Disgaea 5 Complete review: The best way to play Disgaea 5, dood

Credit: NIS America
Credit: NIS America /

Disgaea 5 Complete for the Nintendo Switch is a must-own for any tactical-RPG fan and one you will sink hundreds of hours into, dood.

Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: May 23, 2017

If you are unfamiliar with the Disgaea franchise it may be because this niche tactical-RPG series debuted on the PlayStation 2 in 2003, and has had just one installment see release on a Nintendo platform –  that being Disgaea DS in 2008. Nevertheless, NIS America felt it was time to reintroduce Disgaea to the Nintendo brand, and they picked a damn fine title to do just that. Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance first graced us in 2015 when the title released for PS4, and now it comes to us in 2017 on the Nintendo Switch as Disgaea 5 Complete. This is the definitive way to play Disgaea 5 for a couple of reasons – namely being, it is now portable, and it includes all the downloadable content from the original game.

Newcomers to the series may feel intimidated by the 5 in the game’s title, but there is no reason to be worried. The Disgaea games are self-contained narratives; thus making Disgaea 5 Complete an excellent introductory entry for those curious about this addictive series. For those acquainted with the previous Disgaea games, there are some jokes you’ll appreciate, and there are missions featured in the game that allow you to unlock some of the lead characters from past Disgaea.

The story of Disgaea 5 Complete is centered on the journey of Killia – a terse demon who possesses great power, and Seraphina – the Princess Overload of the Gorgeous Netherworld. Their adventure is one based on vengeance, as they fight to prevent the Demon Emperor, Void Dark, from conquering every Netherworld for his own amusement.

Over the course of the game, you will encounter additional Overlords and come to understand why each pursues revenge against the Dark Emperor. The Overlords each have a distinct and larger-than-life personality, and this brings the game a great deal of humor. Whether it is an egotistical Overlord or the pathetically lovable Prinny, the cast of Disgaea 5 Complete makes the adventure entertaining and enjoyable.

Disgaea 5 Complete screenshot
NIS America /

Disgaea 5 Complete plays similarly to any other tactical-RPG – you place units on the field of battle, move them on the battle grid, and choose actions that best serve your purpose. Whereas other tactical and strategy RPGs emphasize planning and careful unit positioning, Disgaea 5 provides the player with the freedom of position experimentation. A beneficial method of attack in Disgaea 5 are the Team Attacks. Team Attacks may occur when you use a Normal Attack while adjacent to an enemy and have allies next to your character. Team Attacks are devastatingly powerful and will inflict high amounts of damage upon the unfortunate enemy.

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Each character has abilities that they can learn, and these depend on their character class – for example, a Cleric has an aptitude for healing. The more you use a character in battle and defeat opponents, the more experience points you will earn and the faster you will learn and unlock new abilities and skills to use. The Overlord characters have their own special skill – aptly named Overload. The Overload skills are powerful techniques that can shift the tide of battle in an instant. However, these special abilities relate to the game’s narrative and become obtainable as you progress through the story chapters.

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Though Killia is restricted to just one Overload Skill, some of the other Overlords have multiple. Early on in the game, you will gain access to Princess Overlord Seraphina’s first Overload Skill – Balor Gaze. This is a useful technique as it charms the male characters and monsters for a couple of turns; thus providing you an opportunity to defeat enemies without fear of repercussion.

It is important to note that Overload Skills can only be used once per battle and only when you are in Revenge Mode. To make the explanation simple: whenever you receive damage or lose an ally in battle, the Revenge gauge begins to fill. Once it achieves its maximum capacity, Revenge Mode will become active for a handful of turns. Aside from allowing Overlords to use their Overload Skills, other characters will receive stat boosts. Revenge Mode gives the player a small window of opportunity to defeat a powerful adversary, so you have to take advantage of the stat boosts and Overload window whenever presented with it.

All of this may sound daunting – especially if you are a newcomer to the Disgaea series, but the game does a splendid job at explaining the mechanics of the game’s many systems.

Disgaea 5 Complete screenshot
NIS America /

Aside from the main game, there are plenty of side distractions to keep you busy. There are optional Quests to accept – these can be simple requests like defeating X-number of enemies, beating a stage, or exchanging a certain item type. Quests reward the player handsomely with in-game cash and may even unlock a new ally to use in battle. You can accept up to ten quests at a time, and they provide the player with a reason to return to previously completed stages or to play a stage in an entirely new and fresh way.

Regardless of how you play Disgaea 5 Complete – docked or undocked, the game looks and plays beautifully on the Switch.

There are also the Item and Chara Worlds to explore. Chara World is similar to a board game, except it can aid in assisting your character a boost in secondary stats – be critical hit rate or counter rate. It is a useful extra for when you want to level up and improve a character in your party. Furthermore, there is Item World, and this plays more akin to the rest of the game. In Item World, you battle enemies and progress through a multi-floor dungeon. Item World is a great means of training for when you want to give your party a power boost. It’s strangely addictive.

Another means of time investment stems from the included downloadable content. This content isn’t unlocked by default, and you will need to chat with Special Content shop and choose to receive the downloadable content. A helpful reward for buying Disgaea 5 Complete is $1,000,000 of in-game cash. Other content includes missions that will unlock new playable characters and new weapons.

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Regardless of how you play Disgaea 5 Complete – docked or undocked, the game looks and plays beautifully on the Switch. Visually the game is crisp, and the animated style looks wonderful on the Switch screen. A curious omission is the lack of touch-screen controls.

NIS. . Disgaea 5 Complete. 9.0. Disgaea 5 Complete on Switch is the best way to play and to experience Disgaea 5. If you are ready to sink another couple of hundred hours into a game this summer, then let Disgaea 5 Complete satisfy your needs.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.