Review– Disgaea 7: Vow of the Virtueless

Dishonor on You, Dishonor on Your Cow!

Overview

Developer Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
Publisher NIS America, Inc.
Genre SRPG
Platforms PS5 (reviewed), PS4, Switch, PC
Release Date October 3, 2023

Announced at the beginning of this year, Disgaea 7 is here. Based on the cool samurai guy, and the flashy seven, I was impressed that the series was still going. In all honesty I played Disgaea 2 and the Prinny spin-off on the PSP. I remember having a good time, but no other entry caught my attention since then. Even though I am purely going off aesthetic alone, I was interested to see where the series has gone since 2006. 

Content Guide

Spiritual Content
In case readers don’t know, there are only four races: humans, prinny, angel, and demon. And most often, humans and demons will be the bulk of the party. But, as is custom anime-Japan-weeaboo-stuff, demons are just basically multi-colored humanoid people with horns or tails, that are cute, adorable, sexy, or cool in appearance. Their “demonic” nature is about as deep as a full-time day job. Sure, they act bad, but then they get defensive if someone “truly” evil shows up and kills their sibling. Sadly, the same can be said for angels.

Violence
An RPG strategy game with swords, guns, magic for battling, in a game where ninety percent of the game is battling. Yeah, there’s some violence, but it’s cartoonish.

Language/Crude Humor 

There’s a bit of language, from d***, a**, all the way up to s***.

Sexual Content
Sigh, this part kills me, because without it, I think Disgaea might have been one of my favorite series. I’ll explain why in Positive Content. Some female characters are designed with revealing outfits (deep cleavage) and breasts that jiggle during combat. 

Drug/Alcohol Use
Players can obtain a Hard Liquor item which can be used to bribe characters

Positive Content
I love the voice acting, and the humor of the series. The Prinnies always end everything they say with ‘dood’, the main character is massively allergic to empathy, a female touring bushido-fanatic mispronounces every single classic saying (e.g. “actions speak louder than birds!”), and a small girl destroys towns looking for her dad. Disgaea has always excelled in surreal humor, which is right up my alley. The voice acting has always felt exciting, strong, and believable, lending its strength to the humor, and the other emotional moments. Which is great because all the cutscenes are in visual novel format.

Review

Storyline/Narrative

Fuji is a physically strong, capable demon who is in massive debt, and needs money fast. He soon meet Pirilika, a tycoon that is in love with the old way of bushido: honor, glory, tradition. Unfortunately, Fuji breaks it to her that that way is gone. Demmodore Opener made sure of that. Pirilika knows that with the seven uber-powerful weapons, they can take down Demmodore, and she can restore bushido. She also knows that if Fuji can help (he was also chosen by one of the uber-power seven weapons), she can wipe his debt away.

Gameplay Mechanics

The Disgaea series has a unique style of gameplay. It’s also hard. Players are forced to grind their characters, if they want a balanced team that will survive to the end. If the party dies they have to be purchased to come back, and in the early game, money is tight. Battles take place on stylized, dioramic maps. Characters are units that move across squares based on their movement stat. Characters can attack enemy units, open chests, and interact with field traps. 

Disgaea also gives units the ability to throw one another, and players can stack characters to make a big tower that can, in theory, throw one character to the other side of the field. Every battle chapter has challenges ranging from completing the fight in a few turns to having only male units. The main story progresses through battling and cutscenes. There’s also weapon mastery, that wonderful/terrible mechanic of getting proficient by using one type of weapon, and switching weapons means gaining that weapons buffs, and abilities. It’s the kind of thing players should figure out early, and not change mid to late game. If unique characters join, it’s usually best to leave it be, as they have abilities and bonuses already.

Of course, I have to mention the newest mechanics for 7, the Jumbification and Hell Mode. You can make yourself big, your attacks are big, your heals are big. Hell Mode is going Super Saiyan for anyone holding one of the seven uber-powerful weapons., and lasts for a few turns. It’s pretty neat as a feature, but it got me thinking that Disgaea has moved itself (or has been) into the area of introducing new mechanics every new game. Except, they don’t let mechanics go; they just keep them and keep stacking up what players can do every game. I learned about Evilities (special passive traits per class introduced in Disgaea 3) that you can turn into scrolls and give other units, and it was then that I realized that there’s so much to remember and do, that I believe anyone can easily get lost playing Disgaea 7.

Game Modes

Outside of the main story, Fuji can interact with a myriad of characters that offer lots of side content. One character opens up a Juice Bar which gives exp for units, and really helps with leveling. There’s a mode where gameplay enhancements may be earned by “passing bills”. It is a small minigame where the house must approve decisions (enhancements like “triple the exp in the next battle”). Getting NPC approval over NPC disapproval is tantamount, and the greater the enhancement, the bigger the difficulty of gaining approval. Players can go and recruit new members, which is basically unit creation. In creation, players may choose class, class type, starting level, and name, in exchange for money. The game has more options for creation, and it can become intensely intricate with what players can do. Eventually, after the game, Land of Carnage is truly where all of this is put to the test. I personally haven’t made it there, but if it’s like the endgame content of Disgaea 2, then holy cow – keep me away.

Takeaway

Aside from the fanservice, I enjoyed picking up a Disgaea game again. The story was just simply a fun time to have. It wasn’t groundbreaking, but it was enjoyable to have vibrant characters, big flashy attacks, and elements of gameplay that are geared toward fun. Despite the grind early on, I had fun. 

Should Christians Play?

At its core, Disgaea 7 is a story of friendship, believing in yourself, the value of honor caked under dark humor, fanservice, and anime-weeaboo stuff. There’s nothing inherently wrong; the demon stuff is shallow, but don’t play if any of the content guide bothers you. Disgaea 7 reminds us that in the deepest darkness, there is light, and possibly a greater light than one would find in a safer game.

The Bottom Line

 

A fan of the Disgaea series will enjoy more Disgaea, and there is clearly more to do.

 

8.0

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Johnathan Floyd

Writer, Editor, President, and overall complete goofball.

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