When it comes to playing the game your way, Disgaea 7 is a tactical marvel. Maybe not since Looking Glass’ Thief games has a player been given so many different options to advance their own way.
But Disgaea 7 feels more like a spinoff than a mainline sequel, lacking some of the charm of its predecessors… Particularly, when it comes to the music and plot setting.
– This Disgaea 7 Review contains minor spoilers. The game was tested on a PlayStation 5 console in ‘Graphics’ mode.
The Pros and Cons of Disgaea 7:
– Options, options, options! There is a myriad, infinite amount of ways to form, upgrade, recruit and customize your squad in Disgaea 7 to advance the main linear story.
They have refined the Disgaea formula down to a science and it feels like a game from the early 2000s in a good way. Back when games like Thief and GoldenEye 007 gave you goals but allowed you freedom to choose how you arrive there.
You could even ‘Skip to the End’ from the Dark Assembly given you have 5,000 mana and a favorable audience. Time flys just running around the base talking to other characters and shops.
– ‘HL’, the currency in the Disgaea series has meaning again in Disgaea 7. It’s not pouring from all corners of the universe any longer and you even have to strategize which characters to heal or not early on. You can’t just stock up on endless health/mana items and face no challenge basically.
However, this could lead to an unbalanced squad where you have a few mains and wait for story characters to be added to your team rather than upgrading ‘generics’.
– Jumbification is just plain fun! Even if it’s basically Dynamaxing from Pokémon Sword/Shield. Actually if you didn’t power up Fuji enough against jumbified boss Yeyasu, you’ll likely find yourself in a one strike death situation.
This forces you to grind yes, but when you’re powerful enough to withstand a ‘Gigaster’ attack as a ‘Kaiju’, it makes Disgaea 7 that much more satisfying.
– Noticeably improved performance. Unlike Disgaea 6’s release date sluggishness on the Switch, Disgaea 7 runs buttery smooth in combat (albeit on a PlayStation 5).
However, when returning to base from battle, it’s worth a mention that there is a noticeable millisecond lag when you take Fuji downwards to heal up the team.
– DLC Store is available as part of the base (like recent Disgaea predecessors) and there’s no microtransaction hell to escape. Sometimes no change is the best kind.
– Cel shaded visuals are pretty to look at, well refined past Disgaea 6’s elementary intro to 3D Disgaea. Base is an aesthetic piece of art. Specials are especially beautiful. All that being said, the hand drawn 2D Disgaea sprites of old still look better… Maybe they always will.
– The Disgaea 7 plot sometimes feels more reminiscent of Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters with the frequent references to Otaku culture. The Bushido setting is kind of out of place for Disgaea, making you feel you’re playing a spinoff in the same universe.
– Characters are likeable but don’t really leave the same impression on you like Laharl, Etna, Flonne or even later sequel mains like Valvatorez. They feel somewhat spinoff-y while Disgaea 6’s Zed felt right at home, particularly character design wise.
Because Disgaea’s gameplay has always been strong, you don’t really think about it. But Fuji reminds me more of a light Disgaea demon version of Final Fantasy 7’s Cloud (only caring about HL money) than a one of a kind Laharl. * ‘Daughter Ao’ withstanding.
– The lift/throw mechanic has somewhat lost its novelty when you’re constantly planning your moves forward based on it. Disgaea 7 is the first Disgaea ever where I wished lift/throw was restricted in some manner (or maybe even done away with).
Better to have ‘cozier’ maps where you could simply advance your characters to enemies without planning who’s throwing who every turn.
– Some will like music pairing for the Bushido setting… But for me, the music composition lost the full sense of a Disgaea game. The charming whimsical tracks are gone.
It got to a point I switched the base music to the general store’s so I could have that classic Disgaea feel. Really, the music makes Disgaea 7 not feel like a mainline Disgaea game, but a spinoff.
Discovering Tenpei Sato is not the composer for Disgaea 7 confirmed my gut feeling that this was not just a experimental music phase but a different composer (Takeshi Matsumoto) entirely.
– Too many options? If you’re a long-term Disgaea player, you’re used to the game’s mechanics and endless customizations. You’re open to more. Casuals or new players might be overwhelmed and scared away.
– Tendency for closeup camera to be blocked by part of the map when zoomed in on the action, making selecting squares take an extra step. This rarely happened in the 2D Disgaea titles.
– Events before and after every map start being tiresome. Too many story events. Sometimes you just want to start playing without even confirming a skipped event. The way it used to be in games.
Found myself speed reading through the text later on, when earlier I was listening intently to the voice acting line by line. When it comes to voice acting by the way, I would say Yeyasu’s dub voice work was the most memorable.
Disgaea 7 Review Score: 8.4
The sophomore 3D effort, Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless is much more refined than Disgaea 6 gameplay wise. If you’re looking for a strategy RPG/Tactical RPG to enjoy grinding/upgrading your character in, Disgaea 7 is a great bet.
Disgaea 1, 4, and 5 are still the top contenders of the series in this reviewer’s opinion.
– You can purchase the Disgaea 7 Deluxe Edition now at Amazon.
Full Disclosure: NIS America provided The Natural Aristocrat® with a review copy of Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless for the PlayStation 5 console.
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