Disgaea 5 is a top down tactics game. The game centres around tactical gameplay with an overwhelming amount of available depth. I noticed there weren’t many reviews for this game online and I think that is because it is a very hard game to review. It is so ridiculous and weird but at the same time requires a very tactical and thought out approach to overcome many of its battles.
You play as a group of overlords, primarily one named killia, looking to overthrow an overlord named ‘void dark’. You do this by battling your way through a series of ‘netherworlds’, that take the form of the battlegrounds upon which you control up to ten overlords/characters (you can hire archers/witches/fighters etc that aren’t overlords), whilst you battle it out against the enemy forces in a similar style to in the fire emblem games.
The reasons for you entering these netherworlds may be anything from fighting void dark’s forces to chasing someone that stole some curry (yes that is actually in the game). Once in the netherworld the player must use there heroes to overcome whatever challenge is set out, normally by fighting everyone there. The player can instruct his units to perform unique and pretty satisfying moves in exchange for SP, the more you use each move the better the unit gets at casting it and the less SP it will cost to use that proves interesting as you unlock more expensive abilities through levelling.
The game then has a million other things you can do in your home-netherworld. Everything from hiring and firing units to making squads to interrogate people you captured on the battlefield to buying curry to give you power ups is here. To write everything out would be impossible especially as I am only (yes i say only) 20 hours in and I don’t feel like I have tried and unlocked everything as of yet.
So how does this tactical fighting game stack up against competition such as fire emblem? Actually very well, I found Disgaea 5 to have a lot more variety on offer that kept things fresh. The player is also regularly handed new and fun characters to try out on the battlefield that both mixes things up and gives a well needed boost to stop grinding (it is hard to keep 10 mains at a high level and the new characters normally come at a higher level than some of your normal 10).
Disgaea 5 however doesn’t always hit the mark. The main weakness is the storytelling. I must stress the weakness IS NOT the story. The issue manifests in the huge amount of text used and conversations are often very convoluted in the attempt to put across some ‘charm’ when in actuality they just take away from the amazing gameplay. You can skip these moments but I then find that you miss out on a lot of the information. This is also the reason I am always so ready to chuck under-leveled characters to the curb in place of a new one, because I have no real connection to them other than their stats.
In conclusion, however, I believe the gameplay far outshines the bad storytelling on offer here. The game contains dozens of hours of strategic gameplay that I am yet to find in any way repetitive or boring (there was a moment towards the end of the tutorial that I was wondering ‘does this get harder?’ don’t worry, it does). On-top of the great gameplay on offer here Disgaea 5 on the switch is the ‘complete’ edition that means you get extra netherworlds and overlords to unlock and play around with.
I feel like I have just brushed the surface of all the things you can do in Disgaea 5 in this review. You can send extra characters out on research missions to netherworlds, carry out quests to unlock new classes, hold council meetings to pass bills, level items up by entering item netherworlds and much more. There is a huge amount to do here and while £50 may seem steep I think this one may have the content to make that £50 worth it.
If you enjoy Fire emblem style gameplay but are willing to change the story for something a bit more weird, wacky and distinctly more ‘animey’ then I recommend giving this a shot.