The long-awaited sequel in the Disgaea series has finally graced us with its presence, picking up right where the last Disgaea left off with its outrageous storyline and zany humor. This version of Disgaea starts with a handful of tutorials to help players with the overall gist of things. You will feel right at home, though, if you have ever played any of the Disgaea games on the Playstation 3 or Sony PSP.
In Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten, you take on the role of Lord Valvatorez – a demon who lost his powers and was casted down into the pits of Hades. Dubbed the Prinny Instructor, your job is to turn those vile prinnies into more useful servants.
Prinnies are the souls of lowly criminal scum, condemned and punished to Hades in a useless form to suffer forever in the afterlife. It’s your job to ensure that every prinny fulfills his task or be damned to start over from level one.
This fractured fairytale begins when you promise your prinny companions a priceless sardine for completing their training, but an evil plan is brewing to prevent things from going as planned. Shortly after giving the prinnies their reward, they are rounded up and captured for annihilation. Lord Valvatorez never breaks a promise; he is determined to give the prinnies their sardines.
Disgaea 4 is similar to Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice. In fact, the map layout for Hades resembles the castle from Disgaea 3. You can’t deny the similarities between the two games. Granted, the last game was developed about three years ago. However, the graphics in Disgaea 4 have definitely improved.
Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten is still a tactical, turn-based role-playing game like the others in the series.You can have ten of your party members in combat at once, but the number of party members available to you is determined by how much land you control on the campaign map.
The campaign section, as it’s called, allows you to call the senate. This gives you the option to pass bills that can help weaken enemies in combat or create new characters for your growing army. You can even go as far as embezzling HL (the game’s currency) from the demons of the senate. The possibilities are endless and the combinations involved in passing a bill can feel a bit overwhelming at times.
If grinding is your thing, you will be in heaven with the countless areas/stage that are available. Each chapter is broken up into multiple episodes and they can be revisited as many times as you like. This is great for item collecting and gaining HL (money) for gear, items, etc.
Later on you will unlock what is called Item World. This is an endless, random dungeon used for grinding and leveling up items. While adventuring in Item World, you can obtain what is called innocents and notorious — these act as enhancements for your items. Plus, the random dungeons are outstanding leveling spots. However, you are only allowed to leave the randomized dungeons when you have reached a certain level or when you use a Mr. Gency Exit item.
If you happen to leave early without the use of an escape item, you will lose any items or experience that was gained from the dungeon, so be prepared before entering the Item World.
The turn-based combat system is by far the most in-depth system in a role-playing game, with literally hundreds upon hundreds of combinations available to your characters. In addition to your standard character skills, you also have access to evility — these are extra skills and abilities that each character can equip.
You are only allowed one evility unique to the unit’s job or monster class with an additional evility that is non character/monster based. While in combat, your demons and monsters can serve other purposes besides attacking the enemy or being meat shields.They will be able to perform what is called magichange and demon fusions.
Magichange is the art of transformation. Every demon/monster has the ability to transform into a weapon while in combat. While in combat, if you decide to perform a magichange with one of your fellow demons, they must be standing either beside or behind the character in question for it to work.
Each demon/monster transforms into its own unique weapon with specific characteristics and stats. This nifty ability comes with a hefty price tag: once your creature magichanges, you can only use the magichange ability for three turns. Once that happens, the creature will expire and will be labeled as ‘knocked out’. It will not be usable again until you treat it at a doctor/healer back in Hades.
Demon fusion is very similar to magichange, but instead of using a demon with a human character to make a usable weapon, two demons or monsters are fused together to form a bigger, more powerful demon. When doing fusions, it will only work if you have two types of the same creature (i.e. two prinnies will make one giant monster prinny with double the health and more attack power).
The graphics have been significantly improved in this sequel. The sprites are larger and the environments have far more detail. Even the special effects during combat are impressive with bright colors and dramatic effects. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the pervious versions of Disgaea. They were great games in their own right, but A Promise Unforgotten takes the series to the next level.
What’s a Disgaea game without witty commentary and sarcastic remarks? Don’t worry about it, NISA included plenty of it for us to enjoy — and it’s narrated too.
The music is outstanding; it’s everything you’ve come to expect from the Disgaea series. Some tracks are calm and relaxing, while others are fast and upbeat — but by no means annoying or irritating to listen to. Some games seem to lack in this area and it’s a shame. Music plays an important role in the overall experience, and when some games force you to listen to a soundtrack that is less-than-stellar, you feel like pulling your hair out. In Disgaea 4‘s case, you actually enjoy what you’re listening to.
Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten offers so much content, it is impossible to touch on everything in this review. Once you pick it up, you will be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content that it offers.
Disgaea 4 will keep you busy until the next sequel arrives. Between grinding the levels on your items (which is around two hundred) to leveling your characters (upwards of nine thousand), you will find it very difficult to put this game down.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 3
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $49.99 (Regular Edition) $59.99 (Premium Edition)
|Some of the nicest 2D graphics in the series; remarkably beautiful.|
|Plenty of narrated speech and excellent voice acting. The music is wonderful and a pleasure to listen to.|
|Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten is a beautiful role-playing game that fits in with the rest of the Disgaea series. The gameplay is addictive and the story has its humorous moments. Disgaea 4 is the type of RPG that once you start playing, you can’t put it down.|
|If you’re looking for an action-packed RPG with endless possibilities, Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten is the game for you. I have been a fan of the Disgaea series for many years, and after experiencing Disgaea 4, the series has moved to the top of my list as best RPG series.|