Rejoice Demons, Angels, and humans! A brand new Disgaea is on the horizon as the latest title from Nippon Ichi Software will be available on June 29th. Before we dive in and take a look, I’ll admit to my experience with the series being a decade old and will also warn players of potential spoilers for previous titles going in, Last chance to turn back dOOds and dOOdettes.
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny sees you follow the story of Zed, a zombie who came into a position of power almost as limitless as his willpower and desire to win, as he constantly tries to take down the God of Destruction. This is a being of pure carnage, that as his namesake Implies, aims to destroy everything. Each stop on his rampage, Zed and his party encounter this god and attempt to defeat it.
The story plays out as Zed tells the Overlords of his adventures and encounters with the Destroyer, of how he fell in battle time and time again, only to super reincarnate and fall again. Just how will our plucky young anti-hero stand against such terrifying destructive power, and will ranger Zed finally succeed in toppling a god?
The characters are that special Disagea breed of character where they perfectly follow an anime cliche but go so over the top they are frankly endearing. Much like Laharl in Disgaea 1 you may not like Zed at first but by the time the curtains close on the main narrative you’ll gladly accept him as another quality protagonist for the series.
I rather enjoyed the story, it has a mix of seriousness with sprinklings of humour, and the visual novel style storytelling doesn’t get too bogged down that you will lose interest if your itching for the next fight. It remains very much like the previous Disgaea titles I have played, so was very easy to fall into both in terms of the story and gameplay loop.
As mentioned above the game utilizes a visual novel art style for most of its dialog, the 2d character design is great for an anime lover such as myself and many of our readers. This is a tried and true method within the genre and when you have interesting character designs like those of the Disgaea series, the fans are sure to enjoy it with little to no complaint.
The rest of the title isn’t to be sniffed at either, be it in the world design or the animations for the special attacks, it all fits the expectations I have for the series. Despite skipping one or two titles in the franchise, I could have easily guessed the title purely on the gameplay and artwork.
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny is also the series first foray into 3D character models, these can range from just as good as hand-drawn sprites to awkwardly animated and off-looking. At its finest the game easily rivals CGI anime of late and could even stand toe to toe with the recently Guilty Gear -Strive-’s story mode, this isn’t consistent though, and sadly makes the areas where less attention was paid stick out like a freshly hammered Tom and Jerry thumb.
Sadly this all comes at the expense of performance and this game knows it, you’re presented with Graphics and a Performance mode that focuses on each side respectively. While I tried the game in both modes at various points, the changes weren’t enough to swing to either side of the bridge on them and the inconsistent frame rate and graphics just became part and parcel with the experience.
Sound is another area the title remains reminiscent of the past entries, again if I went into this blind I could have easily guessed what I was hearing. One thing I always look out for in these titles is voice acting and Disgaea delivers with each of the character’s tones and attitudes matching the personality on display in the dialog.
The gameplay loop sees you sitting through some story progression in the form of a few bits of dialog and then a battle in-between. There are several additional things to be done from quests to obtain rewards, to using cheats to modify exp, gold, mana, etc.
The item world also makes an appearance, as well as the dark assembly. Anyone with experience with the series should feel right at home, while new players may become a little lost at first – however, each of the systems doesn’t have a large learning curve so even newcomers should get to grips with things pretty quick.
I also found the explanations and tutorials for each of these areas prepared me for utilizing them to their fullest. There’s a lot to be sure, even just looking at the side quests, however, I never felt too overwhelmed and progressed each section at my own pace.
Battles are the second key part of what makes up Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny, with fights against your units and those driven mad by the god of destruction, or even money-hungry goons, taking place in isometric battle ground. Here you direct your units to take down foes with a variety of skills and abilities, as well as some strategy.
I found this to be the most alluring part of the game loop, enjoying finding ways to increase my bonus rank and overcome challenges each world provided.
Overall I have enjoyed my return to the series and have already voiced my desire to replay the whole series to my fellow writers. Fans of the Disgaea games will easily enjoy this next installment, as it ticks each of the boxes of its genre while providing its signature blend of goofy fun.
As good an example of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” as you’re ever likely to find on the market.