Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance (PS4) Review
It’s been over a decade since the launch of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. The SRPG franchise from Nippon Ichi Software began back on Playstation 2, appeared on the Playstation 3 a few times, showed up on both Sony and Nintendo handheld systems and now it’s making its debut on the Playstation 4. With Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, Nippon Ichi Software President Sohei Niikawa is looking to evolve the franchise to the next level and with its addictive strategy game play, charming characters, and deep character customization, makes Alliance of Vengeance the strongest game in the series to date.
The main theme for the game’s story is “revenge.” The evil demon emperor Void Dark is conquering many Netherworlds after coming to power, with the help of his army called The Lost. The helpless Overlords of the Netherworlds under Void Dark’s rule attempt rebel against him and take revenge.
Players take on the role of the protagonist Killia a young male demon seeking revenge against Void Dark. Throughout the story, Killia will travel across multiple Netherworlds in an attempt to bring the Overlords and heirs of each different world to join forces together to fight against Void Dark.
The story missions are quite like a typical anime episode. You will play a series of five battles followed by skit previewing the next events. As I typically prefer to play my games with a provided Japanese language track, fans will be happy to know that Disgaea 5 offers dual audio.
After each battle your heroes are free to roam around a large ship which serves as your level hub, where you can heal yourself up at the hospital, buy gear for your party members and talk to the NPCs. Quite often the game’s main character’s will have a “!” above their head, activating a mini skit where they will interact with one another, as they are an excellent connection with Disgaea’s characters and plot.
While visuals of Disgaea tend to look a bit dated compared to other current games, where it shines are in its beautifully drawn anime style cutscenes. That being said, the special attacks are still some of the most entertaining pieces to watch in the game. Unfortunately, due to odd camera angles in the game, players can miss some of the special character attacks.
At first glance it is the same Disgaea game we know and love with multiple elements returning from past installments and with many tweaks and enhancements to them, why ruin a good thing?
The new Squads system adds a new layer of depth, with new opportunities to buff your characters. It gives a feeling of ownership as to how different maps play out.
Do you make a squad where members gain up to 15% of the leaders XP? Do you make a squad that boosts the stats of members up to 5% adjacent to the leader? Do you make a capture squad that increases the amount of innocents that you will encounter in the item world so you can mass farm them and make them easier to subdue? Do you make a squad specifically to pass bills and add enhancements to bribes?
Choice is always good and it no longer makes it just about controlling one whole entire team. Now it’s about controlling specialized teams with a wide variety of situations to work your way through. Often in ways you deem fit.
Also making its debut to the Disgaea series is the Character world or “Chara World." This world involves you taking one character around a “Mario Party”-like game board to either collect bonus stats or fight monsters. There is also a shop space you can land on where you can buy dice items that will make you move further across the board.
Once your character reaches the goal you are awarded a bonus to all your stats. In addition, you are also allowed to pick one special reward with some of the choices being improving movement range, throw speed, enhanced counter attacking, higher critical rate, and rare Evilites. You can even turn your Evilites and special skills into scrolls to give to other characters.
The Chara World is a welcome addition to Disgaea as for someone who is looking to craft the perfect character. However it does cost mana to challenge the Chara World and it gets progressively more expensive after you keep entering it so you may want to reincarnate your character after a while.
The item world has also come with its own set of enhancements and tweaks. It’s still the same premise: you go into actual items and level them up by defeating residents and clearing levels. However you can no longer skip floors to enhance the item’s level. Each map is now covered with statues that if you destroy will raise your bonus gauge. If you manage to get the bonus gauge to level nine, you gain an extra level for that floor.
Innocents will no longer be hostile towards enemy units. They will just lie there in a dormant state until you subdue them by killing them. There is even a squad will allow you to manage an innocent farm where you can enhance and even breed the Innocents you have captured.
There is also an Angel that can appear and will drop an egg that will hatch into Neutral NPC’s. When you kill these NPC’s they also give you items. They can also drop super bosses. The item world has always been a great addition to the Disgaea series and with the sheer amount of floors and bonus rooms you can get lost in there for hours.
It took me about forty-eight hours to beat Disgaea 5 once through leveling up different characters, exploring through the item world, playing around with different squad configurations, but in no way seeing everything there is to see. Considering the tons of different features it has to offer including the new squad system, Chara World, Item World, loads of trophies to earn, and with a ton of DLC content planned, Disgaea 5 could keep you busy for over thousands of hours or more.
Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance continues the award winning formula of its solid story, quirky anime characters, and deep addictive strategy game play. If you’re a Disgaea fan, or if you’re looking for a SRPG to lose yourself in, look no further.
- Deep Strategy
- Anime Art
- Replay Value
- Steep Learning Curve