By Spencer . April 17, 2012 . 4:32pm
Mao, the hero in Disgaea 3, is enraged that his father stepped on his video game console destroying it and his save data file with thousands of hours logged in. That’s about how much you have to play Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention to see everything NIS America packed inside.
The PlayStation Vita version includes all of the downloadable characters and Raspberyl chapters from the PS3 release plus four brand new storylines. Each Vita scenario is roughly the length of one Raspberyl chapter. One new scenario stars Rasberyl’s "delinquent" (really, they’re the exact opposite) friends Kyoko Needleworker and Asuka Cranekick who think Raspberyl may have a first love. Since players will snoop behind Raspberyl as she walks across the street with an elderly Geo Master, you won’t get to use her in this episode. Another story puts Almaz and Sapphire in the lead roles as they battle other Netherworld students to get their aptitude tests back. Rutile, a half-nekomata who is from the human world, comes to the Netherworld as a transfer student. She and Death Institute Majin Academy Student Body President Stella are the focus of another made for Vita arc. Defeat Stella and she might have a change of heart on which team to join.
The new scenarios take place after Disgaea 3′s main story, so you have to plug in a good 20 hours to get through it… or you can do what a demon would do and cheat. An unlock code lets you add a Parallel Wanderer to the main map who will let you load the extra episodes early. I played through Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention this way and started building my level 6 party in the Raspberyl Chapters. Raspberyl takes a leading role here and becomes a teacher at Evil Academy. You start this mode (if you cheat) with Kyoko, Raspberyl, and whatever generic characters on your team. Mao is gone and you have to "recruit" Almaz and Sapphire by beating them up. Raspberyl also runs into Vato Bros. and Gold Knuckle, both turn into powerful weapons after you defeat them.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention, just like Disgaea 3 before it, determines the level of the enemies in battle by looking at the level of your characters. The game *doesn’t* take equipment into account, so if you get the Vato Sword early you can breeze through the main story mode. And that shouldn’t be too difficult if you summon the Parallel Wanderer through a cheat code since the enemies, even special ones, are on par with your party. It’s breaking the rules, but I think that’s exactly what Mao would do if he was in my shoes.
Nippon Ichi made a bunch of under the hood tweaks to Disgaea 3 like adding Tera spells as the highest tier of magic in the game. Generic characters have unique attacks tied their class and their are Awakening moves. If a fighter is low on HP and they use a special attack like Big Swing Slicer, there’s a chance it will become Awakened Big Swing Slicer and dish out heavy damage. Maybe think of these like the Desperation Attacks from Final Fantasy VI? There are some neat strategies you can do like protecting a near-death character by throwing them back into the base panel and then drawing enemies towards it so you can pop out and (hopefully) strike with a multi-panel Awakened special attack.
Hardcore players will also appreciate the Detention Room, which now lets you bench up to 100 characters. When you’re creating new characters you can now choose their personality and select the type of voice actor. Nippon Ichi also upgraded the warehouse to store 999 items. The record shop from Disgaea 4 returns too and keeps track of your play time. Other enhancements include animated character portraits for event scenes and rear touchpad controls to rotate the battlefield. The latter kind of got in the way since I have a habit of touching the rear touchpad when I’m holding my Vita.
Here’s the thing – many of these additions are end game content designed for hardcore players. Unless you sink in dozens of hours, you’re not going to collect new rank 41 items or defeat Disgaea 4 cameo bosses Fuka and Desco. Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention is a massive game, probably the meatiest available for Vita right now. However, if you played the PS3 version you’ve seen most of it and will have to grind through Disgaea 3 to get to the new tidbits.