Disgaea Series: What You Need To Know
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
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In a surprising reveal during the latest Nintendo Direct Mini, Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny was announced to be coming to Switch in the West next summer. In addition, Nintendo Switch Online is offering a trial period for their most recent title, Disgaea 5, from September 23rd until September 29th where the entire game is free-to-play. Debuting in 2003, the Disgaea series has been going surprisingly strong considering how small the fanbase appears to be. Over the years, the games have slowly trickled onto numerous platforms, making it much easier for fans and newcomers alike to enjoy the oddball strategy RPG series.
What exactly is Disgaea, though? Is it just a weird anime tactics game with strange looking characters? Why do I scream about this series so much on my Twitter? This quick overview of the Disgaea series may help you better understand why I am so passionate for it, and may even get you excited for the upcoming release, as well!
History of Disgaea
The Disgaea series was created back in 2003 by Nippon Ichi and has grown to be one of the company’s most well known series to date. The tactical/strategy RPG franchise operates similarly to Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics, and, like those series, has its own quirks that it’s known primarily for. While Fire Emblem has come to be associated with its romancing options over the past few years, and Final Fantasy Tactics for its story and world building, Disgaea is known for its post game grind and big numbers. I mean, what series do you know where you can reach level 9,999? Well, I guess I should say level 99,999,999 when Disgaea 6 comes out.
The series is also known for its distinct chibi art style by Takehito Harada, and its wacky soundtrack by Tenpai Sato, both of which have been constants in the series since its inception. Of course, we can’t forget Sohei Niikawa, the president of Nippon Ichi and creator of the Disgaea series.
What Exactly is Disgaea?
I would say that Disgaea is a tactics game where you get what you put into it. Do you want to coast through the main story without really having to dig too deep into the mechanics of the game? You can do that. Do you want to learn the game from top to bottom, grind to the highest level possible and achieve some sick numbers? That’s also possible. Whatever game experience you are looking to have, Disgaea can accommodate that pretty well.
However, while I still say the gameplay for Disgaea is it’s strongest point, its story is where it can fall flat for many people. Especially with the newer releases, the game has leaned more towards embracing a lot of anime tropes. Disgaea is no Final Fantasy Tactics, and you should not come into this series expecting something of the sort. Regardless, it is still fun in its storytelling and game play, which I think is something that some tactics games forget, at times.
What about the actual gameplay? Are there any special quirks before outrageously high numbers? Yes! You have the Item World, where you select an equipable item and complete levels in order to increase its stats. You have the Assembly, where you can petition for new features in your game against a Parliament of monsters (which may not always work, so you’ll have to bring in some dirty tactics). In battle, you have different types of attacks, such as Team Attack, Tower Attack, special abilities that convert monsters into equipable weapons (called Magichange), and so much more. We’d be here all day if I were to describe all the gameplay nuances the series has to offer, but this sample size should give you an idea of just how unique it is.
Do you need to play the earlier Disgaea games to understand the later ones? Thankfully, no! The games currently available on the Switch are all standalone titles, which means that if you just had an interest in checking out the series, starting with the most recent title is perfectly fine (and recommended).
The Future of Disgaea and Hopes for Disgaea: Defiance of Destiny
With the release of the new trailer, some interesting tidbits were shown, specifically that for the first time in the main series line of games, the characters are in 3D. With how long the series has been out, I am surprised that it took this long for the game to finally switch over to using 3D models. Although I will miss the 2D art for the characters, I do like what I see in the upcoming release. However, I am curious how they’ll look in action once the game is out and whether the craziness of moves will translate well from 2D to 3D.
Another interesting tidbit was seeing Laharl – a recurring main character – in the trailer. More than likely, he’ll be DLC like he was back in Disgaea 5. If he’s not, and Nippon Ichi has taken to giving a nod to older characters, I can’t wait to see how they’ll tie it all together. There has also been some more information related to making the game more accessible. Based on the official Disgaea website, they’re going to be adding more features to this game, such as an auto feature and Super Reincarnation, which will allow players to rejoin the fight and continue playing until you beat the level. You know, because the main character is a zombie.
I am beyond excited for next summer when the game drops in the West – what about you guys? What are your feelings towards the Disgaea series and the announcement of Disgaea 6? Will you be checking out any of the older titles before the release of the new one?