Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten User Review
Disgaea 4 is the first truly HD entry into the series. While the 3rd game, released on PS3 had HD text and character portraits, the sprites and levels themselves remained virtually similar to their PS2 predecessors. Now, I consider Disgaea 4 a slight departure from the norm the series has come to know. Disgaea games certainly aren't known for taking themselves seriously. The comedy you'll find in these games is rather abundant to say the least. However Disgaea 4 does maintain comedic aspects (especially through most of the beginning of the game). I felt as though the plot grew into something that actually seemed to matter in a far more serious tone. Some of the jokes were still thrown in here and there, but overall I actually grew attached to the characters and wanted them to succeed in their plight.
Moving on to the characters of the series, I found that I loved most of them. Each had unique and quirky attitudes and personalities. If I had to pick a favorite, Valvatorez stands out the most for sure. His unwillingness to give up on promises, his love for sardine fish, and his mysterious past that's continually brought up as him being feared once upon a time really intrigues and keeps a smile on your face. The only character I have to say should have been worked on a little better was Fuka. She just didn't stand out much in the sea of great casting. Her character was bland and average, almost annoying at times. Though she does in fact serve a good purpose during the game's story. You'll find most of the cast of monsters have returned from previous entries, all rendered in lovely HD. Though there are a few missing which I was sad about, it doesn't affect my opinion on the game and how amazing it is.
The combat is just as it's been in previous entries as well, save for a few features. One which had been taken out, I did regret the loss of was the always entertaining double special attacks. In which you'd combine two specials at once. This is one thing I really did miss from Disgaea 3, as it was fun to try and experiment with different moves to see how it would turn out. You have your standard team attacks, where allies positioned near you have the chance to team up in your regular attack, making something grand depending on how many are joining in. You'll go from simple two people attacks which will do things like spin the enemy into the ground like a drill. All the way up to a four person special which can go into scenes where you'll be charging the enemy across grassy plains and through mountains (endlessly hilarious I might add). Just about everything has an upgrade-able factor, if you've ever played a Disgaea game, you'll know what I mean. You can level up your characters, weapons, armor, accessories, special attacks, etc.
The main draw of this series is the amount of time that can be spent putting into it. I myself have around 150 hours in my save file, and I still have quite a lot to do. Beating the game will take you somewhere around 50 hours I'd say, assuming you're leveling a good bit. With a game like Disgaea 4, it can be a bit daunting when you're talking leveling characters up to 9999. Then there's the fact that you can reincarnate characters to start back at level 1, allowing you to build them back up even stronger than before. You'd be right in assuming this takes a lot of time if you want to actually get into the post-game content. Once you defeat the final boss, you unlock extra chapters and get to fight characters from past entries into the series, which in turn allows you to add them into your party. This presents great nostalgia among series veterans, and will add extra goodies for you to work towards after defeating the end boss. You will spend a lot of time in Disgaea grinding, however if you're one of those people who even hates the mention of the word "grinding" I assure you, it's very bearable in Disgaea. You are allowed to make combat super fast, even skipping enemy animations in order to fly through levels over and over, racking up EXP for your allies. If you're smart about it, and know where to go, you'll find yourself gaining anywhere from 5-100 levels per round for characters, which is definitely a good feeling. There are also limitless dungeons in the "item world", you can choose literally any item (weapon, armor, accessory) you obtain from shops or levels and go inside of it. Depending on how powerful the item is, makes the monsters stronger or weaker. The further you go into the item, the stronger the monsters get as well as the stronger the item becomes. This is an excellent way to gain EXP and better equipment once you've reached the top tier of weaponry.
Disgaea 4 is an absolutely brilliant game, and shouldn't be missed by anyone even taking a passing glance at the game. For series veterans, it's a must buy. While I implore anyone out there who hasn't, to at least give it a try. I do have to say the game has its faults however, which excludes it from getting the absolute best recommendation. My main issue, is that there's simply so much later in the game after the final boss, it's a daunting task trying to even make it into the post-game area known as the "Land of Carnage". In order to get to this place, you have to basically get lucky. I don't want to go into details and spoil anything, but you'll find yourself wishing you could just get there without all the fuss. Even then, having reincarnated my Valvatorez about nine times to level 9999. He's still much too weak to contend. If nothing else, know that there is an extraordinary experience waiting to be had, and the lengthy campaign will keep you glued to the TV until its epic conclusion. Whether or not you want to go for the hardcore challenge of getting into the Land of Carnage, or simply want to experience the story. Disgaea 4 is one heck of a game, and seems to be the definitive entry in the series. A lovable cast of characters, charming visuals, a rather engrossing plot nearing the end, nearly endless replay value, and some online components really make this game a steal for the price. If you own a Playstation 3, there's simply no reason you shouldn't own or at least have given Disgaea 4 a try. That's all Dood! (Prinnies will get that one)
Graphics - 93/100: Charming visuals look sleek and have a wonderful anime-style flair about them. Smaller looking characters may not appeal to all, but it's an endearing art style and any aversion will quickly disappear after a little bit of playtime.
Gameplay - 95/100: There is nearly endless replay value in this game. It can go for almost as long as you desire, continually building your stats and equipment. However the soaring difficulty level post-game holds it back from being perfect.
Sound - 86/100: All the sound effects are right on, slashes, explosions, magic, it all sounds as it should. There is also a great variety of music, and even the inclusion of picking your own main area theme song, as well as songs to play in the "item world". However sometimes when a lot of enemies move at once, you don't want your volume at a high level. If you do, better cover your ears because it gets way too loud.
Control - 85/100: The game controls as a strategy RPG should. You move the cursor around, set up attacks then set them off. It does its job, but is a little tricky to get the hang of at first. Also, the view changing could be a little odd for people who aren't used to those types of games.
Replay Value - 100/100: What's there to say? Being able to increase your characters stats as much as you want? You can have your characters do as little as 5 damage, or as much as 100+ million in a single attack. It all depends on how much time you want to put in. Not many games have this much value packed in, that's for sure!
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.