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It’s been a little more than two weeks since Disgaea 5 was announced for the PlayStation 4 and earlier today Nippon Ichi Software announced a release date for Japan.

 

The demo, which will be available to download on the PlayStation Network sometime in October, challenges players to clear three battle stages with barely any exposition included. So if you were hoping for more story or details, Nippon Ichi isn’t providing them at this moment. This demo was specifically made for Tokyo Game Show, something Usalia (the girls riding an orange Prinny) says to players in the first stage.

 

What the demo does provide is a good feel of Disgaea 5’s new play mechanics. In particular, you’ll get to see how the Revenge and Demon Artes system mechanics works, as well as what the new game will play like now that the battle map can show up to about 100 enemies at any point in time, thanks to the processing power of the PlayStation 4.

 

In all three demo stages, which are differentiated by their respective difficulty levels of play, your party is flanked from all sides by hordes of enemies such as Prinny, Orc, Grizzly, and Anibus. For instance, on the Easy stage there were around 42 enemies on the field (if I recall correctly), in addition to your party of up to 10 characters — two groups of nine enemies (Prinnies and Orcs) to the South, two groups of nine enemies to the West, one group of five to the East, and one Anibus to the North.

 

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The high number of enemies on-screen made it easy to trigger Revenge, which activates when party members are slain.

 

Killia, the protagonist in Disgaea 5, and his friends are not the only characters that can trigger Revenge. Enemies on the battlefield can do so too. In fact, a few of them immediately did on my very first turn, after I used Killia’s Big Bang fist and Seraphene’s area-of-effect Terra Fire magic on bunches of enemies. I wasn’t even fully done with summoning all of my 10 party members into the play field when it happened, as I triggered the battle phase mid-way during my turn.

 

According to the Disgaea 5 demo attendant at the TGS show floor, when enemies are in Revenge mode, their stats are improved, and they also gain access to a super move of some sort — whether or not this super move was a Demon Arte was unclear.

 

As this was the Easy stage, the enemies were easy to kill even in their powered-up Revenge form. But in later stages, leaving a couple of stragglers behind in a flock of nine enemies you tried to wipe out could end up being disastrous for Killia and gang, if they were to all activate Revenge mode and gang up on a single party member with their special attacks. In Disgaea 5, it’s dangerous to go alone, so have your party members travel in sub-squads.

 

I found it difficult to trigger the Revenge mechanic for Killia’s party members in the Tokyo Game Show demo. This was never explained thoroughly in the demo, but when Kilia’s party members started dropping like flies left, right and center while I was attempting the Normal difficulty level stage, Revenge was never triggered.

 

So I tried to activate the various characters’ Demon Artes instead, in a desperate attempt to try and clear the stage. Unfortunately, not all characters can activate their Demon Artes right away.

 

Of my entire party, the only one who happened to have her Demon Arte unlocked was Usalia. Her Demon Arte allows her to transform into a piece of equipment that you can then temporarily put onto a party member nearby similar to the Magichange system in other Disgaea titles. This will replace one of the weapons or defense items equipped by the party member with Usalia, providing a stat boost. There is also a cutscene that shows Usalia transforming into a giant rabbit head that plops itself on top of your chosen party member’s body.

 

Where you choose to activate these Demon Artes will be the key to getting through some of Disgaea 5’s toughest battles, the demo attendant at the show floor explained. In this case, although a party member Killia in my case was powered up due to Usalia’s Demon Arte, since Usalia has turned into a piece of equipment, she’ll be temporarily missing-in-action on the battlefield — and the maximum number of party members you’re allowed to summon on to the battle field does not change because of Usalia’s removal.

 

You’ll be able to explore the various characters’ Demon Artes in greater detail once the Disgaea 5 demo drops in October. Disgaea 5 for the PlayStation 4 launches in Japan March 26, 2015

Cheng Kai

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