Game Review: Disgaea 5 Complete (Nintendo Switch)


The Nintendo Switch is soon becoming the console of choice for western publishers of Japanese games and it all begins with NIS America’s release of Disgaea 5, a game which was previously released onto the PS4 but is now being re-released with all DLC Content in this ‘Complete’ Edition for the Nintendo Switch. So; with this being said what does Disgaea 5 have to offer? Well let’s take a look!

  Title: Disgaea 5 Complete
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Audio: English & Japanese
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1
Online Players: N/A
Install: YES (9.4GB)

Over View:

Originally released onto the PlayStation 4 during 2015 as Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance this Nintendo Switch version, renamed to Disgaea 5 Complete, features the original base game with all previously released Downloadable Content bundled together for the complete home-come-portable experience. As a result of this, and the fact that the Nintendo Switch is both a home and portable console, makes Disgaea 5 Complete the ideal starting point for anyone interested in the Disgaea franchise; including myself!

That’s right; despite owning both PlayStation Vita installments, as well as the TV anime adaptation that’s based upon characters from within the PSP games, Disgaea 5 Complete is my first ‘real’ introduction to the world and boy what a crazy world it is!

Disgaea has often been known for its unique gameplay style and over-the-top characters and it’s clear to see that my expectation of this was not disappointed. For instance each character encountered within the game has their own unique personality and trait which – when accompanied with the rather impressive English dub track – makes the characters come alive on screen even more than they already are. To me this is an impressive trait; especially when you consider that most of your time will be spent staring at on-screen-dialogue rather than actual gameplay or moving characters – but alas this is the type of game that Disagaea 5 Complete is.

So; what exactly is Disgaea 5 Complete? Well on the one hand Disgaea 5 Complete is a turn-based-strategy game with JPRG elements and on the other hand we have the text heavy dialogue that you would come to expect from a visual novel. Don’t fret though as there is balance between the two gameplay styles.

The dialogue will act as a way to introduce and debrief players on the events of each gameplay segment while the gameplay segment itself, which is separated into missions (or quests if you prefer) will see the player control various characters around a map in order to defeat all enemies on screen.

As this is a turn based game, and in grid form at that, players can only move characters a certain number of spaces – with different characters offering different distances and responsibilities. I won’t spoil all the details here (mostly because of how varied the characters can be); but some characters will specialize in long range attacks while others are best at close range and these ‘differences’ are reflected in the number of spaces they can move per turn. Additionally if characters are placed near the same enemy combos can be activated; which in turn deal a great amount of damage to enemy located near the characters pulling off the combo attack.

This moving restriction can be overcome by stacking characters and throwing them across the map; however be warned throwing Prinnies (the iconic blue penguin) will result upon them exploding upon impact. The throwing of Prinnies is fun to watch, and can cause damage to your opponent; but it does remove that character from your party completely and can harm trust with other Prinnies you plan to recruit.

Naturally in order to defeat your opponents easily it’s best to find a balanced team; a feat which can be achieved through the games recruitment system that is located within the hub world of the game. The hub world is an interesting place and acts as the games center of attention. It feels like a hotel lobby, due to the number of characters wandering around, but here players can purchase new equipment and items, take part in side-quests and even recruit new team members – with players even being able to specifically request a certain type of character. This hub world also acts as the players gate-way to the missions of the main story; all of which are played out in episodic fashion.

You read correctly; Disgaea 5’s story is played out in episodic fashion with each episode having a ‘previously’ and ‘next time’ segment – just like you would find in your traditional TV anime episode. It’s an interesting quirk and it is one that I personally welcome it as it means that those who are unable to play for extensive periods of time can do so in these ‘episodic’ chapters as each chapter only lasts around two hours in length.

The inclusion of these ‘recaps’ also means that those who don’t play the game often will remember what previously happened in the game. Of course with the Nintendo Switch being portable this aspect of the game does not hold as much value as it did on the PS4 – as you can simply take the Nintendo Switch everywhere you go and continue the story anywhere, anytime – but alas it is still a nice little feature.

Speaking of the games progression; Disgaea 5 Complete is a story that takes place within the Netherworld (i.e. the Demon World) of the universe and sees you take control of Seraphina, a sheltered princess and overlord of the Gorgeous Underworld, who plans to retaliate against the overlord of the Netherworld, Void Dark. During her quest for vengeance Seraphina befriends Killia, a mysterious character who has history with Void Dark and is also seeking revenge. As a result of this shared interest Killia (reluctantly) teams up with Seraphina as they begin to progress through the Netherworld in hopes of defeating Void Dark, all the while meeting new characters and expanding their team.

It’s simply a quest of vengeance, or revenge if you prefer, on Void Dark and although it is a simple quest it is nothing short of complex due to the games extensive amount of characters and terminology. Personally for me I cared less about the evolving storyline and instead opted to focus my attention more on the characters themselves; especially Seraphina and Killia.

Basically as the game moves forward we begin to learn more about these characters, such as their interests, dislikes and personality style as well as the real reasoning behind their hatred towards Void Dark. Sure enough there backstories are part of the bigger overall story; but I just found these characters to be more entertaining and engaging than the main story of the game – which interestingly enough is how I feel about Hyperdimension Neptunia games.

From my experience Disgaea 5 Complete provides an exceptional amount of entertainment through the comical use of its characters and the situations they find themselves within. Don’t let the turn-based-gameplay put you off from trying Disgaea 5 Complete either; as thanks to the ‘very detailed and informative’ step-by-step tutorial newcomers will become a newbie to master within a very short period of time. This tutorial is exceptionally well done and – as with the rest of the game – throws in it’s own quirky charms as well.

Even if you are not a fan of turn-based-games Disgaea 5 Complete has something to offer that everyone can enjoy and with this Nintendo Switch version we now have the best version of the game available; and better yet it runs on par (if not better) than the previous PlayStation 4 release.

In short if you are looking for something fun and different to try on your Nintendo Switch then Disgaea 5 Complete is definitely worth your attention; and this is coming from someone who is a complete newbie to the series. It passed my expectations and I thoroughly enjoyed what was on offer.

Score: review-stars-5

Disgaea 5 Complete is now available worldwide for the Nintendo Switch and is available as both a Physical and Digital release. A Limited Edition version, which includes the games soundtrack, is also available from NIS America’s online store and Nintendo’s own online store.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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