Disgaea 1 remaster review11/10/2018
Disgaea 1 Complete is the high definition version of the original Disgaea game released in 2003 on the PlayStation 2. The game became a heavy influence in the developer’s future projects and can be easily seen throughout with several concepts from it being in other games. Even the penguin characters, Prinnies, became the developer’s mascot. So Disgaea is quite an important game for the developer and with this addition to the series, we can see the start of what would become a flagship series and inspiration to future projects.
The story is about King Krichevskoy passing away and demons of the Netherworld stepping up to claim the throne for themselves. Prince Laharl is awoken from his nap and sets forth to let everyone know that he’s the rightful heir to the throne and no one is stronger than him. To do so, he will need to take down some of the Netherworld’s biggest baddies and will do so with the help of his scheming assistant, Etna.
There are a lot of mechanics at work. The game is a strategy role-playing game where you have grid maps that you move your characters around and attack the enemies. Each map has different features that will test the players to examine the best way to take advantage of the battle. On several maps are geo symbols that cause different pros and cons for everyone, if they are standing on the colour-coordinated panel. Panels can be anything from 20% recovery, Enemy Boost x3, Invincibility, etc. They affect both, the player and the enemies, so a well thought out plan will make battles favour the player.
Your roster of characters starts small with Laharl, Etna, and her penguin crew. By defeating enemies, you acquire mana which can be used to purchase additional characters from humanoids to monsters. All have their own features and skill sets based on their class but also by the gear they equip. There are so many things to look at while prepping a team fitting for the player. If someone wants to have mages with swords and learning sword skills they are more than welcome to.
The stats and grinds are what makes Disgaea 1 Complete and the other Disgaea games so interesting. A character can level up different traits based on usage. By using an ice skill over and over, it improves by having more reach, damage, and area of effect. By grinding a character frequently, they’ll be able to have a large amount of versatility. Further increasing stats and bonuses for each character comes from the gear they can equip that on the surface level, increases core stats. Past that is the residents within each piece of gear as well as being able to level up the gear pieces themselves.
Aside from the campaign maps that progress story, there is the Item World. In the Item World, you progress through 10 maps at a time, with a difficulty set by the item itself. By clearing these maps, the item gains a level and increase capabilities. There are the residents within the gear that can be subdued and by doing so, they can be combined or swapped with other residents in other gear. The residents can give many additional boosts and by increasing the combined residents, the boosts increase more and more. There’s a lot going on with stats that keep players grinding for hours, just to have an amped up sword that gives additional perks.
Disgaea 1 Complete looks great on PlayStation 4, but it still plays like the original with none of the perks of the newer games in the series. In the other games, you can access a cheat shop that felt great in that you can adjust that you want more money from battles instead of exp. Starting new characters in Disgaea 1 Complete leads to very long grinds as the payout for exp and money don’t feel very rewarding. It’s not till later chapters when you can work around tricks to get new characters levelled but till then, you’re left to grind maps that give you 100-300 for money and a new sword costs 2000 with the hospital healing costing 200-400.
In the end though, Disgaea 1 Complete is great for fans of the series that have been wanting to replay the original. There is a lot of charm to the cast and the grinds can be calming to do as you watch your team become better and better. On the other hand, there is so much grinding just to get a team up to par with each campaign map that it can push away players. Some new features should have been added to give it more zing for older players. Regardless, it was a great revisit to the Netherworld to remember how the series started and where it is now with Disgaea 5.