If you are here just for the rating and if you should buy it. I am going to state those right away so I don’t waste your time and you don’t have to search for it.
I would give the game on a 10 scale. An 8 out of 10 on its own merits if you have never played a Disgaea game but as a Disgaea game I would have to give it a 6 out of 10. If you like games like Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem (Casual mode) you will definitely like this game. If you are a fan of anime and know a handful of well known voice actors you will enjoy this game. Is it worth it at full price or select discount rates with GCU and Prime? Absolutely! That is the end of my mini-review and for people who want a more detailed spoiler-free review please read on. Enjoy!
Short Overall History of the Series
The Disgaea series is a niche RPG series that has been ported to several devices including PC and has never lost its charm throughout the years. Each Disgaea game presents its own story (much like the Final Fantasy series) and is always based on one or more Overlords, a godlike figure with incredible power, that are trying to solve a problem that can be as corny as trying to become a “hero” in order to defeat their father to claim the title as overlord to a more serious story as seeking revenge for losing a loved one. Each Disgaea game has a humorous side as main characters could have a love for sardines to appeal to their vampiric thirst or explaining that to be the best student at the school you never attend class. The series has evolved a bit over the years to be more chaotic in terms of gameplay and taking slight steps back from the main characters of the original game resulting in them being locked behind DLC story arcs compared to their uses in the second game where they were secret characters unlocked through multiple hours of gameplay letting you take on a mission to unlock them. The series has never been afraid of talking about touchy topics. Most stories will hit close to home with D5 really coming close to being upsetting as Kilia finally understands what he must do to save the Netherworlds.
Disgaea 5’s Story
Most Disgaea games start with a tragic story and this one is slightly different starting you off a little further on and tells the back story of Kilia through flashbacks that are presented over time. This is the first in the series to tell the majority of the main character’s story through flashbacks that are critical to understanding Kilia’s rage toward the villain. The story is based on several main characters with Kilia being the one you control but all are demons that are overlords for their own netherworld. Each one of them have their own agendas to joining Kilia and have a very detailed background stories that you will find out in the 40+ hour main story.
The story begins with Seraphina (an Overlord of the Netherworld: Gorgeous) battling against “The Lost”, the primary threat in the story, as Prinnies tell her that they will not be able to win the battle. Kilia casually walks between the opposing forces to sit down to eat food before Seraphina gets upset with him for eating in the middle of a battle while putting himself in danger. Kilia proceeds to finish his food and completely takes out “The Lost” forces. Seraphina is in awe by his power and insists that since he saved her that he now belongs to her. Kilia tries to leave and Seraphina shoots him forcing him to go with her to her pocket Netherworld as she gloats that no man can resist her charm. In her pocket Netherworld he tries again to leave giving Seraphina no choice but to use her overlord power, Balor Gaze, which forces any man to obey her… It doesn’t work on Kilia. Seraphina explains that “The Lost” have been attacking areas and Kilia agrees to help her because he believes in defending the weak. Over time they go to different Netherworlds to protect them resulting in several other main characters picked up such as Red Magnus, Usalia, Christo, and Zeroken that all would like to join their army to defend Netherworlds. “The Lost” is being lead by a man named Void Dark, main antagonist, that believes that power is everything as he searches for a way to have complete control over all Netherworlds.
Now Disgaea plays exactly like Final Fantasy tactics, a straight forward turn based RPG that each character can have their own equipment and special abilities. This is where the similarities end though. Disgaea is a heavily grinding based RPG that can lead to characters becoming as high as level 9999 even though by the end of the main story I was around 100-150 with my band of characters. Throughout the game you can either capture enemies and force them through torture to join your army or you can create your own generic characters by paying for them along with what level they start off with and stat point values.
Disgaea has an “Item World” which you can use on any item to fight in randomly generated maps to level up an item beyond its current limit resulting in the potential of that item being in the millions in terms of damage per hit. Disgaea also has a “Chara World” which lets you increase equipment aptitude which in bare bones terms means the power of your character gets when using a certain item so if you equip an item that has 10 damage but your character’s aptitude for that item is 120% you will get 12 damage instead when using that item. Disgaea has a bill voting assembly that can do anything from hog all mana (to level up skills) to making the game harder to asking for your own trophy in your honor. Bills much like the item world and chara world can change the game completely if it passes but if it doesn’t pass you are forced to fight all the senate members or pay them to pass your bill.
Disgaea gets really complicated really quickly if you let it but the game doesn’t force you to do any of this outside things if you choose just to finish the story. I went into the item world several times just so I didn’t have to buy a multimillion dollar item just to get a few extra points of damage. It is completely possible to beat the entire game without doing any of this extra stuff if you just wanted to play the game. The Item and Chara worlds are just to get added pleasure from the game itself since each time you go into the item world it can feel like you are doing any mission on a smaller scale due to the levels encountered. This alone can yield hours and hours of gameplay since like Binding of Issac you will never see the same layout of the item world and chara world no matter how many times you go into them.
I believe that pretty much covers the gameplay side of Disgaea which can be as simple as just playing the game just like any RPG and learning the story through missions and listening to other characters much like the Tales series to grinding all day just to see one character reach level 9999 and getting all items maxed out.
I like starting things at 10 and slowly knocking them down one point at a time and I will explain why each point was taken off.
I loved Disgaea 5 but if you read my short minireview you know that I wouldn’t place it at the top of the list. As an RPG it is great even at 8 out of 10 because it has tons and tons of replay ability, it has a great story, and sooooo much DLC. This is also in issue in my opinion, the game suffers from too much for new players, so there goes the first point. Disgaea alone just for the story would be a 9 out of 10 but I have to take a point off because of how complex it can really get for new players. Things aren’t easily explained either which can be a serious problem. Most things you will learn from talking to NPCs and asking them to give you more information about exactly what they are talking about but some these NPCs will tell you to go talk to another NPC for more information. This I found to be annoying as I didn’t understand even after reading multiple times what “Innocents” were. I never fully understood how to use them and this has been the case since D3. Here is where another point is lost so overall it lost two points for not getting me invested in the story faster and has way too much mech that can push new players away.
Now moving onto Disgaea 5 compared to the others I gave it a 6 out of 10… It is kind of bland in terms of high quality voice actors and overall story telling, so I took a point off there. I was always told never tell a story at the high point and go back. I went in for a good hour going like “I have no attachment to Kilia or care what happens” when it dropped a few flashbacks and finally started to pick up about 5-6 hours into it then I couldn’t put it down. It felt like it took a very long time to get to the point where I was invested in the characters and cared because it was able to hide things from me and surprise me at the end. The story isn’t as comical resulting in losing another point. The game has an overall serious tone but does have its own funny moments like whenever Seraphina uses Balor Gaze on Red Magnus who proceeds to say how great she is as she snaps her fingers and he doesn’t remember what happened. Again it loses a point for too much mechs that aren’t explained very well and even though they aren’t needed to finish the game. The game still pushes for you to go into the item world, chara world and pass a bill at least once. Finally the most controversial point lost would be how they decided to use the DLC…. I really liked the DLC so don’t get me wrong but I wish there was a bit more to them. They are missing voice acting and don’t mesh well with the story so they just drop you in with previous game characters with no regard to where you are in the story. I can assume that they did that because there is no clean way of adding it but wish they had some way of weaving the DLC stories with the main story. The DLC I first did was the Disgaea 3 story arcs which is my favorite game in the series so I was a bit harsh on it. I went in thinking I can’t wait to hear new lines from these characters and when they talked it was just generic one liners that repeated multiple times over the course of the 3 mission story. I was really disappointed since I went into it thinking I was getting at least new lines from these characters but they were recycled from previous games that I have already heard. I could really hear the characters and voice actors saying the lines but it wasn’t enough for me.
If you like RPGs and want something that really gives a lot of bang for your buck, buy the game and if you just skipped ahead and didn’t bother to read the first paragraph. I gave the game on its own a 8 out of 10 if you are brand new to the series, a 6 out of 10 if you have played all previous games in the series, and I would highly recommend the game to any fan of anime, corny humor, and a love for eating food even doing the middle of battle as a must buy purchase for the Switch. Thank you for taking the time out to read this and hopefully this helps you decide if you would like to purchase the game or need something to hold you over for not picking up Splatoon 2. If you have any questions regarding the game or want to know anything more that I believe could be spoilers just post and I’ll answer it as best as I can. I currently clocked in around 300+ hours in Disgaea 5 (on PS4) but on the Switch I have only put in around 100 hours but plan on still continuing to play until the next game in the series makes it ways onto the PS4 or Switch.
Forgot to mention if you want any other “short and 100 hours reviews” for any games please let me know since I do own quite a few of the exclusive Switch games but haven’t put nearly enough hours to comment on that as of this moment.