Category Archives: Playstation 4

Disgaea 5 – Initial Impressions

I don’t really know if this can still be considered “initial” impressions considering that I’ve sunk almost 20 hours into this game, but hell, we’re gonna call it that anyway.

Who on this planet who’s already familiar with strategy games doesn’t know of Disgaea? Probably no one. The fifth entry finally arrived the past few weeks (which is actually the sixth main console entry, believe it or not) and what do I think? I would say ask you why I would spend 20 hours on a game I didn’t like. This game is that much fun.

Let’s discuss the plot first. Disgaea is a series based largely on its fun characters and usually highly silly plot – the fifth game takes itself a little more seriously than past entries but still has a silly overtone. While our main character, Killia, isn’t the most dynamic character ever, I’m still quite attached to his personal story just enough to stay interested in his personal motivations. Also joining our main character is Seraphina, a succubus overlord who has poor manners and a “rich girl” attitude, Red Magnus, a beefy musclehead, Christo, an expert tactician, and Usalia, a forsaken bunny princess. There could be more, but these are the star good guys thus far.

The story has some classic shonen staples, including introducing a general early on who you cannot hope to even scratch, demonstrating a difference in power. While many scoff at the idea, I love it – it makes me want to get stronger so I can destroy her the next time we encounter this general. Killia’s motiviations prove to be, more or less, the driving mystery in the story’s plot – why does he want revenge on the big bad, Void Dark, so badly? What is it he had done to him?

How about the gameplay? Gameplay is turn based strategy RPG split into “missions”, with five missions composing a “chapter”. In between every mission you’re permitted to return to your hub world in true Disgaea style, where you can power up your units, buy items, push a new edict through to the counsel, make a new unit, interrogate prisoners….there is no shortage of tasks you will find yourself habitually doing in your downtime. The best thing is that it will never feel like “work” or “grinding” – you will feel amazing as you continually make your units even more powerful than they already were. Yes, that is what I am saying – Disgaea makes grinding fun. Before you know it, you’ll have 15 generic units that you lovingly trained to be killing machines, and you’ll love every second of it.

The strategy RPG aspect is great fun. Because of the way commands are executed, you can do team attacks and set up combinations that would otherwise be impossible in a game like Fire emblem. Leveling up your equipment in “item worlds” is a great way to get experience and money while simultaneously making your weapon even better than it already is, and you can do this nearly endlessly. It’s an addicting cycle and it certainly works.

One of the best changes to the series is that in this version your generic units will actually class up without the need for reincarnation – one of the most irritating aspects in previous disgaea games was that units would need to reincarnate back to level 1 every time they went up one class. You can also further drive class growth by putting sub classes on any of your units.

The music is great. “Moving on”, which is the hub world music, is probably my favorite hub world track I’ve heard in the series yet. It’s soothing melody will calm you every time you decide to leave the game menu on while you get a snack. I like the track so much I even listen to it while I work. Even if you never play this game, give it a listen – you will surely leave with a fond smile.

There is also the trademark goofiness, such as requesting more money from the council by getting the council members drunk or bribing them, fighting over curry, or dealing with incompetent overlords. You’ll be sure to have a blast with this lighthearted but deep strategy RPG. Just know what you’re signing up for.

Final Fantasy Type 0 – Initial Impressions

Final Fantasy Type 0 is a remake of the highly anticipated japanese-only PSP game released back in 2011 that fans have been clamoring for ever since. While not exactly in the format that most people were expecting, it is here at last in all it’s HD glory. How does it hold up though, and is it worth playing? I’ve put about 10 hours into the game since it came out, so hopefully I can detail some of the more interesting aspects of the game, and pontificate on its strengths and shortcomings. And then maybe my own shortcomings.

Final Fantasy Type 0 places you in the role of class 0 – 12 artificially created students who adhere to the will of the crystal from a city called Rubrum that oppose the empire. Unlike most of the Final Fantasy ilk, combat here is action oriented, a-la kingdom hearts (although not quite as ‘button mashey’). You’ll be handling many of the RPG elements such as leveling up, learning skills, magic, equipment, etc. Each cadet learns their own unique skills, however, it should be noted that you can only have, at max, 2 skills equipped to any one character. This forced restriction guides you into “builds” or focusing certain students on specializing on certain attacks or strategies.

The structure is established quite early in the game – you have “missions” which are essentially the story driven campaign. Between missions, you are given an arbitrary amount of time to use as you please until you become forced to proceed with the next story mission. During this free time, you can talk to your other students, gather items, take on sidequests for extra loot or commands, and what have you. Generally, talking to students will use 2 hours of your time, while leaving Academia will take 6 hours of your time (Many requests will force you to take to the world map). You can also undergo classes, which you should absolutely do at every possible opportunity in the interest of raising your abilities (Each class uses 2 hours like conversations). Oh, about the world map..

You can access the world map at any time by leaving the gates of Academia. You can visit other towns, buy equipment from other towns, take requests from other towns, other activity same prepositional phrase. As mentioned previously, many requests will have you taking to world maps inbetween missions.

The missions themselves are quite tense and insanely fun. Think of them as dungeons – you will often be exploring an area where enemies will seamlessly appear and attack you – yes, that’s right – no “random encounters” or transitions to a new plane of battle, it happens right as you are moving along. The objectives in the missions are often, to my relief, quite simple, but that does not mean the game is without challenge – the Brionac encounter is surely to be the first fight to test you to your limits. Considering I only had 3 cadets left at that point in the mission, I had to develop an absurd strategy involving the student using the bow in order to defeat him. Afterwards you must survive for a minute against a level 140 foe. Not forgiving in the slightest.

The characters themselves are likeable enough and the combat is certainly satisfying and flashy. My only complaint would be the localization, rather, the voice acting – it’s very mediocre, the kind of production you’d expect from an RPG made around 2000, not a AAA square enix game made in 2015. If the Tales series can consistently have stellar voice acting (Xillia’s was fantastic), I don’t see why Final Fantasy should suffer the same fate. Unfortunately Nine’s voice was the final nail in the coffin – Missi and I quickly agreed to switch to subtitles with japanese audio, and haven’t looked back since.

The game is certainly an enjoyable experience – feels like a darker, more “historical drama” styled Final Fantasy. I highly recommend you check it out.