The original Disgaea was released all the back in 2003 on PlayStation 2 & was somewhat of an obscure title that has gone on to achieve cult-like status among SRPG fans. There have been 5 numbered entries in the series and a handful of spin-offs across numerous platforms including, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Nintendo DS, PS VITA, PC and even a mobile release! Disgaea 1 Complete takes the series backs to its roots with some of the improvements from the later titles.
The Demon Prince
The story of Disgaea 1 complete takes place in the Netherworld with Prince Laharl finally waking up from his afternoon nap, a nap that lasted two years! Waking up somewhat confused he finds Etna, a loyal vassal of the castle, surrounded by various torture devices and weaponry claiming she was using them to wake him up. Laharl doesn’t seem too concerned about this, he is a demon after all, these types of thing are commonplace!
Etna informs Laharl that his father, King Krichevskoy, has died during his slumber and other demons are lining up to take the throne from its rightful heir. Laharl and Enta (& some Prinnies too) adventure across the Neatherworld in a bid to reclaim the throne. Along the way they encounter Flonne, an Angel turned assassin, who also decides to tag along after too observe how demons behave. The humour of a Disgaea game is something you will have to experience yourself but, its lighthearted and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Disgaea 1 Complete probably has the best story in the series with jokes aplenty! a big majority of the script is voice acted and you even have the option to switch between English & Japanese, both of which are awesome!
Disgaea 1 Complete is a tactical SRPG much like Final Fantasy Tactics (A personal favourite of mine!). You do the traditional bit of moving your characters around the map taking it in turns to attack the enemies on the map but, the difference with a Disgaea game is they let you break the rules. Characters can be levelled up lvl 9999 and stats can be boosted way into the millions, there really is a lot of depth here!
Every item in the game has its own stats that can be levelled in the Item World, A massive sprawling dungeon inside of EVERY ITEM in the game. You can easily find yourself spending hours inside this world levelling up a weapon and not even noticing the passing of time. I tend to get a little carried away in these types of games with grinding up and perfecting my stats and Disgaea 1 Complete really does allow for my obsessive stat building.
The game feels absolutely at home on the Nintendo Switch and looks fantastic in handheld mode. It almost feels like handheld mode is the way the game was designed to be played but, I may be somewhat biased after spending well over 100 hours each playing Disgaea 3, 4 on the PS Vita and Disgaea 5 complete on the Switch. Whilst grinding you can put on some Netflix in the background and do some mindless stat levelling, you could even grind on the loo!
The passage of time
Being released so long ago it was clear that Disgaea 1 was in need of an overhaul. No matter how charming the original sprite work was it was definitely in need of a facelift and that is exactly what Nippon Ichi Software have done. Disgaea 1 Complete has had its graphics redrawn and is now looking on par with Disgaea 5 complete with nice, detailed HD sprites and animations. Nippon Ichi was also very kind to include Etna Mode, which was not present in the original release and features a whole new story mode to tackle set in a world where Larharl is, let’s just say ‘Incapacitated’, through its story. This a very nice inclusion and adds yet even more playability to already this massive game.
There are one or two things to note however coming from a Disgaea veteran returning back to the 1st game and that is the game is much slower paced than the later entries in the series if there was an option to increase movement speed I could not find it. Also to skip attack animations, which although are really cool, can get repetitive after the 876th you sat through them (EDIT: I found an option to skip animations in the settings some 60 hours in!). These are such minor issues though and if they where removed I am sure some Disgaea 1 purists would be upset! That said, when compared to the original game, Disgaea 1 Complete doesn’t feel too interfered with. The main change is the HD visuals.
Is it good?
In conclusion, I would say yes! Disgaea 1 Complete is the ultimate way for people new to the series to get into the series and has enough charm and solid mechanics to keep people who have played the series before engaged. Newcomers may feel a little bit overwhelmed at first and the later games do a little better at explaining the mechanics but, if stuck with, Disgaea 1 complete is an extremely satisfying and rewarding experience which could literally last you 200 hours+. I am really hoping that Nippon Ichi Software release a Disgaea D2 complete in the future!!
Disgaea 1 Complete releases on Nintendo Switch & PlayStation 4 on the 9th October in the United States and 12th October in Europe.
You can purchase Disgaea 1 Complete from the following link:
Disclaimer: Nintendo Switch review code was supplied by NIS America