Despite being a staple of anime games for the past two decades, Disgaea is a bit of an intimidating series. One look at gameplay reveals long, complicated menus, huge numbers and tons of information. Disagea 6, however, brings a number of new concepts to the series, making it much more accessible to newcomers without alienating longtime fans.
Come for the Gameplay, Stay for the Characters
While Disgaea 6 has some fantastic Strategy RPG gameplay, its characters are what make it stick out from the crowd. Sure, you might be able to get a fantastic grid-based strategy experience from any number of games, but you’ll have a hard time finding characters that stick with you as much as those from Disgaea 6.
Disgaea 6 follows Zed the zombie on his journey to defeat the most powerful God of Destruction to have ever lived. Though he has faced death thousands of times, a “Super Reincarnation” spell allows him to continually revive, growing stronger each time. As he revives in new worlds each time to face the God of Destruction, he meets a cast of colourful characters that join him on his journey.
Chances are you won’t walk away from Disgaea 6 particularly blown away by the narrative, but that’s okay. The actual story itself isn’t what will keep you glued to the screen during every piece of dialogue; it’s the game’s main cast. Each character is wonderfully quirky and hilarious in their own way. Thanks to impeccable character designs from Takehito Harada, fantastic writing and amazing voice acting, Disgaea 6’s cast will likely be on your mind long after putting the game down.
Approachable, Yet Deep Gameplay
Disgaea 6 brings many changes to the series. It is the first game in the series the feature fully 3D character models, introduces an “autoplay” mode, and tweaks many parts of gameplay that fans have long become accustomed to.
For instance, levels reach much higher than they ever have before, character deaths hold much less weight as you no longer need to heal or revive them at hospitals, and experience is rewarded all at once at the end of each level. No change is big enough that it alters how gameplay really works, but they are notable and may put off some longtime fans.
Many of these changes and additions are for the benefit of those who might be new to the Disgaea franchise, however. Character deaths having less weight might put off hardcore players, but for more casual players looking for an entry point to the series, it’s a blessing. The game’s tutorials and a slow drip of new features ease players into the game’s complex systems, making it easy to sink hours into character stats trying to craft, as the game puts it, the “ultimate character.”
It doesn’t take very long to see that Disgaea 6 is lacking in a few key places. While the new 3D character models look great, the transition into a new dimension might be a little too taxing for the series, particularly on Nintendo's hybrid machine.
The game starts with an abysmal framerate that is only fixed by switching into “performance” mode, which makes character models blurry and hard to look at. The game isn’t doesn’t appear to be doing much to tax the Switch’s hardware, so issues such as this appear to come from a lack of polish, ultimately holding Disgaea 6 back from greatness.
Disgaea 6 gets as deep as you want it to be, rewarding those that stick with its complex systems, but allowing those looking to experience its story to get through the game relatively easily. The game is by no means perfect, with rocky framerates and many unimpressive cutscenes making a lack of polish evident. Loveable characters and an addicting gameplay loop, however, make Disgaea 6 perfect for newcomers and longtime fans alike.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by the publisher