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Disgaea 5 is Fun, Zany, and Pretty, Dood [TGS Hands-On Preview]

September 19, 2014 Written by Heath Hindman

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Disgaea 5 had all the wackiness I expected, as well as all the deep, high-level strategy I’ve come to love. If you’re not familiar with this long-running tactical RPG franchise, here’s a summary: take a grid-based strategy RPG like Fire Emblem, Tactics Ogre, or Final Fantasy Tactics, add in crazy damage combos, the ability to throw your party members and foes around, a hyper-anime cast and story, and you’ve got the foundation for Disgaea.

The newest gameplay system is Revenge Mode. When a character is defeated, there’s a chance that his/her allies will go into Revenge Mode, during which they become more powerful and gain access to new abilities. I wonder if there’s some sort of teacher-pupil relationship that could affect a character’s chance of going into Revenge Mode? Nothing was officially said, I’m just guessing based on who got pissed when who died. When main character Killia went into Revenge Mode, I was able to take several consecutive actions with him and really lay down the law.

Characters can equip sub-weapons. The sub-weapons don’t show on character sprites, but they can use the skills that go with that weapon. For example, one of my mages had a gun. She was shown holding a wand (her main weapon), but when I selected “Skill” on her menu, I had some skills usually reserved for gun users.

At the end of a battle, the three MVP characters get an experience boost. It didn’t tell me exactly what makes a guy an MVP, but I gather that it was things like number of kills, surviving an onslaught, or things like that.

The graphics took another step up. Even though these are sprites, they’re colorful, bright, and silky smooth. You don’t have to push hardware to the max to look fantastic, and Disgaea 5 proves that.

A holy-shit moment came in the form of a Japanese World War II Kamikaze-style attack. My fire mage hopped into a jet fighter, fired missiles at her targets, then flew up high. I got a cockpit view of her plane coming straight down towards the foes, then it cut to third-person so I could see the plane crash into them. The camera lovingly panned toward the blue sky and I saw a silhouette of my character against the clouds and sunshine. I believe I actually said “Holy shit,” out loud.

¬†And that’s what Disgaea is all about.

PS4-exclusive Disgaea 5 comes out March 26 of 2015 in Japan, and the rest of the world some time after, supposedly within 2015.