Review | Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited
Recently I completed the fourth entry in Nippon Ichi Software’s ever-popular Disgaea franchise, or, to be more accurate, I completed the PlayStation Vita port of the fourth entry. This port, titled A Promise Revisited, brings back Valvatorez and company in both the original story mode while featuring several new additions.
First we’ll talk about the story. You take control of Valvatorez, a vampire who was once widely feared as “Tyrant Valvatorez”. One day he made a promise to a human woman, which, in combination with his honor led to his ultimate downfall. Vampires need blood in order to retain their powers, and Valvatorez, who refuses to break any promise that he makes, had promised this woman not to drink any, thus resulting in him losing the power he once had and turns into a Prinny Instructor.
The game picks up as Valvatorez’s obsession with sardines continues. His loyal servant, Fenrich, constantly tries to get Valvatorez to drink blood, even attempting to spike his sardines with it, but Valvatorez always manages to realize what’s going on and remains true to his promise, to the werewolf’s dismay.
After a brief set of tutorials, Valvatorez promises a group of Prinnies a sardine each, causing a great cheer to erupt amongst them. Before he can fulfill his promise, however, they are stolen as the Netherworld has decided to exterminate all Prinnies. Outraged at being unable to fulfill his promise to the Prinnies, he leaps into action, and, as a result, gets caught up in a rather lengthy adventure.
For those worried about the elements of Disgaea, you can rest assured that all are indeed intact. You have a hub area, where you can prepare your characters for battle by purchasing items, armor, weapons, and healing. When you wish to advance the story (or enter the Item or Chara worlds to improve equipment/characters), you will enter battle, which takes place on a map filled with enemies, geo blocks, and (at times) other items. You can deploy your characters to attack, support, defend, lift, and throw (allies, enemies, and objects) with the simple goal to defeat all who oppose the sardine loving vampire and his crew. As you battle, you will gain experience, mana (used to improve abilities), money, and even items.
The Vita version of the title features every bit of DLC released for the PlayStation 3 version, which may be enough in and of itself to warrant many to pick up the game once again. If not, however, you should note that several other additions have appeared in the Vita port, such as a Cheat Shop (once you have passed the bill in the Senate, of course), Character Painter, and Weapon Editor.
The Cheat Shop, as the name implies, allows you to cheat, adjusting the mana, money, and experience that each battle gives. In addition, you can change the difficulty of the enemy level, making them more challenging if you feel like you’re breezing through the game or just want the extra difficulty. Because you can alter the money, experience, and money, if you just want to enjoy the story, you can drastically cut down on the amount of grinding that you need to do in order to progress.
Up next are the character and weapon editors. These allow you to change the colors of your characters (with some of the schemes costing money) or even the appearance of the weapons that you wield.
The Innocent Warehouse makes its Disgaea 4 debut, allowing you to store the Innocents that you locate in the Item World. In addition, the Senate will have some brand cameo characters for you to recruit. Hint: If you’ve played Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention on your Vita, you may want to keep your save data on your handheld.
The biggest additions include the PS3 DLC scenario titled The Desco & Fuuka Show, which offers a new storyline in which the two sisters are the stars with Fuuka aiming to reincarnate. In addition to the DLC scenario is a Vita-exclusive storyline that follows a brand new character named Nagi Clockwork. This scenario, called The Nagi Clockwork Time Leap, features the new woman as she travels back in time in an attempt to stop the war that occurred 400 years prior to the events of Disgaea 4.
Combined these scenarios are almost as long as the main game’s scenario, and can easily take a gamer over 80 hours to experience everything. And that’s without taking in mind the online elements of Disgaea 4, such as Netherbattle, which is a pirate editor for custom ship and crew creation, or the map/base editor, which allows you to take on additional user-created challenges.
To be honest, my only slight disappointment in the game stemmed from the difficulty. Honestly, I felt like other games in the series were much more challenging, and, being the kind of gamer who craves challenge, this is a bit of a drawback for me. That said, I actually enjoyed it more than the Vita version of Disgaea 3.
Overall, if you enjoy strategy RPGs, I would say that Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited is a solid investment, even if you already picked up the game on PlayStation 3. That said, if you have grabbed all the PS3 DLC, you may want to wait a bit for the price to come down, as the new shops and scenario may not be enough for you to justify picking it up again at launch.
Final Score: 4.5/5