Prinny’s Pudding Panic!
When I first started playing Disgaea: Infinite, I was expecting typical Disgaea fare: a turn based JRPG with an over-the-top story and plenty of hilarious Prinny antics. However, though the game delivered on the last two elements, the JRPG elements were completely removed. In fact, almost 99% of all of the gameplay elements have been removed from Disgaea Infinite, and calling this title a “game” is almost misleading.
Though there are some areas where you can press a button to make a decision, this title is formatted more like a “choose your own adventure”-style visual novel then a real game. If you are a huge fan of the Disgaea universe, and relish the goofy plot lines that have become the series’ hallmark, then there is some enjoyment to be had from this title. However, if you like the RPG elements of the game or any type of combat, then you may as well stop reading now, as Disgaea Infinite is not the game for you, and will probably bore you to tears.
The basic premise of the game revolves around a Prinny who, like all of Prinny-kind, laments his lot in the afterlife, dood. However, things get interesting for this Prinny when he uncovers a plot by the prince to steal some limited edition pudding that resembles an explosive device. Through some ridiculous hi-jinks (including an insane Blu-Ray playing robot who just happens to be upgrading and a Hero tasked with cleaning a room with a mountain of dirty underwear) the pudding and the explosive device are mixed up and the prince is blown up. Although he doesn’t perish (this is the afterlife, after all), he is led to believe that the Prinnies are responsible for the “assassination attempt” and threatens to punish them with the fabled 108th punishment: a reverse paycheck! Oh, the horror!
Fortunately, before this fate befalls your hapless Prinny, he finds a time travelling device that allows his spirit to travel back to the beginning of the day and “posses” the characters to uncover the truth behind the explosion incident. With this device, Prinny can also perform mind control during certain situations and change the actions that lead up to the exploding pudding incident.
Although the mind-control aspect of the game can be interesting, it only occurs a handful of times, and most of the time you are just scrolling through text. Much of the game feels like a very long cutscene, and because you keep going back in time to the same day, you will be re-watching the same dialogueue over and over (although you can change who is experiencing the dialogueue using the “possess” feature.) Although the game gets repetitive fast, if you vary your possessions often and always opt for different mind control possibilities you will see some new dialogue, but you’ll still have to slog through miles of repetitious old dialogue to get to these points.
Another issue with this game is its length. You can complete the game’s “standard” ending in less than an hour, and some of the other endings take even less time to complete. This becomes an especially large issue if you use the game’s time chart to keep track of relationships, unlocking the game’s 13 endings is not terribly difficult and will only take a few hours.
The only thing that really mitigates the game’s repetitious and short elements is the fact that it is in the “budget” category. The game’s $19.99 MSRP makes it a great choice for fans of the Disgaea series, especially those who want to see returning characters in a non-serious setting. I must stress again, however, that if you are expecting an experience like other Disgaea games, you should steer clear of this one, despite the budget price.
In the technical department, Disgaea: Infitine is fairly standard. The game’s visuals consist of short cel animations during dialogue, and small sprite-based animations for action sequences. Although the graphics are far removed from the best we’ve ever seen on the PSP (the lack of any CG-animated cutscenes was regrettable) they work well enough considering this title’s “visual novel” format.
The sound in this game is excellent, and the voice actors from previous Disgaea games reprise their roles without missing a beat. The voiceover is also very extensive, and you won’t have to worry about reading text in silence, as the game has been fully voiced. The music is also very good and there is considerable variation over the game’s short length.
Despite its unconventional nature, I must say that I truly enjoyed Disgaea: Infinite. It’s a great little diversion and includes quite a bit of fanservice for longtime Disgaea fans. If you have affection for the Disgaea series, this title is definitely worth your twenty bucks. And if you don’t mind repetition, you can play through the game up to thirteen times to experience all of the story elements and endings. As long as you don’t expect an epic RPG experience, and don’t mind its interactive story format you won’t be disappointed with Disgaea: Infinite and will probably get a laugh or two out of this title.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.6 Graphics
Simple, repetitive, single-character animations make up the backbone of Disgaea: Infinite’s visual style. 2.9 Control
Single button presses to advance dialogue and make decisions are simple and easy to use. 3.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music is enjoyable and voice over is very well done. 3.1 Play Value
Although each playthrough will only take an hour or so, if you want to experience all of the different paths as well as the game’s 13 endings, you will need a good six hours or so. Just be prepared for a lot of repetition. 3.0 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.