It’s charming, it’s witty, it’s tactical, it’s a bit bonkers. It’s Disgaea.
Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited aims to increase the vita’s repertoire of addictive strategy games with its remastering of the PS3 game of a similar name Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten released back in 2011. Does this new addition to the Disgaea series do enough to make the heavy grinding worth it?
Set in the underworld, Disgaea 4 follows the vampire Valvatorez and his friend / servant Fenrich as they attempt a coup against the current ruler of the land. Normally for a powerful vampire such as Valvatorez this would be a simple task, however there’s the slight issue that Valvatorez refuses to drink human blood and has resorted to sardines as his only source of nutrition.
This leaves him to be a shell of the tyrant he once was, meaning that he’s now the scummiest of the underworld scum with nothing to his name. From there the game goes on many wacky and silly adventures as Valvatorez attempts to build a crew of bombastic and downright moronic characters in hopes of one day becoming the new ruler of the underworld.
Story has always been a strange highlight to the Disgaea series. While the story itself is always simplistic and unimaginative, it’s the execution that makes it so enjoyable. The writing is somehow incredibly quirky and intelligent, with characters dialogue being multilayered with insults, inside jokes, and political jabs all at once.
The whole interplay between justice and loyalty is also fantastic as many characters attempt to achieve the same goal but with completely different words and actions, all for what they perceive as just.
The writings so good it’s almost worth sitting through the same Disgaea gameplay all over again, but not quite.
Disgaea 4’s biggest issue for some will be the gameplay. The mechanics haven’t changed since the original game made more than 10 years ago. Characters take it in turns to move and attack on a grid while also avoiding or taking advantage of stage hazards and geo blocks.While Disgaea 4’s portable edition changes some moves and fixes some of the issues with magicharge, it’s still the same old grind fest that has people divided down a love-hate split.
If replaying the same levels multiple times to level up characters and items sounds like a cracking time, then Disgaea 4’s gameplay has enough content to keep you entertained for years.
The portable edition also brings a few new editions and tweaks that make it stand out from the original, although none of them change the core gameplay. Weapon sprites can now be edited to make them look cooler (or sillier), and the ability to bride the senate has been added to speed up voting.
One of the best new additions is the “Cheat Shop” from D2. The shop allows you to adjust how much gold, exp, and mana you get in battle. By lowering one stat you can increase another, meaning that if you half your gold intake you can greatly increase how much exp you gain. This is great as it slightly reduces grinding and makes earning gold to buy weapons less of a hassle. It’s a much appreciated addition that keeps the game from becoming quickly dry and stilted.
Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited is by far the best Disgaea game on the PS Vita. It combines all the latest and best mechanics from other titles to help streamline the title for both new and old players. While the gameplay is starting to grow tiresome, the hilarity that comes from the story and zany super moves is more than enough to keep players going.
If you’re a big fan of the series, or just enjoy kooky anime inspired video games that don’t take themselves seriously, A Promise Revisited is a great adventure jam packed with things to do.
Thanks to NIS America for supplying a review copy