Disgaea is a franchise that always feels most at home on a portable system. Granted, nothing can beat playing your 100-hour adventure in a comfy couch on a big TV, but the sheer length of these titles made them perfect on the go. The Switch version brings the best of both worlds. And while it is not flawless, it is nevertheless a must buy for any owner of the system.
With the Vita dying a slow and painful death, the future of the Disgaea series on the go was uncertain. Disgaea 5 Complete is the Nintendo Switch port of 2015’s PlayStation 4 release. This however isn’t Disagaea’s first outing on Nintendo hardware. The first Disgaea title, aptly named Disagaea DS, hit store shelves in 2008, but it’s been almost 9 years since then.
Taking place in a demon filled netherworld, the story follows Killia a demon seeking revenge on Demon Emperor Void Dark. But he isn’t the only one who has been wronged by the silly named demon lord. Killia reluctantly joins the Seraphina an egocentric overlord who has every man wrapped around her little finger. The duo is accompanied by the red magus, a thickheaded overlord who believes strength is everything, Usalia, a girl who rides a giant prinny and is cursed to have to eat curry, and many more quirky characters.
As the name suggests Disgaea 5 Complete features all the DLC packs from the PlayStation 4 release adding a few more hours of gameplay to the already ridiculously long playtime. These mostly come in the form brief 3 mission side stories, that are over before they begin. As you complete these episodes you will unlock various characters from past Disgaea games as well as some other Nippon Ichi Software titles.
Disgaea still remains one of the best SRPGs on the market. Despite being turn-based, Disgaea 5 makes everything as fluid as possible. You can easily undo any moves you do, and once you are fully satisfied you can hit the Execute option which plays out everything you ordered.
While level grinding is a must, it is never frustrating nor repetitive as you might expect. Cheating the system is the name of the game here. You’ll want to purposefully level up enemies and gang up on them in order to gain more experience. Leveling up a dozens of levels at once is not uncommon once you get the hang of things, with the cap being the mythical level 9999.
There is so much to do from completing optional side quests, to creating new party members, to entering each and every item or character and completing countless randomly generated floors in order to upgrade them. You can send your idle allies to explore various parts of the netherworld or have them join squads in order to gain useful buffs.
If all this sounds overwhelming don’t worry, Disgaea 5 Complete does exceptionally well at easing newcomers into its deep and rich battle system. It never feels overwhelming. And like in other Nippon Ichi Games, you are never forced to use even half of what the game has to offer in order to progress.
Despite what we expected, the game somehow looks worse than its PlayStation 4 counterpart. While in portable mode the game runs nicely at the Switch’s native resolution of 1280×720, however when docked the resolution remains at 720p, making for a slightly muddy image. If you are planning to exclusively play this on the go, this won’t be an issue, but it’s just a shame NIS didn’t go the extra step to give this the super crispy look that the PlayStation 4 version had. It’s not a gigantic issue, but it definitely makes for a worse looking game.
With that said the game looks as charming as ever, and the amazing 2D design still remains some of the best out there. The high-res sprites look exceptionally expressive and the animations still have me enjoying the same over-the-top special moves no matter how many times I see them.
Disgaea 5 Complete offers the best of both worlds. The convenience of playing it both at the comfort of a large HDTV and bringing it on the go mean that this is one adventure you won’t ever have to put down. If you already played the hell out of Disgaea 5 on the PlayStation 4 and bought the accompanying DLC missions, there isn’t much new here to keep you entertained, but if you want to dip your feet for the first time in this rich and crazy series, Disgaea 5 Complete will keep you glued to the screen for a very long time.