Disgaea 5 Complete Review — Tactical RPG on the Go

Disgaea 5 Complete for Nintendo Switch brings life to those who have been waiting for a deep tactical RPG on their new Nintendo console.

on May 16, 2017 1:17 PM

The Disgaea series seems to continuously impress me with each release. I can’t ever seem to get enough of its over-the-top strategy RPG gameplay with some of the greatest and most recognizable characters in gaming: yes, I’m referring to Prinny. When Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance launched on the PlayStation 4 in 2015, I was beyond impressed with the direction the series took thanks to more powerful hardware and its cool characters.

With that said, I was a bit hesitant when NISA announced Disgaea 5 Complete for the Nintendo Switch. The release would feature the complete base game, while also adding all of the DLC that was available for purchase on the PlayStation 4. Perhaps I did feel a bit slighted because I originally purchased all of the DLC separately, but the Switch version presented something that the PlayStation 4 version couldn’t do: portability.

Disgaea 5 Complete introduces players to a new character in the series, Killia. This skilled fighter dares to cross swords with the emperor Void Dark, a rather silly name for a powerful enemy slowly taking over the Netherworld. With every town that Void Dark absorbs, more soldiers are added to his army called The Lost. There is a rather deep story of love, revenge, and jealousy that fuel these two character’s need to preserver, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for those who are making this their first trip into the Netherworld.

Killia is described as one of the strongest demons in the Netherworld. He is a lone warrior-type who enjoys fighting on his own and not relying on others for help. His characteristics are unique for being a protagonist for such an over-the-top game, but I think it works and brings a good amount of seriousness to the story in Disgaea 5.

Disgaea 5 Complete Review -- Tactical RPG on the Go

Over time, Killia will be forced to team up with many other Overlords in the hopes of taking down Void Dark, who is making their lives miserable. For instance, one of the characters (named Usalia) is cursed to eat curry, even though she hates it, or else she will turn into a monster.

Each Overlord that joins the party has their own personal reasons for being there and sticking around: this includes their own motives to seek revenge on Void Dark and bring him down. Each of the five Overlords that you’ll encounter have their own personalities and bring a bit of charm to the party. This is unfortunate for someone like Killia whose performance tends to be overshadowed by the rest of the cast.

Disgaea 5 Complete Review -- Tactical RPG on the Go

The gameplay in battle resembles classic tactical RPGs from the past, such as Final Fantasy Tactics. Players choose units to place on the battlefield and take actions to position them into victory. This style of gameplay seems to work well for the haphazard nature of Disgaea 5‘s story because it’s rare that you’ll ever approach two battles in the same way.

This battle system allows you to take skills that you earn while leveling up and knowledge from past encounters and apply them moving forward. However, this does come with a sort of trial-and-error style of play attached to it because not all of the ideas in your head may go as planned on the field.

Disgaea 5 Complete Review -- Tactical RPG on the Go

This is where Disgaea 5 shines as a tactical RPG; there’s rarely an instance where you want to take things slowly and approach with caution, such as you would with other series. The game demands quick movements and powerful attacks to take down loads of enemies around, while at the same time making some mistakes and getting wrecked.

In addition to normal attacks, each overlord has a unique special attack that they can charge up and use in battle. These specials all reflect the character’s personality and are usually pretty entertaining, such as Seraphina’s ability to make male characters fall in love with her and become her slaves. There’s also a “Revenge” system, which makes the characters’ skills cost one point and kicks in when a character’s health is low.

Disgaea 5 Complete Review -- Tactical RPG on the Go

Disgaea 5 Complete is not going to be a walk in the park. The game does well to improve the class system seen in previous entries to make it a bit easier for the player to reach the more advanced classes, but that’s not to say this game is without grinding. After about ten hours of playing, the game gets rather difficult and requires you to spend some time on your party’s stats.

To make this easier, there are Character and Item worlds that players will be able to explore. These dungeons are no joke: they can reach hundreds of levels and become rather difficult, but if you stick through them long enough, the rewards are rather useful (aside from gaining tons of experience).

Disgaea 5 Complete Review -- Tactical RPG on the Go

Yes, like previous entries in the series it’s possible to sink hundreds of hours into Disgaea 5 and still be left with things to do. With this being the “Complete” version of the game, some of the DLC included could end up making the game easier in some parts.

Although the DLC can be accessed manually, it’s best to try and only use it if you really need it. Accessing some of the free money and improved classes early made the game a little too easy for me in some parts, but it’s up to you to decide how you wish to play through the game.

Disgaea 5 Complete Review -- Tactical RPG on the Go

Simply put, Disgaea 5 Complete on the Nintendo Switch looks great. In either mode, Docked or Handheld, the game’s graphics looked detailed and sharp. I was expecting a dip in frame rate while executing some of the more hardware demanding attacks, but even in handheld mode the Switch proved me wrong.

Disgaea 5 Complete is an awesome addition to the Nintendo Switch line-up of games. Taking this time-intensive tactical RPG on the go with me was an enjoyably experience; I am not always at home and willing to spend 80 hours on my couch playing a game. The game’s premise feels like a soap opera at times, but it adds to the enjoyment when acted out by these silly characters. My only word of advice is to bring your Switch charger with you, because you’re going to need it.

 /  Staff Writer
Azario Lopez has held multiple positions in the game's media industry. At DualShockers he focuses on providing coverage for niche and indie video games in the form of news updates, reviews, and interviews.