|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: NIS||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 25, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Absence of Justice boasts more than 60 different classes, and there's a real sense of character progression that makes developing your different characters quite rewarding. Each class has "ranks," and by mastering one rank, you'll be able to move up to the next and become even more powerful. As you progress through the ranks, you'll then gain access to new skills. The character progression feels smooth and intuitive and, overall, works quite well.
The battles themselves are a fun mix of strategy as well as implementing any abilities that your characters have mastered. Strategy isn't a huge focus of the game, particularly if you've done a lot of level-grinding, but even so, the strategy and role-playing elements are fairly well-balanced. The maps are also quite large, which is an improvement over those of the last games. And finally, the pacing of Disgaea 3 is well-done. In many SRPGs, all the characters on the battlefield will move according to their speed, so you can have enemy and ally units taking turns moving. In Absence of Justice, all the units on a side move at the same time, which speeds up battles and makes fighting them less tedious.
As I previously touched on briefly, Disgaea 3 has an insane amount of replay value. Once you've cleared the main quest, there's still a lot to do. Characters from past games make an appearance, and a plethora of new maps are opened up to you. It's not out of the question to spend several hundred hours with this game if you're a real SRPG junkie; even if you're not, it'll take quite a chunk of time just completing the story.
One of Disgaea 3's few faults is the visual approach the game takes. It looks very similar to the past PS2 games, which is fairly disappointing considering the graphical capabilities of the PS3. That's not to say the game looks bad, because it doesn't. But despite being truly in 3D, you can't help but feel that this game could have been done just as easily on the PS2 or PSP. It doesn't really take anything away from the game because the gameplay is so well-done, but it is a minor let-down.
The only other complaint I really have with Disgaea 3 is one that's been a problem throughout the entire series; there's a lack of real guidance. If you've played a lot of SRPGs, you shouldn't have much trouble figuring out the many intricacies of the game. But if you're new to the genre, you're going to have a lot of trouble muddling your way through the overwhelming game set-up.
Setting aside a couple near-negligible issues, Disgaea 3: Absence of Darkness is definitely one of the best SRPGs on the market. It holds its own with its predecessors and brings new content to the table, while keeping intact past items that have made the series so popular. Thanks to its rather steep learning curve, you'd best look elsewhere if you're new to this genre. On the other hand, if you're a fan of SRPGs or of Disgaea, this is a must-buy.
CCC Freelance Writer