One year after it's initial release on the Nintendo Switch, Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny finds new life as a complete edition containing all the game's DLC included. This new re-release also means that the western release is no longer exclusive to the Switch as it's now available on Windows, Playstation 4 and Playstation 5. Disgaea 6 is a strategy RPG that sees the player undertake the monumental task of defeating the God of Destruction. We follow Zed, an average zombie who, along with his zombie dog companion Cerberus, use the power of the spell super reincarnation which allows them to repeatedly revive stronger each time after every death in the hopes they will become strong enough to defeat the God of Destruction.
As I stated in my previous review of this game on the Nintendo Switch, I found the exclusivity of the game on that console both to be a good and bad thing. With Disgaea 6 having a huge focus on auto-battles and grinding levels, it makes a lot of sense for the game to be on a device that can be played both at home and on the go in portable mode. The portability of the Switch really lends itself well to games where you want to play it but have only limited time as you busy yourself with daily life. Gaming on the go, during a spare half hour on a train during a commute or a quick fifteen minute break during work, is the perfect environment for Disgaea 6 where you can just grind some levels and keep an eye on things as the game plays itself. However the major issue I had with the Switch version was that with Disgaea 6 boasting the most amount of levels, damage and numbers on screen at once, you could clearly see the hardware limitations in handling this aspect of the game. In particular I found the battery drained very fast as the console struggled to keep up with the game, causing frame rate issues and loading hang ups at times. Thankfully playing this on the PS5 has resolved this issue.
The PS5 version of the game is the definitive version and way to play the game. The system handles the crazy high numbers generated by the game with no issues, there was zero delay in any action that was taken and the game loaded between screens effortlessly. It genuinely felt like the game managed to level my characters faster than it did in the Switch version. Obviously the portable aspect is lost, but the PS5 version makes a great game you can have on your TV in the background when you're reading a book or listening to a podcast during the auto-battles. Plus, with Steam getting in on the action, Steamdeck may become the de-facto way to play on the go.
That's not to say that the game is more fun the less you play and allow the game to run itself. The game does have clever mechanics, notably the new AI introduced in Disgaea 6 - Demon Intelligence. The closest comparison I could make to any other game system is Final Fantasy XII's Gambit system, where you have a menu and board of commands that have certain conditions. For those who enjoy programming or have any knowledge of SQL/Databases they'll find the where, when and if conditions very familiar. This allows the player to create a set up where you can instruct characters to use skills, attack chests and heal at the right times, all without needing to enter any commands. Its a rather clever system that aids in level grinding.
On the subject of grinding, much like previous games Disgaea 6 is all about the player raising their characters' levels as high as they can only to reset them and start the process over. This mechanic is so important this time around that it has story relevance, via the Super Reincarnation that the characters experience on a chapter to chapter basis. While some may question why you would reset levels after raising them so high, think of it like a rogue-lite game where dying and resetting may start you back at the beginning, but you retain abilities learned, bonus stats and gain skills and abilities that let you level faster. Along with this, each character has specific bonus tied into completing certain actions known as D-Merits. These are earned by raising a character's level to 99, 1000,9999 etc. They are also earned from other things like raising classes as well as taking a certain amount of, and dealing, damage. These achievements will aid the player in gaining levels and stats quicker with rewards such as increased experience and Karma.
Karma is the currency used by individual characters to gain bonuses and stat increases upon reincarnating. This can be earned by completing D-Merits but can also be earned via the Juice Bar, a mechanic that allows players to boost their character. Other facets of the series make a return such the cheat shop which allows the player to adjust the difficulty and ratio at which the rewards from battles are distributed. To start with, the player can only adjust the ratio between 90% to 110%, but after each chapter the player can reduce one aspect to 0 and boost one up to 500%. This makes levelling, gaining mana and money very trivial later on. Also returning is the Item World, where your characters can enter an item in order to boost the level of it, gain bonus items and even farm innocents which can be taken and applied to other items to boost them. The game has a lot of mechanics that thankfully get a tutorial on first use and are available for viewing in the help menu.
After playing this game last year, the story with its twists and turns was still fresh in my mind. However, I still found the story to be rather funny. The dialogue is still witty and comedic. The story is rather lacking compared to other games in the series and the cast, save for a few stand outs, are not all that memorable - regardless, the game has plenty of charm to tide things over.
The big question with this release is whether or not to buy Disgaea 6 if you already have it on the Switch. For me I would say so, especially if you haven't already bought the DLC for Nintendo's version. Should you be happy enough with the Switch, or portability is a major issue for you, you might want to spend your cash elsewhere, but you'll instantly see the difference on PC or PS5, making it clear that this is the definitive version of the game.