[PlayStation 4] Disgaea 1 Complete Review
It’s already been 15 years since the original Disgaea: Hour of Darkness released on the Playstation 2. Six games later (more if you include spinoffs), the Complete edition of the first one is landing on the PS4. Are you ready to discover, or rediscover, the one that started it all ? Read more in our review below!
After waking up from a two years sleep, prince Laharl learns from Etna, one of the castle’s vassals, that his father has died. Ever since the king’s death, a lot of ambitious demons want to take his place as the King of the Netherworld. Laharl though is determined to take back what’s his and will set out on a mission to do so. Little does he know that his quest will imply so much more than just becoming the Overlord…
For those who have never played a Disgaea game before, let me break down how it works. First and foremost, this is a strategy RPG game. As you start your fights, you’ll have a base panel from which you can select the characters you’ll use for the fight and move them in battle. Your typical actions throughout the game will be to move, attack and use skills. You’ll also be able to lift and throw objects like Geo Cubes (more on that later) or even your friends, in order to get them somewhere else on the map!
An interesting twist found on some maps will be Geo Panels, along with Geo Cubes. The panels, of different colors, will either give player or enemy units an advantage when they’re standing on them. For example, you could have red tiles that have the added bonus of 50% more attack power for your enemies. Avoiding those will be one of your options through the fight, or you’ll also be able to destroy the Geo Cube of the corresponding color. This will have the effect of removing the effect it had, if it was standing on a panel of the same color. If it was on a panel of another color (say, blue cube on a red panel), it would have the effect of turning all the red panels into blue ones, damaging anything that’s on them. A chain reaction could also be achieved if other cubes were on the triggered tiles. This adds a lot of depth to the strategy of the fights, as those panels, effects and cubes can really turn the tide in anyone’s favor depending on where cubes are placed (and potentially destroyed).
Outside of battles, Laharl will be in his castle, having access to a multitude of “shops”. There’s the standard weapon and armor shops, where you can purchase better gear for your characters. Then there’s the hospital, as your characters are not fully healed after a fight, so this will be important to think about it. There’s also the Dark Assembly, where you are able to consume Mana points in order to create new pupils to fight by your side. Depending on the level of the pupil to create, you’ll have to get the assembly’s members to vote and have the majority in your favor. Don’t worry about those odds though, as there are ways like bribes and fights to make things become in your favor.
Then there’s the item world. This allows you to go inside an item, where you’ll fight your way through multiple levels (up to 100) in order to increase your item’s attributes. This opens up a whole world of possibilities, as pretty much anything can be upgraded.
Now you might be wondering, what’s the added stuff to make this one the Complete edition ? First there’s the Etna Mode, that was included in the PSP re-release of the game back in 2007. This mode casts Etna as the main character because of some incident while trying to wake Laharl up. Then there’s the graphics. Gone are the sprites of the 2003’s game, instead they are replaced by colorful drawings that are much similar to Disgaea 5.
I never had the chance to experience this game, only a few of the later entries, but I’m really glad I got the chance with this edition. As far as strategy RPGs are concerned, Disgaea is one of the most fun franchise around, both in terms of gameplay and for the replay value. There’s so much stuff to do, apart from the story, you’ll be spending countless hours into this game just to level up pretty much everything! The level cap is at 9999, and I’m pretty sure that if you’re into that kind of game, you’ll be reaching it without even realizing it!
As for the trophies, it won’t be a difficult platinum, but surely a long one to get. There are a few story-related trophies that you’ll get while playing, but things like getting a total of 10 000 levels is sure to take some time. The Disgaea series is a grindfest, which people have always loved about it, so if you like the series, the platinum should be in your reach in due time.
Although not a new game into the series, it’s still great to see the game that started it all coming back on PS4 to get some new people playing it. As with most of the Disgaea games, there are hundreds of hours of gameplay to get from this game, and it should all be pure fun with everything there is to do and with the humor you’ll find in the story. Definitely a must-play for fans of strategy RPGs or of the Disgaea series !
This Disgaea 1 Complete review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by NIS America.