Disgaea has returned. Which may not be all that surprising, because it seems like you can’t keep the original game down. Since its 2003 PlayStation 2 debut, it keeps coming back. The most recent iteration is Disgaea 1 Complete for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. Which is pleasant. It is a return of a good strategic-RPG that people have known about for years and now have a chance to play on more modern consoles without digging out an old handheld or system. Which is great! But, it is also a version where people should temper their expectations when it comes to what to expect.
The keyword with Disgaea 1 Complete is prettier. Or, if you want two words, then they would be high definition. The character sprites and maps are in line with what we would see in Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance or Disgaea D2. Aside from that, most of the other changes are relatively minor. Asagi is available as a playable character. She is joined by Prism Red, Prism Blue, and Prism Yellow. Turning Friendly and Enemy Effects off in Settings will remove animations in battles, making things a bit quicker. You know, basically a few little things appear to add an extra shine to Disgaea 1 Complete.
The random name generator for units is more troublesome in Disgaea 1 Complete, though. To assign a random name you have to choose a unit, set its quality, and choose “Done” instead of entering a name to make one appear. Except if you do not like that random name and want a different one, you have to completely back out and go to the character selection screen, reselect, then go through all of those messages above to get your new random name.
The thing is, Disgaea 1 Complete does not feel as different or full as, say, Disgaea 5 Complete for the Nintendo Switch and PC. Here is the thing about NIS’ Disgaea ports. They are usually worth owning, because the company tends to add something new to the formula. Disgaea 5 Complete did not offer any new scenarios, but it gave people every bit of DLC. When Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention was released, it added four more scenarios that were similar to the Raspberyl Mode DLC for Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice. Disgaea 1 Complete has the HD elements, a few extra characters, and the skip functionality.
Where Disgaea 1 Complete really shines is as the ultimate handheld version of the game. Previously, Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness and Disgaea DS brought the game to the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS. However, neither was a particularly amazing. The graphics did not hold up as well, especially on the Nintendo DS. The sound quality was far from amazing, compared to the previous console iteration. Both were mainly notable for introducing Etna Mode and characters from Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories and Makai Kingdom as playable characters. With the Nintendo Switch version, we have an iteration with much better sound quality than past handheld ports and the HD sprites that puts it on part with Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness.
The Nintendo Switch’s unique nature also is a fantastic selling point for Disgaea 1 Complete. This is the sort of game where it could be easy to get caught up grinding characters or delving into the Item World for Specialists. It was so comforting to play the game when the system was docked on a big screen in my living room and then, if I was about to go to bed or maybe visit with some friends, pop it out of the dock and continue the game’s grind in bed or when I was not at home. The freedom is so inviting, especially if someone acquired Disgaea 5 Complete for the Nintendo Switch and was spoiled.
Disgaea 1 Complete is basically the version you get if you somehow did not play Disgaea when it appeared on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, or PC. It has all of the major features we have expected from console versions over the years and is essentially like giving Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 players the prettier and more convenient PC version that was released in 2016. This is not a bad thing! Disgaea remains a great strategy game. It is a lot of fun on the Nintendo Switch, thanks to the freedom it affords. It just is not as comprehensive of a port as people might expect from one of the NIS Disgaea re-releases.
Disgaea 1 Complete will be available on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on October 9, 2018 in North America and October 12, 2018 in Europe. It is immediately available in Japan.