Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Previously on Disgaea 6, super reincarnated Pierre-Yves and company found themselves in Nippon Ichi Software’s latest over the top and hilarious SRPG series. Having enjoyed their time with it, there was sadly one element that didn’t quite shine as well as it could have. Having moved from the Nintendo Switch to the PlayStation 5 however? This SRPG is back, super shiny, and has absolutely zero performance issues as you battle against the God of Destruction and die, die, and die again as the Zombie protagonist Zed.
Note: Please be aware that this review contains some spoilers either in the text or in the screenshots taken during gameplay.
Reviewing a title for a second time comes with a few perks. Firstly, you know what you’re in for. Secondly, you can get right into things much quicker as you don’t need to go through all of the tutorials or the notes for the features should you choose to bypass them. This is one area that the Disgaea series does really well as it knows that returning fans don’t need to know how to deploy, attack, stack blocks and other basic things. For newcomers though, everything is ready and waiting for them to get a better handle on the experience.
Nippon Ichi Software, NIS for short, NISA for its North American localization branch, have been at this for a long time with the original Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (Nick’s 2018 review of Disgaea 1 Complete) having come out back in 2003. With other titles such as Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (1998) and LaPucelle Tactics (2002) both part of the upcoming Prinny Presents: NIS Classics Vol 3, their resume speaks for itself. So Why bring up history? Because with so many epic titles under the hood including the recently re-released Phantom Brave, Soul Nomad and the World Eaters, Makai Kingdom which are all SRPGs, there’s going to come a time that a shift needs to be taken and Disgaea 6 may have been it.
Jumping back in, there were a few things that once worried me that this time around I took for granted. Super high numbers that make it pointless to do the math? Check. Auto battling system with adjustable AI features to take care of healing, item acquisition or full on mayhem? Check. Awesome story to sit through for a second time now knowing about certain plot points? That last item is also a check as long as you have your popcorn as Disgaea 6’s dialog and back to basics story is worth revisiting.
So taking it from the top, Disgaea 6 is a story of love and vengeance told through the protagonist Zed. Having busted his way through level 999 guards, Zed walks right into the Darkest Assembly and states that the God of Destruction has been defeated and it’s all by his hands. Breaking the tale into chapters and stages as is the series staple, there will be plenty of twists and turns as you unlock new story characters and create new custom ones.
Starting off in a hub like area that contains everything you could need, equipment shops, evility (evil ability) shop, a juice bar, access to the item world, Darkest Assembly and the DLC shop, Disgaea 6 took this and simplified it further. You can easily walk around and enjoy the sights of the hub, or, with either “L2” or “R2” triggers, you can quickly navigate to their functions to get what needs to be done, done, and then get back out on the field. Further improving the efficiency is that the hospital which has been a long series staple no longer makes it necessary to manually heal your units, or even pay for the services. Instead, it’s now done free of charge and you will receive rewards for how many hit points (HP), skills points (SP) have been restored alongside how many times your units have been revived.
Moving out from the hub into the first, second, third, fourth, tenth chapters and selecting your stage, you’ll be treated to cutscenes both before and after on your first time through that particular stage. Generally played like a visual novel, these voiced cutscenes are what probably half the players are here for because there isn’t a single Disgaea that has been “boring”. The characters are well written, the story is generally ridiculous and the supporting casts are always on their “A” game. Even the DLC characters come with the same treatment in Disgaea 6 from Adell and Rozalin, to D3’s Mao, D4’s Vavatorez (Sardines!) and D5’s Killia which need to be defeated before they can be recruited.
From these story segments, you’ll be diving into a world of strategy where the stakes are high and the numbers are now insane especially when you start throwing around NIS’ mascot exploding peg legged penguins known as Prinnies dood. Starting from a “home base” point, you’ll be moving your characters out into the field through a square based format. Each character can by default move “X” amount of squares, have attacks that affect “X” amount of squares and can be equipped with items to move out even further if needed.
Once you’ve moved your troops out and into place, if there are enemies in range you can decide to either assign characters to do standard attacks or more special ones if they have the SP for it. Once all of these actions are done and there’s nothing more to be done, you can end your turn and it’s the enemy’s turn to do the same. From there, it’s a rinse and repeat until you come out victorious and move onto a new cutscene and then back to the hub. The best part about this format is that as you progress through the story either the enemies become stronger or the complexity of the stages increase. Or both making you really have to get into the nitty gritty of your characters, their levels, their abilities, and finally, how much time you’re going to be grinding out experience and mana to make it all work.
The fun part of all of the above will be taking trips to the Darkest Assembly in order to get bills passed in order to do more. While the format of the “Dark” Assembly has changed over the years, the core premise has brought us to the latest Darkest Assembly. Want to gain triple experience in the next battle? Want to unlock better items in the shop? Want to increase your relationships with certain class types or species of Senators within the Darkest Assembly? You’re going to need mana to bring the bill forward and then hope that those voting on the bill give you what you want.
If the Darkest Assembly’s Senators vote against you though and the bill fails, you have two options. Walk away sad that your hard earned mana is now gone, or, do what Disgaea does best and be evil by taking the fight to the assembly. Option 1 just means that you’ll be out of mana. Option 2? These will be fights for the ages as oftentimes Senators will be leagues above you in terms of power and will wipe you from existence. As you get more powerful however and are rocking level 6000 or 9999, chances will be much higher that you get your way and not be out of tens or hundreds of thousands of mana points.
So with all of these par for the course, there were new features introduced such as the Juice Bar which allows you to infuse characters with extra HP, SP, mana, attack, defense, intelligence or resistance for example. While all of these will cost money, it’s a quick and easy way to upgrade your characters before getting into the other new feature of Super Reincarnation which allows you to reset your characters to level 1 but with karma points available to increase your base stats not unlike the Juice Bar. The only difference here is that you need to spend hard earned mana to do it. The more mana dropped, the more karma earned.
For the game changer however is the newly introduced autobattling system. While unsure of this system back in the original demo and for a while within my Nintendo Switch trip through Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny, this time I used it for everything that it was worth. Generally SRPGs are all about the thought of your actions and hoping that they work out as well as you’re hoping them to. The hands on is what it’s all about and depending on the harshness of the experience like the original Fire Emblem’s perma deaths, you learn from your mistakes rather quickly.
What makes this autobattling system so great is that it speeds things along for the “modern” age meaning that you don’t need to hang around for an entire afternoon rinsing and repeating the same actions. Instead, you can set your troops loose onto the field and even have them repeat the stage without you needing to lift a finger. This is great for quickly accumulating experience, money and mana, but what if things get complicated? If things get complicated there are a number of extra options that can be combined with an intricate “if / then” chart that can be built from scratch and then tested out. There are core values like, “Go all out”, “Heal when in danger” and “Prioritize opening chests”, but, if you really want control, you’ve got it right here.
Finally, one element that I really didn’t use the first time around having tried to do it the “good old fashioned way”, is that now characters can be assigned classes to help unlock others. Now, you don’t need to create a character, level them up and put in all this effort before no longer using them or switching them up to the next class you need. Now, you can assign these roles to your main crew, core Disgaea 6 or DLC characters, and then create the new character that you want with all of the mana and karma you need to super power them from the beginning.
All of these mechanics roll in neatly together and when combined with the story, the writing of the characters and the stellar cast of voice actors for the latest entry? Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny was good but it had one lacking element on the Nintendo Switch, power under the hood. Disgaea 6 Complete takes care of this on a more powerful console meaning that at all times there are no stutters while moving around the base or within combat and the now fully 3D character models look amazing at all times.
While Nippon Ichi Software’s Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny was good, Disgaea 6 Complete takes it that next step for another fantastic, and more definitive, experience. This is especially the case for long term fans of the series that may not have gone over to the Nintendo Switch and stayed with Sony’s PlayStation where this series has always been. So if you haven’t yet had the chance to jump onto this latest SRPG, now’s your chance doods!Score: 8.5 / 10