The Disgaea series has always been an outlier in the strategy RPG world. The first game set a precedent for what the series’ tone and mechanics would be going forward, each delivering a hilarious story about another dimension in the Netherworld. Disgaea 7 doesn’t disappoint and acts as a blend of great mechanics and hilarious storytelling that any fan of the series and newcomer can enjoy.
Disgaea 7 feels like a perfect concoction of turn-based strategy and hilarious nonsensical storytelling with only a few minor hiccups. It’s no surprise that the latest game in the series is the most refined iteration of the mechanics with some added features to keep things fresh.
The Bushido Code Downfall
The story of Disgaea 7 brings you to the far reaches of the Netherworld known as the Hinomoto Cluster. Here, we meet Fugi, a samurai whose beliefs are the polar opposite of the Bushido Code. Later on, Pirilika, a girl who loves everything about the Bushido code enters. Needless to say, the two don’t exactly see eye-to-eye but make perfect foils for hilarious situations.
These two are joined by a great cast of supporting characters with strong characteristics, like the chivalrous thief Ceefore, living-weapon Suisen, and bored swordmaster Higan. The melting pot of personalities mixes together in a great way and makes the story both fun and wacky, whether it is from random buildings exploding, or attempting to pull off the perfect heist.
While the story does have its highs, I did find myself occasionally skipping some scenes that drifted from the main plot and meandered on extended jokes. Even as a fan of the humor on offer, it can overstay its welcome and have you itching to get back to the action.
Strategically Planning Your Next Trip to Hell
The gameplay of Disgaea 7 is great and one of the best in the series. The turn-based action had me both guessing what the enemy would be doing next and savoring the moments of beating the hell out of foes that fell for my strategies. Unfortunately, while there are plenty of good aspects to combat, there are a few negatives that should be addressed in the next iteration of the series.
Starting with the good, Disgaea 7 doesn’t break the strong gameplay foundation it was built upon and includes some new additions that make things even more chaotic and unexpected. For instance, players and enemies can “jumbify” themselves through the “jumbification” process. Yes, you read that right. For Spongebob fans, these characters have Mermaid Man’s belt set to “W” for “Wumbo” and have turned massive, allowing them to demolish entire groups of enemies with a single blow.
Mechanics like this help keep the series from getting stale, but by the seventh entry, it feels like there are too many to keep track of. I often found myself ignoring some of the mechanics in the game because they didn’t feel necessary or made encounters too complex. You have new mechanics like Hell Mode and Jumbification mixed with a myriad of older mechanics like the Dark Assembly, combo attacks, character creation, item world, and the skill shop. That is only cracking the surface of everything you have access to. At a certain point, a limit should be placed to make each system feel like it matters and has a purpose so the player can remain focused on beating the snot out of demons.
Taking some of the older mechanics that no longer serve a purpose another doesn’t also fill out and replacing them would go a long way. For instance, I barely found a use for the Dark Assembly yet past games relied more heavily on it.
The Netherworld is a Great Place to Vacation
There have been many iterations of Disgaea over the years and Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless is one of the better ones and a good step up from previous titles. New mechanics pave the way for more interesting gameplay but the mass amount of pre-existing features should be cut back to help the newer ones shine.
The story matches the same beats as previous titles with some great jokes that will have you laughing and supporting characters that add more to the story in terms of jokes and weird antics. Despite all the silliness, the story does fall flat on occasion but that is only natural with this type of game. I suggest you take it in strides and soak it in a little at a time to really get the best experience rather than going straight into Hell mode and slashing your way to the end.