Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance is the series’ debut on the PS4. This time around an Overlord, Void Dark, is taking over the multiverse of Netherworlds. Overlord Seraphina and her newly met companion, Killia, work together in order to vanquish VD. They eventually form a resistance with other Overlords, which is a first for the series. Pitting multiple Overlords against a greater evil is a fantastic concept, but sadly, poorly executed. The plot is hard to engage and while there are moments of classic Disgaea humor, the characters this time around lack that certain charm.
Those familiar with the series will feel right at home with this strategy RPG. It’s more of the same, but a few new additions help streamline and improve the mechanics. For starters, party members can be created the old fashion way, or enemies captured in battle can also be recruited. Once captured, they must be interrogated, through a simple mini game, to either join, or be converted into items. Members can then join in on missions, or be sent on expeditions to gain valuable insight, experience, and items from different worlds.
There’s a curry shop that will improve stats temporally in battles. Quests can now be taken, ranging from enemy elimination to item collection. Squads can be set up in order to grant party members skills and stat buffs. And the list goes on. Things started in Disgaea 4 and Disgaea D2 has been reworked with a fine dragon toothed comb. Battles are still chaotic, with beautifully animated insanity, and the replay value is off the charts. The series is known for its content, but D5 blows the lid off of its predecessors. It’s simply the best gameplay in the franchise to date.
That said, in the same way, Disgaea doesn’t feel like it has evolved at all. Sure the mechanics are amazing, but what about the game’s design? The sprite work and imagination set up between each character, monster, and place is suburb. However, maps lack detail and when models are zoomed in on, everything becomes blurry. This is the third generation of consoles the series has graced and its premiere feels lacking technically. To top it off, the music is rote. It’s not so much bad as it is indistinguishable from the rest save for the gameplay.
Now that may sound a bit harsh. Both the developers and the majority of fans known exactly what the other party wants. After all, the game is still great. Still, as a fellow fan, one always hopes for more. Yet if Disgaea 5 were on the PS Vita, most of these issues wouldn’t bother this writer. Should the series evolve on consoles, or should its classic style be forever placed on portables? The answer…doesn’t pertain to this review so let’s dwell on this matter another time and get to the summary.
Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance is awesome pure and simple. A poor cast and an average story sour its greatness, but the gameplay is solid. This addiction comes once in a great while and this writer, despite his nit picking, embraces it. Dood, don’t miss it.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: The publisher provided a review copy. This article was originally published on September 24, 2015 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.