There are many strategy role-playing games, but few are as memorable as the Disgaea series.
The series prides itself on its humour and depth. It has always delivered a quirky cast of characters and strange stories, as well as enough in-game content to keep players busy for months.
Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited continues that tradition, as the players take on the role of a once-powerful vampire called Valvatorez, who has sworn to never again drink human blood. His sustenance of choice? Sardines.
It gets only weirder from there, with cat demons, fallen angels and anthropomorphic talking penguins all playing roles in the story.
The game cracks jokes constantly and never takes itself seriously - which is a breath of fresh air among the many po-faced games and their gritty, depressing stories.
Battles consist of units taking turn-based actions on a grid. The game looks vibrant and colourful, with flashy attacks accompanied by over-the-top voice acting and catchy music. The graphics are a big step up from the previous instalment in the series, with all the sprites redone in high definition and much larger maps.
Frame rate drops are the one drawback. The game chokes when certain flashy attacks are executed or when playing in some big maps, struggling to handle everything going on. This slows down animations quite frequently. While not game-breaking, it is annoying.
The story lasts about 35 hours, which is a good length. However, it opens up after you have beaten the story. The wealth of optional content unlocked encourages you to play on.
Despite the lack of a story, the game offers hidden characters to unlock, powerful weapons to gain and optional bosses who will push your skills to the limit.
A caveat: Much of the optional content is impossible to complete unless your characters are extremely levelled up. As an example, players' statistics usually reach the thousands at the end of the story. Some bosses have statistics that number in the millions.
The maximum level is 9,999, so be prepared to keep playing for a long time if you want to do everything in the game.
This is an enhanced port of the PlayStation 3 version. In addition to being portable, the game comes with new story content, gameplay tweaks and all the downloadable content from the console version bundled together for free, making this the definitive version.
$52.90 (PlayStation Vita)
This article was published on Sept 3 in Digital Life, The Straits Times.
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