Promising Disgaea fans the world and delivering, 'Disgaea 4: A promise Unforgotten' is the most impactful entry since its conception.

It's a small miracle that games like 'Disgaea 4' are still being released; especially when paired up with giant AAA shooters like Resistance and action packed blockbusters like Uncharted. Still, this turn-based tactical series scurries along to eager fanboy pitter patter. Luckily for the us, the fans, it seems like NIS America has no intention of slowing their tactical train to Netherworld.

Demons, Prinnies, Angels... oh my!
In this new entry, Nippon Ichi continues to build on the solid foundation they created back in 2003. Providing another outrageous journey into the freak world of Demons, Prinnies and Angels, 'Disgaea 4' is a monumental new chapter for the series. While 'Disgaea 4' cannot live up to the original (no *new* Disgaea ever will) it is still more than worthy of another hundred or so hours that most gamers put into their games.

At its roots 'Disgaea 4' is a turn-based, grid filled strategy title that implores level grinding, loot management and character development. This is all wrapped up in a delicious sardine flavoured game that revolves around the new character, the non-blood sucking vampire, Valvatorez. Like previous Disgaea games, it's strong narrative driven tale is hilarious, over-dramatized and totally entertaining. Without spoiling too much, expect another prose of self realization along with some returning favourites from Disgaea's past.

Oh the sweet HD shine!
The presentation has (finally) been given a nice HD shine; making Disgaea 4 the “best looking” game in the series. However, if you don't want to see any shiny HD damage (most of you will) the option to return the sprites to “classic” mode is available. Seeing the art of Takehito Harada come to life in 3D is a huge check mark off the Disgaea wish-list, and a necessity if the series expects to reach a wider "graphics conscious" audience. Beyond this improvement, expect more 2D cut-scenes to push the narrative ahead; along with text and voice over dubs (Japanese and English) to present the tale. It's all classically presented and while it might not be embracing current level of production from most games, 'Disgaea 4' has its own unique charm that feels like warm, comfortable blast from the past.

A helping hand, well, kind of...
Nippon Ichi does their best to try to welcome newcomers to its anachronistic creation. However, it is still an intricate endeavor that might throw new players a curve ball. 'Disgaea 4' can be deeply involved or it can be skimmed through with just the basic concepts while remaining fun. Several mandatory tutorials are provided to help newbies get off to a fair start. The Disgaea series has always been extremely rewarding if you can make it through the initial "learning" hours. It's hard to draw a comparison because no game is truly like Disgaea, however, to give it a reference we like to point out 'Final Fantasy: Tactics' and 'Advanced Wars' as a comparison.

My, what a big Prinny you have
Aside from all the customary geo-block bashing kookiness, 'Disgaea 4' polishes up its formula with a few minor adjustments like the ability to fuse two monsters together. This creates a massive version of the more powerful monster to be used for battle. The huge monsters look impressive on the grid, but didn't prove to be overly useful in my game. The fused monsters can also Magichange into weapons (a feature introduced in Disgaea 3) to make a ultra weapon of sorts that can deliver an "ultra-super-mega-move." Fused monsters and Magichanging aren't really game-changing features, but it adds another tactical element to your game.

Table Top Disgaea?
The real gem in Disgaea, as it has always been, its level design, multitude of options and ultra deep “item world” diving specialty. All this is present in the game along a deep “Cam-Pain HQ/Support Group” system, which is managed by Pleinair. Here you can gain certain bonuses via placing your units on a top down, table-like map. Each grid on the map unlocks by progressing through the story making it possible to place a unit on a grid to gain the benefits like improved “team attack” rates and additional bonuses. Structures like “Symbols” can also be deployed on the map to give a bonus to the corresponding tile. This system had good intentions and is somewhat interesting, however it's too convoluted. Given that you also converse with the senate/cabinet here, everything just seemed easier before. If any aspect of Disgaea needs an overhaul, it's this concept/execution.

Spotlighting a few other blemishes, the fixed camera angles during combat animations can be blocked by the scenery. Secondly, the 3D characters often revert to 2D during the combat animations. These minor "issues" don't hurt the gameplay, which is good, but it does make the final product feel rushed.

Create, Share, Obsess
Continuing Disgaea's movement into the now, a "network" aspect has been added. You can edit your "item world pirates" and send them to other players worlds when connected online. Assault, duel or join other players in combat, personalize your away team and show them what true Disgaea-mastery is all about. The possibilities are limitless, and I can just imagine how crazy this feature will be in a year. Additionally you can also share your data online to prove that uber level of obsession. Lastly, you can also create and share your own levels and base designs. That's right, a Disgaea dream come true! While I didn't spend too much time designing my own levels, you're imagine is the only limit here. It's not 'LittleBigPlanet,' but its more options then we have ever had.

'Disgaea 4' is everything we expected out of 'Disgaea 3.' Finally upgraded to the next generation, it's a pleasure to see the HD shine resonate throughout the Netherworld. While the 'Disgaea' series continues to be a niche experience, it does it with addicting perfection, and for those who already love it, you'll only love it more. Without a doubt, 'Disgaea 4' is the most profound upgrade since its conception.

  • Disgaea has never-ever looked so good
  • Valvatorez is a worthy protagonist
  • New gameplay innovations work
  • Ability to create your own maps, base and pirate ships!
  • So much content, you can honestly play this one forever
  • Online capabilities only sweeten the deal
  • Quirky humour isn't for everyone
  • Grinding is a necessity
  • Besides its HD shine, there are no major change
  • Not overly welcoming to newbies

Quote:"Disgaea 4 is everything we expected out of Disgaea 3.'Finally upgraded to the next generation, it's a pleasure to see the HD shine resonate throughout the Netherworld."

Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 09.26.11

Similar Articles: Disgaea: Infinite (7.5) | Disgaea 2:DHD (8.5) | Disgaea 3 (8.5) | Disgaea D2 (8.5)


Disgaea 4
A Promise Unforgotten

NIS America

Nippon Ichi

Tactical RPG

US Release
September '11



Players 1
Network 1
HD 480-720p
Dolby 5.1
D/L Content