By Steve Baltimore / August 12th, 2014
|Title||Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited|
|Release Date||August 12, 2014|
It’s been a while since I visited the Netherworld, but the release of Disgaea 4 : A Promise Revisited for the Vita gave me the perfect opportunity to do so. This is an enhanced port of Disgaea: A Promise Unforgotten on PlayStation 3. I have always enjoyed this series and felt the changes in the recent releases have made it even better. Does this release continue that trend or does it fall flat?
The story revolves around the fallen vampire tyrant Valvatorez, who has made a promise to never drink human blood again. As a result of this promise, he lost a lot of his former powers, has fallen to Hades and taken on the role of a Prinny instructor. After his latest class of reformed Prinnies is kidnapped, and before he can keep his promise of giving each of them a sardine — a promise is something Valvatorez takes VERY seriously — he sets out on a quest to save his class and discovers that something much bigger is afoot. The Netherworld government has become corrupt. Ironic, isn’t it? Thus he leads a rebellion the overthrow the government and reform it.
I really enjoyed the storyline. It was good mix being a bit serious at times with some great humor thrown in there. This is really a trademark of the Disgaea series. I also really enjoyed the banter between the characters before battle, and just the overall feel of the story itself. The fact that Valvatorez is obsessed with sardines is just hilarious at times, and Fuko being an amazing idiot is just great. The story is written quite well, and, as usual, the NIS America staff has done a great job making all of the quirky natures of these characters shine through. You might even learn a valuable lesson if you pay close enough attention.
Now, let’s talk a bit about the graphics. Simply put, this is one of the best-looking titles on the Vita console. Everything is crisp, colorful and simply looks amazing. I’ve not said this very often, but I think this looks better on the Vita than it did on the PS3. I was really amazed at just how well it ported over to the Vita. The over-the-top special moves all go off without a hitch, and the characters even look great when the camera zooms in on them. The only issue I ran into was in The Item World. When you hit a map with just a ton of Geo Panels, it will make the game have a slight slowdown. This in no way affects the gameplay, but it is there.
The music is pretty much your standard Disgaea fare. By that I mean that it is pretty light-hearted, but somehow manages to get you pumped up for battle. They have even added some new tracks just for this release. There is a ton of voiced dialogue, and it all sounds pretty damn good. All of the voices fit the characters and help to make them come to life. Don’t worry, for you purists out there, the Japanese audio is there for you to enjoy, as well. So far as the sound effects themselves, they are basic and plain, but get the job done.
The basic gameplay is that of grid-based strategy that is pretty much unchanged from previous games. So, rather than bore you folks with a bunch of stuff a lot of you already know, I’m going to stick to what’s new here. The Demon Fusion and Magichange are the only two really big changes to basic combat. Demon Fusion is where you take two of the same type of demons and fuse them together to make one big demon. The benefit to this is that you get a much stronger version of the unit, but they are also huge — taking up four panels — which makes them easy to hit. Magichange is where you transform a demon into a weapon for a humanoid unit to use. The demons change into various weapons and have unique skills that can be used while they are in weapon form. Some of these skills are very deadly. The benefit to this is both units gain EXP and get a slight stat boost. The drawback is the Magichange unit disappears after so many turns for the rest of the battle, though you can dispatch a new unit in its place. If you need more information on basic gameplay, you can refer to my previous reviews of Disgaea 2 and Disgaea D2 for a more detailed explanation.
Your main base is now called Cam – Pain HQ. This works a lot like the classroom did in Disgaea 3. You have set number spaces on a map of the Netherworld. You will place your characters and evil symbols on this map. “What are evil symbols?” you might ask. Well, they work a lot like the clubs did in Digaea 3. They provide various enhancements and perks to those seated near each other. You can actually make it work so a unit has the benefits of two symbols at once, if they are placed properly.
Some of the other things you can do in Cam – Pain HQ are create characters, put up bills in the Senate or promote character classes. Promoting character classes saves you a ton of time since your character will now get all the benefits of the upgraded class and not have to start back over at Level 1. You can also appoint cabinet members here. Yep, you’re running a rebellion, so you need to have some leadership setup, right? Appointing cabinet members allows you to give bonuses to other units located in the same evil symbol on the Cam – Pain HQ map. This can allow you to quickly beef up certain stats on your characters, making them much better, much faster.
The world hub has most of the things you have come to expect from the series present and accounted for. Things such as the Dimensional Gate, the Item Worlder, Hospital and Shops are all present. The Evility Shop makes its return from Disgaea 3, as well. This is where you teach — yep, you guessed it — Evilities. You can also learn new skills and level up skills you already have if you have the mana for it.
The Cheat Shop is back, as well, and this a very welcome addition. This allows you to adjust the enemy levels very quickly. No longer do you have to go to the Senate every time you want to raise or lower the enemy levels. Now you can do it here in seconds. You can also adjust the amount of EXP, mana and cash that you gain from each battle. For example, if you find yourself needing more mana than cash you can adjust it so it the battles pay out 120% mana and only 80% cash. This way, you’re only grinding for exactly what you need, and this saves you a ton of time.
The last feature I want to talk about is the Map Creator. This is not new to this port of the game, but I thought this was a really nice feature. You can create and share your maps online with other players. You can also edit an existing map or start your own completely from scratch. The choice is yours. Not all of the parts you can use will be unlocked at first, however. You play on created maps to earn some CP to unlock a ton of different parts you can use. I briefly tested this out and found it was pretty easy to put a map together and pretty fun. I can’t wait to see what kinds of crazy maps people make when the game releases.
There are some things that have been added to just this release of the title, such as new skills, new back story segments, new characters and probably some stuff that I haven’t found yet. They have also included all of the DLC from PS3 release. I unlocked a ton of new characters post-game and really enjoyed doing so because some of them are just plain bad ass. These characters come from previous Disgaea titles, Phantom Brave, and you can even unlock the flat Hero of Justice, Nisa. So, needless to say, there is a ton of content here, probably not as much as the ridiculous amount in the Vita release of Disgaea 3, but still a ton of content.
I can honestly say that this is the definitive release of Disgaea 4. I never thought I would say that a handheld title outdid its console counterpart, but that is exactly what has happened here. The new content, improved graphics and the fact it is portable make this nothing but win. In fact, I would go so far as to say this is one of the best titles the Vita has to offer. For its asking price of $39.99, it will take you around 40 hours to complete the main story and many, many more hours to complete all of the post-game content. If you own the PS3 version of Disgaea 4, there is enough new here that you would probably want to give it a second look, and, if you don’t own the PS3 version, then you will definitely want to pick up this version.
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited is available on Amazon:
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