A tale of revenge and rebellion.
When I walked up to the NIS America booth at E3 2015 this year, I immediately knew I had to check out Disgaea 5 . I have spent an uncountable number of hours on the Disgaea series in the past, and I wanted to see how this new entry would keep me hooked. As I walked up to the booth, I was asked whether or not I was familiar with Disgaea . When I said yes, I was asked how many hours I put into Disgaea 1 . After, rather embarrassingly, admitting my save file had over 200 hours on it, the booth representative told me, “expect this one to last you 500 hours.”
Well, there goes my productivity.
Disgaea 5 is sort of like a meta Disgaea . Each Disgaea game follows the story of one overlord in his travels through one netherworld. However, Disgaea 5 is more about the Disgaea multiverse. Several netherworlds have been destroyed, and it’s up to you and the other overlords of the remaining netherworlds to band together and stop the force that is destroying them. Expect a lot of cameos from other Nippon Ichi protagonists.
The core gameplay of Disgaea 5 is the same as any other Disgaea title. It’s a grid based tactical RPG where you assign a number of different commands to your units and then try to execute them all at once in order to perform combo and team-up attacks.
There are a couple improvements. For example, XP builds a bit faster overall in Disgaea 5 , reducing the focus on grinding ever so slightly.
You have always been able to throw characters in the Disgaea series, but to throw them diagonally you had to time your press while switching between throw directions. Now you can simply choose the space you want to throw your character to on a grid like any other ability.
A new revenge meter has been given to all characters which fills as you deal and take damage. When it is full, that character can either execute a super attack or go into a super mode that makes them far more powerful.
There are also new fusion attacks, tower attacks, and magic/special attacks to choose from. Enemy resistances are now prominently shown when you highlight them, making it less likely you are going to use a skill that will do nothing or even heal them. Certain characters can grow in size to become big units that take up multiple spaces (although I wasn’t able to be shown that). Not to mention there is a whole slew of new geo panel effects to deal with during battle.
In short, there is a ton of new content here.
But there is one piece of new content that I am most excited and terrified about. In past Disgaea s, you were able to go into character worlds in order to force your character’s stats to increase. In Disgaea 5 , character worlds all take form of a dice rolling board game. You roll the dice and your character advances, and a number of events happen depending on what space you land on. Many of these events can raise your stats, but several can lower your stats as well. If you make it to the end, you will get a choice of several star rewards to choose from, making your character even more powerful.
So yes, you can play a game within a game to make yourself more powerful in the first game. It’s gameception! The NIS booth rep said that there is easily 50 hours of gameplay in the character world alone. When you add to that item worlds, reincarnating characters, exploitable grinding points, and more, you’ll quickly find that there is no shortage of content, and that 500 hour gameplay mark is looking more and more plausible.
Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance is slated to hit North American PS4s this fall.