Disgaea Hours of Darkness

The First entry into the Disgaea series is back and meaty as it has always been. Our first foray into the netherworld started back as early as the PlayStation 2, it has received remaster treatment since and finally makes its way to PS4 so how does it hold up?

The first ever Disgaea on release was a success. Where games like Final Fantasy tactics had left their mark on JRPG enthusiasts, other tactical games would make an appearance and Disgaea was one of them, it added so much more in terms of story, diverse characters and huge numbers and many types of attacks and massive customization options for each individual characters. Disgaea is by no means perfect and some issues still remain today but as far as tactical JRPG’s go this is on the pedestal as one of the all-time greats.

As the first Disgaea does not have all the systems in place that the series has adopted over the years it means it is the perfect start for those looking to get into the series or for anyone who is still on the fence but wanting to get into a tactical JRPG, not having any major new features that the series has gained over the years also makes it one of the most difficult in the series.

Be prepared to play various stages again to strengthen your characters if you want any chance of progressing. One way is to level your characters early on and power through the game with ease, it’s possible in Disgaea but it also takes a bit more effort than it does in more recent releases in the series. The Item World is a great way to do this and being a mandatory part of progressing in the story is a good way to get used to it. It’s perfectly fine to skip doing it after the first time and although it isn’t the most forgiving place it is the most efficient. It is quite possible to play Disgaea without having to grind levels but just be prepared to get your ass kicked, you may very well notice your strongest characters being well ahead in levels while you have a backburner of weaker allies, such as the starting prinnies and while it is entirely possible to go through the game like this well where is the fun in that?

Another reason why the difficulty of Disgaea comes into question is when your Clerics and anyone using any form of buff/debuff magic aren’t gaining levels, the reason for this is Disgaea didn’t allow for this in the original, characters would only level on defeating an enemy. Using items won’t help you either as doing this doesn’t give experience either. Levelling your healers and magic users requires you to go and grind low-level maps or use them in conjunction with your strongest members such as Laharl and Etna and pull off some killing combos on higher level enemies. My favourite is to equip them with a Bow and pick enemies off one by one from the back. It would have been nice if they implemented this in but it seems they stayed true to the original by not.

As I have mentioned the Item world isn’t the most forgiving place in Disgaea, some of the maps were large and painful to navigate and you could get really unlucky with Geo Block placement, some platforms were completely inaccessible meaning you had to progress without actually being able to kill everything if you wanted to, again the Item world hasn’t changed in the complete version meaning these issues still remain although they keep the difficulty there challenging those old and new players and to learn them in their future endeavours.

Disgaea has plenty to offer for new players, it has a fantastic story and a loveable cast of characters even if they are demons, well it has some angels as well. It offers plenty outside of battle with tried and tested systems in place in progressing your party, you can summon an assembly of monsters to pass bills in a demon court and by bribing them you can extort money from them or raise prices in shops in order to obtain better equipment, if they say no you can always persuade by force by killing them all. You can create a new team of characters and monsters to your liking, pretty much any defeated enemy either ghost or dragon can be an ally providing you have the mana to do so, this is done by killing lots of enemies. By levelling up in the Item world you also level up your Items such as weapons and armour, you can rearrange certain stats transferring one you need for ones you do not, the possibilities are almost limitless in Disgaea.

A PlayStation 4 Review Code was provided by NIS America