Expanding beyond the norm, 'Disgaea Infinite' slows things down for an interactive tale of desserts, assassinations, and a time-bending pocket watch.
'Disgaea Infinite' is a departure from the quirky strategy epics we are used to from the Disgaea brand. Surprisngly, 'Disgaea Infinite' doesn't have much action at all. Turning away from its strategy backbone and side-scrolling "hero-esq" departures, Nis America (the North American outlet for Nippon Ichi) ventures into the unlikely formats of an "interactive" storybook of sorts. Luckily for Disgaea, Nippon Ichi has always been very clever in their writing, and this is no different in Infinite. Like previous games humour is very important, and if this game can't make you laugh, you have a cold, cold heart. So if you're the type of Disgaea gamer who has always loved the idiosyncratic narrivtive in Disgaea, we have a game for you.
Fan Service 101
Starting from the beginning, 'Disgaea Infinite' takes the main "heroes" from the original Disgaea and mixes them in with a few of the star pupils from 'Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice.' Knowing each character is not crucial to appreciating the new adventure. However, the more you know the better it is, and in all honesty, most of the gamers who are interested in 'Disgaea Infinite' will be returning customers. Nippon Ichi has a loyal base of fans that has empowered the Disgaea brand to grow past a videogame into other media forms like animated films and plush toys. If you're a fan, you are a die-hard. There isn't too many casuals here. Sadly, 'Disgaea Infinite' isn't the type of game that will create more loyal fans, if this is your 'Disgaea' starting point. Sure, the story elements are highly important to each game in the series, but the action is the sweet spot that brings everything home. Keeping that in mind, 'Disgaea Infinite' feels more like a sprinkling of fan-service more than anything else.
Prinny: It's Up to You
In 'Disgaea Infinite' you will be tasked with controlling a Prinny who snowballs himself into some serious trouble. This Prinny, which isn't unlike any other Prinny, was lucky enough to be stationed in Overlord Laharal's kingdom, as he serves under him as a devoted vessel. Earning almost no pay, and working long hours (maybe he is really a gaming journalist), this Prinny's world is shaken when a Lord Laharl is almost assassinated. With the help of an a magical time manipulating clock called "tick-tock," the Prinny rewinds time to help solve the mystery surrounding Laharal's assassination attempt.
Now if you wondering what's the big deal about the assassination attempt, there really isn't, Laharl is used to that behaviour (Flonne), and it's not the assassination that kick-starts this adventure, it is the temper tantrum that followed with an infuriated Laharal taking it out on the poor Prinnies by reversing their wages. Yip, you pay him to work. Solving the mystery will cause Laharal not to spaz out, and that's good enough reason for our hero to go into action.
The Netherworld's Phil Connors
The gameplay takes place in the form of a visual novel with a set dialog path that moves along on a specific plotline. Your character is often used as an onlooker has the special power to "sometimes" posses someone. If you're not watching your character on-screen, you will be watching any number of the Nippon alumni converse. The goal of the game is to follow the right path and hope everything works out for the best. If you screw up, and you will, you are sent back to specific checkpoint to start the whole process over. -- Think Bill Murray in Groundhog Day -- This causes 'Disgaea Infinite' to become a little tiresome, if you are not making any headway. Repetitiveness isn't a huge issues since the dialog can be skipped, but I wouldn't have argued if they wanted to add more variety.
Easy Breezy, Pressy Repeaty
You would think the childish premise and the juvenile actions of the cast would mean the game is easy breezy. Well, its not. Solving the mystery can be oddly complex, which stems from the lack of direct control over your extra powers, or your character. You will always be waiting for a prompt, and if it doesn't show, well, too bad. 'Disgaea Infinite' is also frustrating, and equally confusing with the one aid you get, a time-table chart. As a game, 'Disgaea Infinite' doesn't offer up much. Now aren't you glad those Prinnies are so damn cute.
If you are overly ambitious you can try and work through the game to uncover the alternate endings. However, this is for only the most dedicated. If you can stomach the dialog multiple times then expect to complete the entire game in a few sittings. 'Disgaea Infinite' is a short game, but it's quality over quantity, right? Thankfully, the price point for 'Disgaea Infinite' reflects this with a $19.99 CDN price tag.
Little Action, Lots of Charm
The presentation in 'Disgaea Infinite' is the typical animated sprites, dialog box we are all use too from a Nippon Ichi production. 'Disgaea Infinite' might not be the most technically advanced title, but it makes up for that with charm. If this is your first Disgaea title then you are about to meet one of the diverse group of characters assembled in a game. Nippon has built a franchise out of the quirky and 'Disgaea Infinite' only extends this. The audio aspect of Infinite is up to par with other Disgaea titles with all the voice actors returning to portray their Netherworth alter egos. The distinction between the characters and the delivery is superb and a highlight of 'Disgaea Infinite.'
'Disgaea Infinite' is an interesting "alternative" in the Disgaea series. Heading down the interactive novel path isn't exactly what most Disgaea fans had in mind. However, for the love of the characters and the chance to take another journey into the bizarre fun-loving Netherworld, it's worth enduring. Keeping that in mind, 'Disgaea Infinite' is rather short, absurdly bizarre, and a little too odd for non-fans. 'Disgaea Infinite' is pure fan service and that is ok. Non-fans, if you don't mind a little bit of the "odd" and you want a good laugh, 'Disgaea Infinite' is worth checking out. The price is right, just don't expect too much "gaming" out of this novel-like adventure.
Gameplay:7.0, Graphics:7.5, Sound:8.5, Innovation:6.5, Mojo:8.0 Final: 7.5 / 10
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 06.23.10