|System: PS Vita|
|Dev: Nippon Ichi Software|
|Release: August 12, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 544p||Animated Blood, Drug Reference, Fantasy Violence, Language, Suggestive Themes|
Unlocking Cam-Pain HQ advancements, along with a variety of other gameplay options, involves successfully holding a vote in the demonic Senate. This requires playing dirty politics, lying, bribing, and when all else fails, beating up senators in order to get them on your side. Though similar systems have existed throughout the series, the political theme of this game makes the Senate particularly appropriate here. The Senate can be tricky, but clever players will discover plenty of ways to work the system. All these systems are tailor-made for players who love to juggle numbers and dig into complex RPG systems, and they're solid, have a strong purpose, and are balanced well.
In a nutshell, Disgaea 4 is an excellent turn-based strategy RPG with a ton of depth, a strong humorous element, and a good story. This Vita version adds even more of those three elements to the game, while also providing some quality of life improvements that will be appreciated by Disgaea mega-fans. The two most notable additions to the game are a new Time Leap scenario that delves into the game's backstory and the addition of all the DLC from the original PlayStation 3 game. This gives players a bunch of new characters to use and levels to complete, although I was disappointed that most of the additional content focused more on Fuka and Desco than Valvatorez and Fenrich. Various minor improvements like an extra tier of spells, the ability to bribe the senate with money instead of items, and skill tweaks will mostly be noticed by hardcore players, but everybody can appreciate the new ability to quickly exit from a battle and either retry it or return to base.
Disgaea 4's colorful world looks great on the PlayStation Vita's screen, especially the game's crisp character sprites. Everything looks extra smooth on the smaller HD screen, and all the text remains easy to read. The lack of a free camera or an overhead view of battle can be problematic in some levels, especially on the crowded fields in the Item World, but that's the only disadvantage to playing the game on a handheld.
As usual, the game's score is fantastic and perfectly suited to its humorous content. Several vocal tracks stand out in particular, managing to convey humor even if you can't understand the Japanese lyrics because the game's composers have managed to perfectly blend the trademark Disgaea musical style with the kind of artificially stirring composition found in political propaganda music. Headphones make for the best listening experience, but the game sounds rather good even through the Vita's speakers. Voice acted lines occasionally drop off drastically in volume, but otherwise the sound quality is better than normal for a Vita game.
If you've never played Disgaea 4, this is the best version to get thanks to its extra content and quality of life tweaks. If you played the original, your purchase decision entirely depends on how much you love Disgaea. I don't feel like the additions to the game are compelling enough to draw in casual fans who have already completed the game, especially since the lack of a cross-save feature means you'll have to start over from square one. If you're one of the Disgaea hardcore, however, you'll love exploiting the game's new systems, recruiting all the cameo characters that were formerly paid DLC, and playing through the new scenario.
Thanks to the strongest story since the original Disgaea, a battle system that is easy to pick up but has plenty of complexity, and the crazy amount of fun extra activities that can extend playtime, Disgaea 4 is a must-have turn-based strategy RPG. This Vita version is highly recommended for its portability and extra content. Playing politics in the Netherworld is a dirty and violent game, and genre fans will enjoy every minute of it.
Date: August 21, 2014