and the beautiful Lieze Love and Lieze Lullaby, by Aimi . Good dubbing in English, which is not up to the Japanese one, but still makes a good impression.
With Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, Nippon Ichi proposes the typical formula of the series on PlayStation 4, reviving it, however, with a slight but effective graphic restyling and the addition of some interesting new features in terms of gameplay. While following the tradition, in fact, the title offers some new objects, weapons and classes, plus some new mechanics, integrating them into a crazy but tactically well-layered gameplay, with attention to every detail and full of statistics. A joy for fans of the saga, who will also find themselves in front of an endless jumble of options and customizations, and in general for all fans of strategic JRPG.
- New additions to the gameplay enrich the game system
- Lots of content
- Interesting and extremely likeable characters corroborate a pleasant storyline
- Technically it does not differ too much from the old-gen productions
- For those who do not live on bread and grinding it could be a bit repetitive