Release date: October 3, 2023
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
Genres: Role-playing video game, Strategy video game, Action game, Adventure game, Adventure, Strategy
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
"Review Copy Provided By NIS America"
Buckle up, gamers! Ahead of its grand entrance, Disgaea 7 had the NIS team buzzing with promises of heeding Disgaea 6 feedback, and after two delightful weeks of play, it’s evident they weren't just blowing smoke! While it doesn’t snatch the crown from the revered Disgaea 2, the seventh installment is a robust contender in the series, outshining both its fourth and fifth predecessors.
Our adventure begins with Pirilika, a wealthy, Hinomoto Netherworld-obsessed businesswoman, finally living her dream. However, her fantasy is shattered when she discovers the abandonment of bushido and rampant power abuse. Enter Fuji: a debt-ridden, empathy-challenged ronin who, despite planning to exploit Pirilika's naivety for quick cash, finds himself reluctantly roped into a mission to secure the Seven Founding Weapons and revolutionize Hinomoto. Navigating through Hinomoto with their growing army, the duo dives deep into the rich, strategic RPG elements that hallmark the Disgaea series. With units that level up, acquire new skills, and engage in exhilarating map traversal, Disgaea 7 is a delightful dance of gaining experience, completing map missions for juicy rewards, and encountering the returning Geo Panels, that tantalizingly offer buffs, debuffs, and tactical environment alterations.
Right out the gate, the improved map design in the initial chapters of Disgaea 7 makes it evident that this isn’t just a rehash of Disgaea 6. Engage with brilliantly scaled and balanced generic enemies, and watch as the simplicity of the first chapter seamlessly evolves into a complex, yet satisfying gaming experience, keeping you on your toes through to the Item World. However, it’s not all roses. The Jumbification System is a mixed bag, sometimes feeling like a cheap trick to amp up difficulty or, paradoxically, making the game too easy in parts. While supersizing characters like Fuji and Pirilika brings some heft to the battle, an enlarged Prinny just doesn’t hit the same, you know?
In contrast, Hell Mode is a delightful innovation. With Founding Weapons that require strategic planning and critical timing to unleash, this mode brings an electrifying layer of strategy and ensures each character wielding these mighty arms stays relevant and impactful throughout the gameplay. Disgaea 7 also revamps the Item World, making it an enticing destination for players looking for challenging gameplay and valuable rewards. The item rarity now influences the number of floors to explore, ranging from a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 30. With the exciting addition of Item Reincarnation, this feature is sure to captivate you, sometimes even more so than general character development.
And speaking of character development, Disgaea 7 shines brightly. With character class customization, skill acquisition, and the return of Evilities, molding your party members into formidable warriors is both intuitive and deeply satisfying. The depth of character development and a wide range of demons and monsters absent in Disgaea 6 make a triumphant return here. Performance-wise, Disgaea 7 is a smooth operator on both the Switch and Steam Deck, delivering pleasing graphics and special attack animations. And fear not, no game-breaking glitches were encountered even after sinking six chapters deep into the game.
In a nutshell, Disgaea 7 is a reassuring nod to fans who may have felt let down by Disgaea 6. It’s a joyful return to the Netherworld that not only meets expectations but invites players back time and again for its enticing additional challenges. It feels like the team is saying, “We heard you, and we got it right this time!” So, gear up and dive back into a Netherworld adventure that’s well worth the wait!