Thursday, May 17, 2012

Disgaea 4, Of promises and non sparkly Vampires

Name:  Disgaea 4, A Promise Unforgotten
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Year: 2011
Platform: Playstation 3
Genre: Role playing game, Strategy
Time Spent: 20/30 Hours on main game. 150+ Post game

Intro: Since I wrote about Prinnies a short while ago I decided I should also write about the latest Disgaea installment. This is the 4 Disgaea title, not counting the remakes or spin of like can I be the Hero Dood. I don't own this game yet. But my friend Belsammael was so nice to borrow it to me for a while. Thanks to him I put hours into a useless hobby instead of doing what every responsible person should do. But I think every gamer can concur with this *wink*

Story: The story starts with Valvatorez, a NON sparkly vampire. And a weak one at that. Although being one of the most powerful beings in the universe before he lost his power due to a promise. It involved him not drinking blood till a certain event has passes which unfortunately took longer then expected. Because of his weakness he is banished to the lower parts of the netherworld to be a lowly prinny instructor. The most suckiest job you can have. Valvatorez regains his energy though... due to the power of... SARDINES! Yes you read that correctly. After learning that the higher demons make a mess of the Netherworld and rule without honour he sets out on a journey to make the Netherworld right again, and teach everyone about sardines.

In his journey he is accompanied by his servant Fenrich, a werewolf in leather pants. Fenrich is quite shrewd and tries to let his master drink blood again on certain occasions to make him stronger again. Whatever he does, apparently all is for his lord. Later on this party is joined by Death Emizel, a mage and a son of the current president of the netherworld. Fuka, a human who died and got turned into a half prinny (due to a shortage on prinny skin) who denies this fact and keeps saying this is all a dream. Desco, the ultimate final boss and little sis of Fuka for some odd reason. And Vulcanus, a female angel who is keen on money and hides lots of secrets. Some characters from old instalments also return. Together they set out towards the president to set things straight.

From Left to Right: Desco, Axel, Fenrich, Valvatorez, Emizel, Fuka and Vulcanus
Gameplay: Gameplay is roughly the same as all the other Disgaea games so far. You start out with story characters with certain abilities, although you can create your own custom characters to battle for you. Every character has its forte. One being able to wield swords and axes, the other able to shoot arrows or heal. You also have monsters with their own unique attacks.
With these characters you set out and start on the next map in the story. A looks a bit like a giant chess board. Lots of squares where you can play characters on. You start in the base panel where you can summon characters to do battle and move towards the enemy. You can summon 10 characters per battle, but you can make more characters so you can adapt to every situation.
Disgaea 4 also brings back the geo blocks. These blocks give a certain effect to the area they are standing on. These might include bonuses for both parties such as attack +50%. But they can also obtain effects for ally or enemy only. There are even weird affects such as warp, clone and deathblow.
Besides these things you also have the campaign board where you can power characters up, unlock bills for stronger items or create new characters. On this board you can place buildings with have a beneficial effect to every party member adjacent to it. They might get more experience or mana. If you give it some effort you can even unlock magichange ( which changes your monster into a very strong weapon), Fusion (which fuses 2 monsters together for a huge and strong monster) or even the combined force of these things. Try to unlock everything!.
Last but not last. If you don't like giving a game a lot of effort, the main game can be played without too much trouble, although it might need more grinding than the last few games. Once you start post game content you need to start on all advanced things to even try to win a map.

Audio/Visual: A huge increase from the last installment are the graphics. For a Disgaea game this might sound strange since you work with sprites usually and the skits are mostly just moving 2d pictures. However, background, home base AND the sprites got a huge upgrade from the last game. If you want to see the difference, you can turn HD off in the settings to see how it looked before.
The music in the game hasn't changed much from the last game. You usually hear some themed music that fits a stage. The theme music for your home base once again is annoying as hell after 10 minutes but secretly it makes you laugh. It keeps fitting the Disgaea theme and that's what counts.

Verdict: I really like games that keep me busy. Even if there is not story to to keep your attention. Whatever you do, this game makes sure that you always have a new goal to work towards. It is a shame I had to give this copy back to my friend otherwise I would still be playing and optimizing my characters.

Solid gameplay with new improvements, although the main game got more challenging it is still doable.

Not the best story in the Disgaea series but overall this made more sence than the last instalment.

Audio/ Visuals:

An increase from the last game, not as mindblowing as games are these days, but good enough nonetheless.

Fun Facts: Disgaea 4...
... breaks the 4th wall, constanly talking about this game and the player.
... 's Fuka gives other characters nicknames such as Valzy and Fenfen.
... returns Flonne to us. Now as a full fledged ARCHANGEL!!!
... 's Asagi didn't get the memo about being HD now, thus her sprite is always bad quality, you can fix
    this by downloading the HD sprite from PS store for free ;)
... also returns Zetta as a playable character, now as a NON book.
... 's Fuka and Desco get their own show, named (very original) The Fuka and Desco show.

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