When you think about Strategy RPGs today there aren’t very many names that come to mind. Out of those few the biggest is Disgaea. The Disgaea series from Nippon Ichi started on the Playstation 2 with the original Disgaea. I was lucky enough to have the game given to me for review and while I did miss out on the second and third entries into the series I didn’t pass up the chance to grab Disgaea 4 and give it a spin.
Valvatorez, a former demon tyrant, and his faithful werewolf servant Fenrich is where the Disgaea 4 story beginning. Valvatorez is a demon who surprisingly will do anything to keep a promise he has made. Valvatorez promised to not drink human blood again in the past and thus lost all his former powers and is forced to be a lowly prinny instructor. Without human blood he must rely solely on sardines as his source of power. The corrupternment, netherworld’s government, sets off a plan to exterminate all prinnies. Valvatorez had promised the prinnies a sardine, but with them taken he could not fulfill his promise and so he sets off on his quest to overthrow the current president and restore the netherworld to its proper state.
If your not familiar with the Disgaea series this back story may seem a little silly and that is because it is. The humor in Disgaea is a staple for the series. The quality of the story and characters in this title are among the best in the series and for additional humor you’ll even cross paths with a final boss in training.
Now that we’ve entered the HD era there is no doubt that Strategy RPGs leave something to be desired when it comes to visuals. Character sprites and portraits look amazing in Disgaea 4, but leave everything else stand out in a bad way when compared. The voice actors and music in the game heavily make up for some of the environment visuals and combo attack scenes. Characters truly come to life with the wonderful work they’ve done to the voice acting and the music never tires you out from wanting one more battle before you call it a day.
Disgaea 4 keeps the same formula for the series including in battle. You can now fuse two monster type characters together into more powerful and larger monsters and even use that fused monster as a weapon. One thing I would like to note is that geo panels are still here and still confusing. Being able to throw the blocks into other geo panels would make you think that the effects would change, however they don’t. The blocks are used to just destroy the panels, so my question is why make them throw able?
New character you create in the game all start out at level one. You would think it would be tedious to get them up to strength with the rest of your party, however the ways to do so seem limitless. Each item has its own dungeon. You can also replay previous maps or create custom maps in the map editor. The map editor also allows you to create maps using your own characters as enemies. While I didn’t find any significant use for using my own characters as enemies, it was always entertaining.
Overall Disgaea 4 refines what it does right and makes it even better. You have challenging and sometimes difficult battles to beautifully done cut scenes to keep the gap in between battles interesting. In my book Final Fantasy Tactics is on top in the Strategy RPG section, but now with Disgaea 4 out it finally has some company. The game proves Nippon Ichi is going in the right direction with the series and keeps me wanting more Disgaea. The only improvement I could even ask for is more online features.