Disgaea: Gems of the Steam Summer Sale

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By Kevin Casper

It’s Day 3 of the 2016 Steam Summer Sale! Today’s gem spotlight is Disgaea PC, a remastered version of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness on PS2, and includes all of the additional content from Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness which was released on the PlayStation Portable.

Disgaea is a fairly goofy, hilariously written, fantasy turn-based strategy RPG, meaning most of the gameplay is something like Final Fantasy Tactics or the more recent X-COM games. You follow the story of Laharl, a prince of the Netherworld, on his journey to become the Overlord and commanding the forces of evil. Your forces are comprised of everything from zombies to fallen warriors to dragons to catgirls to Prinnys, these penguin things that explode when you throw them.

What really makes Disgaea stand out from other tactical RPGs is its writing. Throughout the game, you encounter an outstandingly written and fantastically voice-acted group of individuals. Etna is a demon who has her own goals for power but mostly, kinda supports Laharl through the game. Flonne is a young angel who attempts to stop Laharl’s conquest by teaching him the power of love and friendship. Seen in the title image on this article is Vyers, a demon lord you take on early in the game that Laharl dismisses by referring to him as the somewhat meta title of “Mid-Boss.” As you progress through the story, you’ll meet other memorable characters with different levels of story involvement including the Prism Rangers, who are very reminiscent of the Power Rangers TV series, or Captain Gordon, the Defender of Earth who reflects the overacted hero characters in 1950s science fiction movies like Forbidden Planet.

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While I can’t iterate how strong and hilarious the game’s story and characters are, that’s not everything Disgaea has to offer. The game offers a ton of tactical prowess, from uniquely designed stages and battle layouts, to mechanics like being able to lift and throw your teammates, to a color patterned field-control system to stack bonuses or damage types for and against your goes. There are ton of character and enemy types you’ll come across, including counter-attacking monks or spell-flinging succubi who will definitely charm your allies against you. The main storyline can be handled through more “typical” gameplay, but there’s more to the game than just the main story.

If you’re into the RPG grind or are a bit of full-completionist, then Disgaea has way more than you could hope for. The game offers a huge range of character growth and leveling options, from manipulating the Dark Assembly, basically the Netherworld’s Senate, to grant you access to different things, to a prestige leveling system that allows you to reset characters to level 1 and provide them a boost to their base stats based on the level they were before. Why bother? Trust me, you’re not going to be able to take on that level 6000+ boss with their base stats. Oh, and completionists, there are multiple endings. Go have a blast!

Digaea PC did have a buggy release, but most of those problems have been fixed and the game is still being patched and improved as you read this. If you’re at least okay with the tactical RPG style of gameplay, then I would highly recommend picking it up. The characters are memorable, the gameplay is rich and engaging, and there’s plenty to do for a few hundred hours if you so choose. Disgaea PC is currently available for $15 USD during the Steam Summer Sale – which ends July 4th.

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