Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Disgaea PC Review

Written By Natalie Houghton

It may be slightly late to the JRPG PC party but Disgaea PC is here and struts in up a veritable bag of mixed feelings. Touted as the ‘definitive edition’ which is quite a big claim, it has prompted ire from numerous fans of the series as it hasn’t quite managed to live up to this lofty aspiration.

At this point in time, there are still many issues with this buggy version of the game, said issues may be fixed and I know that it is developer Nippon Ichi’s first foray into the slightly discombobulated world of PC gaming but honestly why, yet again is a PC game released in such a shoddy state? I have numerous questions all along the lines of  ‘was it not thoroughly tested?’ ‘Are there no standards on Steam anymore?’ and ‘Why is there no option to change the resolution?’ I could probably write an essay on the subject of poor sub-par ports of PC games… I’m looking at YOU Tales of Symphonia. In this case, the developer does appear to be listening and there have been a few patches which have fixed some issues (I could actually get the game to run on my laptop after a few patches which initially didn’t even start up). 

For reference I played the game on two PC’s, one desktop (i5 6600K, 16Gb DDR4, 8Gb Radeon R9 390) and one slightly older laptop (i5 3210M, 8Gb DDR3, Geforce GT 640M). The game was flawless on my desktop and horrendous on my laptop so I managed to experience both sides of the same coin. 

Disgaea PC is essentially a port of the version which was originally released on PSP. This means that the ‘Etna Mode’ – an alternate version of the game where Etna accidentally kills Laharl whilst trying to wake him up is available, however Plenair from the DS version of the game is not included. 

Interestingly enough, it is possible to play the whole game with a mouse as long as you have a fairly dextrous and precise hand. Playing with a keyboard is fine but it feels slightly awkward. I’d recommend playing with a controller if you have one – if you’ve ever played the Playstation versions of Disgaea then this works in exactly the same manner - queue nostalgic breeze.

If you’ve never played Disgaea before and don’t mind giving it another whirl and you’re lucky enough to have a PC that runs it without any issues then this is worth a go but if you played Disgaea the first time around and enjoyed it enough then I probably wouldn’t bother. It is the same deep grid-based strategy game that it has always been, complete with likeable characters, amusing banter and gazillions of levels to be gained.  

Story mode is really only a small portion of the game, the bulk is found in the Item World (A dungeon world within items), with its randomly generated levels and the addiction of the seemingly never ending levelling process – you can level up anything, if it is counted as an item in the game, no matter how obscure or weak it starts off, you can level it up so that it becomes fantastically powerful and capable of trouncing all those who stand in its way. 

The game does involve some grinding but it really depends on how you play – if you are strategic about it then it won’t involve much grinding to clear the main story. After that, it really is a mad loop of levelling up, gaining new skills and transmigrating characters – this is essentially a reincarnation process where they start at level 1 again but have better stats and keep some of their skills from their previous incarnations. 

Mana is gained each time you slay an enemy on the battlefield, this can then be used to create even more powerful characters and to petition senators within the Dark Assembly to do things such as approving new classes, levelling up enemies along with the weapons and armour available to buy in the shops, extortion is even possible – although you’ll have to be quite strong in order to be able to pass that through as a law!

Each stage allows you to deploy 10 units to conquer and berate the enemy with, the best tactic as always is to start throwing your units around the map (as well as monsters into one another – they level up as you throw them and the experience multiplies exponentially. This is also useful when attempting to persuade senators in the Dark Assembly… simply throw them into one senator whilst making sure they still agree with you). This can be awkward to line up correctly sometimes but when it pays off it really is a great feeling. 

I played Disgaea a long time ago, back on the PS2 originally (I’ve never played the PSP or DS ports) and I had hoped that this would be a fresh re-invigorating lease of life for this title considering how the gameplay hasn’t really aged at all but alas it wasn’t to be at this point in time. 

Ultimately, Disgaea PC is a sold tactical RPG mired by a terrible port. 

Second Opinion by Gareth
While I agree with most of what Natalie says here I think she is being somewhat harsh. The game still runs along nicely enough to overlook the rough edges and even now the humour and level of depth available are not easily found elsewhere. That said I didn’t have half as many issues as Natalie did with actually running the game. It may not be as polished as the more recent Disgaea games and there is a lack of options but it’s still very enjoyable and quite unique compared to the mass of PC strategy games out there

Natalie’s Score 6/10 (would easily be an 8/10 if the port were not so bad)
Gareth’s Score – 8/10

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