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Disgaea 5 Complete Review: The Game of The Year Edition A Few Years Later

Disgaea 5 Complete is a faithful return to the PlayStation 4 original, letting you play Disgaea 5 on the go.

Review by Mike Williams, .

A few days I ago, I said that I was tired of writing "It's great that I can play this anywhere now," in regards to Nintendo Switch titles. Because it's true. The best thing that the Nintendo Switch has added to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Minecraft, is the ability to play fairly robust console-level games on the go. I'm sure some keep the system docked most of the time, but mine is always out.

Squad goals.

Disgaea 5 Complete is a Nintendo Switch re-release of Disgaea 5, which came out on PlayStation 4 in 2015. Instead of recapping the core mechanics of the game, I'll point you towards my review of the original. It is, largely, the same game, detailing the story of lone badass Killia and his motley assortment of various Overlords against the combined forces of the Emperor Void Dark. They're not my favorite cast - that honor goes to the team in Disgaea 4 - but they're still damned enjoyable and if you have to grind for hours, Killia and friends are a good bunch to do it with.

Disgaea 5 was and is a Disagea game, with all the humor, hard tactics play, and endless amount of progression systems, including the Item World, Reincarnation, Evilities, Innocents, and the Dark Assembly. It's a game that charges players to throw away hours upon hours of their lives leveling up an army to deal massive combos with billions in damage. There's a story to every Disagea, but that's not really the point of the series. In fact, for veteran fans, beating the story is an afterthought. If you want to rock Disgaea 5 Complete, be prepared to commit.

The "Complete" in title signifies that the game on Switch comes with all of the assorted downloadable content that was released on the PlayStation 4 version. If it had been released in 2015, we would've called it a Game of the Year Edition. The original game costs $59.99 and all the DLC runs from anywhere between $1.99 and $3.99 a piece, so the $59.99 asking price for the Switch version isn't entirely out of line.

The DLC is implemented just like original, with a Special Contents NPC allowing you to pick and choose which content you use. Some content is just additional characters, like Nippon Ichi Software mascot Pleinair or Metallia from The Witch and the Hundred Knight. There's three new classes: Sorceror, Kunoichi, and Celestial Hostess. There's even a free gift for all Complete players, giving you an big infusion of HL, the in-game cash.

The bulk of the extra content is in the new scenarios, each based on the main cast of a previous Disgaea game. These additions offer up some playable encounters, but more importantly allow you to bring those classic Disgaea heroes into your party. I didn't buy any of the DLC the first time around, so getting Valvatorez, Fuka, Almaz, Adelle, and Desco on my team was a real treat.

Disgaea 5 wasn't really lighting up the PlayStation 4 when it came to performance. It was a game with animated 720p sprites and rather simple backgrounds. So the entire thing transplants over to the Nintendo Switch without any hitches or major issues. There is some slowdown in certain busy levels with a full army, but it's nothing that really brings down the overall experience.

If anything, Disgaea 5 might be better off for the transition, because while I was playing on a 1080p television when I first reviewed it, the Nintendo Switch screen in portable mode is a native 720p screen. This means Disgaea 5's sprites and character art actually come across rather crisp in their standard presentation. (When they zoom in for special attacks, you're going to get aliasing and some blur regardless.) In fact, most of the art looks pretty sharp on the Switch.

I was also surprised to find the dual Japanese/English audio making the transition over to this platform, as Disgaea 5 had a fairly large amount of voiced dialog. That dialog and the signature Disgaea-style soundtrack is all along for the ride, so you don't have to worry about anything missing. In fact, NIS went above and beyond: the PlayStation 4 version had Trophy support, but the Nintendo Switch lacks any sort of system like that. So the developer went in and added an in-game system to keep track of the stuff that used to be a trophy. Neat!

Do you own Disgaea 5 already? Look, you can play it again, but portable now, and that's awesome. I said way back in my Disgaea 4 Vita review that the series has always felt better on the portable screen. For all of Nippon Ichi's efforts, these games aren't burning up the graphics charts. They can run on a variety of platforms. The Disgaea experience is one that excels in a pick-up-and-play environment: perhaps you sleep your Switch in the middle of a lengthy battle so you can tackle it later, or have grind sessions at lunch during work. For a game that can consume your life, being able to have it with you wherever you go -- oh, that's not good. That sounds like addiction.

Either way, Disgaea 5 Complete is well worth the price. If you have a Switch and you love a good tactics experience, Disgaea 5 is one of the best.

Disgaea 5 Complete is everything that Disgaea 5 was, including all the downloadable content, on a system that you can take with you whenever you go. It's the same game, but the Disgaea series has always been a more enjoyable experience in its portable iterations and that's no different here. If you own it on PS4, it's still worth a re-purchase here. If you don't, welcome to the world of Disgaea.

4.5 /5

Disgaea 5 Complete Review: The Game of The Year Edition A Few Years Later Mike Williams Disgaea 5 Complete is a faithful return to the PlayStation 4 original, letting you play Disgaea 5 on the go. 2017-05-16T17:30:00-04:00 4.5 5

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Comments 13

  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #1 SIGGYZtar 6 months ago
    On the podcast Kat was bemoaning she wouldn't have time to play the games she's supposed to review, P5, and her Gundam games. How do YOU find the time, Mike?
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #2 MHWilliams 6 months ago
    @SIGGYZtar I have copies of Persona 5, Yakuza 0, and Horizon Zero Dawn that I have yet to touch.
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  • Avatar for UnknownJones #3 UnknownJones 6 months ago
    With D3 and D4, VITA got the GOTY release. Now it's on Switch.

    If there's any indicator that the Switch will replace VITA as the destination for certain beloved JRPG franchises, it's this.
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  • Avatar for touchofkiel #4 touchofkiel 6 months ago
    Did USGamer review the original release? If so, I was wondering why bother reviewing this one at all. In a recent column it was noted that the smaller staff means a lot of big games don't get reviews, so it's odd you chose to review a re-release of a game that, by and large, anyone who's interested in already know what they're getting to. Just seems a little strange, though I enjoyed reading it nonetheless!
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  • Avatar for CipherStone #5 CipherStone 6 months ago
    I've never played one of these games, but the portability of this version has me interested. I saw there's a demo on the eShop so maybe I'll try it out.
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  • Avatar for TheeAP #6 TheeAP 6 months ago
    @MHWilliams Story wise, how familiar do I need to be with the series before jumping into 5? I borrowed one of the PS2 games ages ago, and I can't tell how connected the stories are outside similar themes.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #7 MHWilliams 6 months ago
    @TheeAP Similar styles and tone, but otherwise, the stories are mostly unconnected. You can jump from Disgaea to Disgaea without issue, with the exception of Disgaea D2, which is a direct sequel to the first game.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #8 Modern-Clix 6 months ago
    @MHWilliams So, I have never played a Disgaea game before. Looks utterly charming. My only experience with tactical RPG's comes from Final Fantasy Tactics, especially Advance, and Fire Emblem. Is this game as accessible as those for someone like me who is not the greatest SRPG player, but can still get the hang of it and still enjoy myself? Or is it overcomplicated "pull my hair out" because Japanese developers love complicated systems.
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  • Avatar for garion333 #9 garion333 6 months ago
    @touchofkiel He linked to his original review in the text of this review.
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  • Avatar for moroboshi #10 moroboshi 5 months ago
    Great game of course but the Switch version is rather technically deficient. It's 720p in docked mode, and it drops frames a LOT. Baffling really when you look at how simplistic the game is from a visual standpoint. It's simply a bad port.
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