Welcome to this review of Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, dood. What is it like to walk into Disgaea 5 knowing absolutely nothing about Disgaea or how the games even work? Well, it is not as terrifying as it sounds, even though this is a grid-turn-based strategy game. That genre alone is enough to scare away a large amount of the gaming enthusiast population, but maybe Disgaea 5 is not as terrifying to get into as it seems, because with a good tutorial, practical mechanics, and enough player focus, one may find themselves enjoying this game.
The story follows our grumpy Killia, who is out for revenge because of a lost special someone. Also, let us meet Seraphina, the “Gorgeous Overlord” who lives a love fantasy in her mind while shooting just about anything that mildly disagrees with her perception. These two, along with other comrades met down the line, are out to get Void Dark, the Demon Emperor who caused the Netherworld war and lasted only a night. Of course, there is going to be a lot that gets in the way before they can ever fight the Demon Emperor. This story has made the excellent decision to not take itself too seriously. Yes, chasing after the Demon Emperor is a dark path, but it’s really more of a light-hearted narrative. It is hard to mind the one-dimensional characters. It is actually entertaining watching their shallow personalities go about, because this game has some excellent clever humor and writing.
This is a turn-based strategy game on a grid map, which makes this a game that requires thinking about three or five steps ahead to make sure mishaps do not happen. To make things even more intense, this game has a near-overwhelming number of mechanics everywhere. There are many character classes to choose from, many weapon types, weapon masteries, elevation, items, evilities, special moves, Revenge specials, numbers overload, and the list goes on. All of the mechanics in this game have a practical use. Is there really a reason for “lifting and throwing” characters around? Yes, there is. If you need to reach someone in a hurry, or pull off a last-second save to prevent another character’s death, it comes in handy, for example. This game requires a lot of concentration, and is probably not the best thing to play after a college exam. The tutorial does a mostly good job of getting the basics out, but even then, the difficulty slope is a bit steep for those new to Disgaea. However, with enough work and focus, one will discover why Disgaea has made it to its fifth iteration and is a favorite for those who find other RPGs too simple.
The game is a mix between some 3D modeling and two-dimensional art and animations, and it looks fantastic. The art style is very colorful and flavorful, with flashy effects and exciting attack styles. It does its job really well, and goes a long way to making the humorous writing that much more charming. The voice acting talent worked out pretty well, and definitely backs the personalities of the characters. The music is probably not going to catch much attention, but it does its own thing in the background just fine.
Is Disgaea 5 a game that someone who is new to Disgaea can get into? Yes. The game does a rather good job explaining the basics, but it is going to take some effort and concentration to understand why Disgaea has been that niche franchise that is as popular as it is. The mechanics of the game worked out quite well, and if you get into this game, you have the flashy art and humorous writing to make things that much better. This is a type of game that not everyone can play, but tactical RPG fans should try.
Final Score: 8.0/10