While Disgaea 6 doesn’t drop in North America for Switch until June 29th, the demo for the game is already available on the eShop for free. I’ve decided to check it out, and here is my first impression.
By the looks of it, most of the major systems that you’d remember from Disgaea 5 are there: Quests, Squads, the Skill Shop, they’re there. By the looks of it, the Rage charge feature is out. But as you may expect, mainstays like the Dark Assembly and Item World will be in the final game, even if the Item World is unavailable in the demo.
As far as the gameplay mechanics go, they weren’t broken, so it’s great that they didn’t try to fix them. Okay, they are broken, but in a way that one would expect from the SRPG that deconstructs the genre and embraces everything about SRPGs that make them look overwhelming to those outside looking in.
The first obvious thing that makes Disgaea 6 different is the graphics. I’m not too fond of the idea that the colorful, stylized sprite art has been thrown out in favor of cel-shaded 3D models. Having said that, they don’t look bad, either. Would it have been too much to ask to have given the models outlines so that they’d look more like anime characters, considering that’s what they were going for?
However, when characters use skills, the animations feature more anime-style models with outlines. These look great. But it also makes the lack of outlines for the regular character models more conspicuous by reason of their absence.
I mostly ignored the story in Disgaea 5, because I didn’t really like it early on. But from what I’ve seen of the story in Disgaea 6 so far, it’s actually interesting. It starts out with the main character, Zed, and his dog breaking in to the Darkest Assembly. There is a meeting in progress concerning what to do about a super-strong overlord wreaking havok. Zed comes in claiming that he already beat the overlord, and from there, it seems that much of the game’s story is Zed recounting to the Darkest Assembly how it happened.
That’s actually pretty clever. If I were to get the full game, I might actually pay attention to the story, this time.
One thing to know about this game is that it’s one of those odd instances in Japanese media where the characters look childish, but the game has humor that more geared towards grown-ups. Even at the game’s outset, it hits with some pretty hard language. That goes to show just how much more laid-back Nintendo has become when it comes to the games that are made for it’s systems. But it might not be a bad idea to wait until the kids are in bed before having a go at this one.
If you’re worried about how the power creep has been hitting the Disgaea series, it pretty much hit Disgaea 6 like a Buick. It’s my understanding that they upped the level cap. That’s right, the game series that’s famous for having characters that could reach level 9999, and have stats in the tens of millions, has actually gone beyond.
What’s more, you also battle higher-level enemies early on, but you also gain more levels at a time, and start out with far higher stats. So, even though you’re playing with higher numbers, mechanically speaking, the game seems to flow in much the same way as previous installments.
While I haven’t given it a try yet, it’s my understanding that there’s an auto-battle feature to help take the edge off the repetitive grinding that you usually see out of this series. As odd as that might sound to console gamers, auto-battle and skip features have been a staple in cellular games for years. It might turn out to be a very welcome QOL feature for fans of a series famous for it’s mechanical power-leveling.
The save data from the demo is supposed to be able to carry over to the full version of the game, so if you really hack away at it, you can get a substantial head-start by the time the game comes out.
Would I buy the full game? Maybe. At this point, the main thing I’d hold against it is that the change in graphical style is a bit of a departure from what I’m used to seeing out of the series. Other than that, it’s looking like Disgaea 6 might actually be a winner.
Strike that giant enemy crab, for massive damage.