Review: Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited

Content Warning:

Violence.  The Netherworld (Hell).  Re-incarnation.

Note:

I have never played any of the Disgaea series before.  Also, I really suck at strategy RPGs.  With that said I have not finished Disgaea 4 but I am really enjoying it (even though I really suck at it).

Story:

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Valvatores is a vampire who used to be an evil tyrant.  That was until the day that he promised a woman he would not drink any blood until he could make her fear him.  Drinking blood gives Valvatores his power.  400 years have passed and she has died.  Having an unwavering drive to keep all promises he makes, he has not broken this promise to her.  Since he is powerless, he now trapped in the Netherworld and has been relegated to training the Prinnies.  Prinnies are the souls of dead humans transformed into these kind of penguin servants.  Once they have paid off their debt they can be reborn.  But now someone is stealing the trained Prinnies from Valvatores and he, having made a promise to them, now must find out who is stealing the Prinnies and get them back. The story is a bit ridiculous but has kept me interested thus far.  I am interested to see where the story will go so I will push on and try to finish this game that I am awful at.

Gameplay:

SY4 The game plays a lot like Final Fantasy Tactics.  It is a strategy JRPG.  You control all the characters in your party.  Characters have a range of movement, based on number of tiles they can move.  Your turn would have you move your character and then perform an action.  Then that characters turn is done.  Each character you place on the board gets a turn to do something during your turn.  Once you have decided your turn is done, all of the enemy characters will have a go.  Where this game differs is that if you line your characters up in the correct way, they can create a multi-character attack.  And this only counts for the action of one of the characters.  So if you line the characters up correctly you can pull off many of these multi-character attacks in one turn.  Also you can have characters pick up other characters.  This can be done to either throw a character to reach further parts of the battlefield or to create a tower attack. Outside the battlefield you can visit shops to outfit your characters with the normal RPG things. The thing I did not like about this system was in order to open some of the shops you have to take part in the Netherworld congress to persuade the majority to vote open a certain shop.  This Netherworld congress is used to try to get all manor of laws you want passed.  During congress you can try to sway others to your side by offering them something from your inventory.  This whole system is a no go for me and may stop me from continuing on with the game if it becomes too much of a nuisance.

Presentataion:

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Disgaea 4 is presented a lot like Final Fantasy Tactics.  Just updated visuals.  A squat avatar is shown in the game world.  But when that character has dialog, their true anime character is overlaid on the screen (along with their dialog).  After playing a few JRPGs now, I am getting tired of the static anime character placed on the screen to show you who is talking.  It would be better if these where cut scenes instead.  I know this would be more work and take up more precious memory.  And with JRPGs being very long games, this could be a really big problem.  But it would be nice to see something different every once in awhile.  Also, some dialog is spoken by voice actors.  While other dialog must be read.

Conclusion:

Disgaea 4 is a fun strategy JRPG with a ridiculous but engaging story.  Sure it has a bunch of annoying JRPG things that seem at least two generations too old.  But Disgaea 4 cannot be faulted for having them, since all JRPGs suffer from the same problems.  Where the game does fall down is in the extra gameplay beyond the battles.  I do not want to have a vote when I want a shop to be open.  I just want that shop to be open and for me to be able to buy the things I need.  The only thing that is going to stop me from finishing this game is the congress system they have put in place to pad out the length of the game.

The Bottom Line

 

 

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Jonathan Klassen

Just a small city, Christian boy from the province of Saskatchewan in Canada. Go Riders Go! I have a wife (Andrea), a son (Ethan) and another one on the way.

3 Comments

  1. Shadrach on August 20, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I’ve played a lot of disqaea before and I’m a big fan of the series with two questions. Do they still have the item world? And have they finally done away with the geo panel system?

    • Jonathan Klassen on August 20, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Both systems are still there.

  2. Michael M. on August 14, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Never played Disgaea either, so I’m glad to see a review on it. Thanks for the info.

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