Disgaea 4 is the fourth game in the Disgaea series. While the third Disgaea had a school setting, D4 is a more mature outlook involving politics (well depends on if you view politics to be mature). The previous Disgaea games have all been great games, each one getting better than the other. Although Disgaea 4 is a whole new ballgame, and it is easily the best of the series.
Disgaea 4 takes place in the Netherworld and the protagonist, Valvatorez is a Prinny Instructor with a passion for sardines. Although he is a vampire, he refuses to drink blood until he fufills a promise to a human he made while he was a tyrant. Accompanied by his trusty vassal, Fenrich a werewolf who seems to have more up his sleeve. His undying devotion to Valvatorez is both honoring and binding. The President ordered a mass extermination on the Prinnies in the Netherworld. There were too many corrupted souls entering the Netherworld and there was not enough money to house them all. Outraged by this Valvatorez and Fenrich go on a quest to usurp the regime and for Valvatorez to become the new president. This is politics, and not everything is how it seems.
Gameplay: Disgaea 4’s gameplay is very similar to previous Disgaea games but there are a lot of enhancements as well as some new changes. First the skill combo system so prominent in Disgaea 3 has been taken out all together, while this was an important attacking method in Disgaea 3 why it was removed is unknown. The Item World now has two different paths to take, the Innocent Boost and the Item Boost paths. Traveling the Innocent Boost path gives a higher chance for you to encounter innocents. The Item Boost path allows more item spheres to appear to increase the levels on the item as well as give more boosts. Item World Pirates have also changed. Low Level pirates now appear near the beginning of an item. Whereas before they didn’t appear until level 80+. This allows reverse pirating to be done earlier.
The tower system returns with some upgrades. With the appropriate ability acquire the player can now move towered allies around the map. You can also pick up items while in a tower as well. Map creation has been introduced and you can make your own maps for other players to play over the network. Your home base is also customizable. Gaining more items requires the use of CP which is acquired by playing other maps from other users as well as others playing your creations. Pirate ships can also be created and parts are scattered across maps.
Capturing enemies did not have much purpose in previous Disgaea games. Now they can tell you where their treasure is, provided you “convince” them. In Disgaea 4 there was a classroom where your characters would join groups to gain boosts. The same aspect has been provided in Disgaea 4. There is a giant map and more and more areas become unlocked upon the completion of story mode. Placing “Evil Symbols” on said map allows the characters to receive boosts. These boosts include more EXP and Mana.
New items like mushrooms have been added. Upon throwing a mushroom each one bursts and has a different effect such as increasing or decreasing an allies’ or enemies’ level. Once of the biggest changes is the Magichange system. Now two monsters can fuse and create a giant monster. Then the giant monster can magichange into an item to make a giant item. Then two giant monsters can fuse and make two giant weapons to dual wield. This grants the user all abilities and evilities the monsters posses.
Many old classes are returning from previous Disgaea games, including the Dragon and Gargoyle from the original game. New classes such as the Bouncer, Android, Onmyo Monk, and the Battle Suit make their debut as some ways to break up the monotony of the same classes. In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness there was a senate to propose bills to to gain new items, character classes and quests. The same thing has returned, but with a catch. There is a chance a senator from other games will show up in your hearing and they are pretty much a wild card.
Story: The story of Disgaea 4 is fantastic. In typical Disgaea fashion the game is funny, but retains a serious atmosphere as the universe is on the brink of being destroyed. The characters are incredibly unique and no two are the same. Fuka, the failed prinny who refuses to accept the fact she is dead, Desco the human creation who wishes to become the final boss, Death Emizel, The president’s son who is desperately trying to prove himself, and Vulcanus (?), a mysterious angel who loves money who has a mysterious past. The story is engaging, just like how it should be.
Sound: The voice acting of course is spot on and Troy Baker is the voice of Valvatorez. He does a fantastic job and it is his personal touch that makes this character so likeable. His speeches are very much like Kamina’s from Gurren Lagann, which is an awesome touch. The music is whimsical but also very serious because of the new atmosphere. The sound effects are crystal clear.
Graphics: The graphics have been revamped to HD sprites and they look amazing. Everything is incredibly pleasing to look at and the character artwork is fantastic.
Disgaea 4 is easily the best game in the series in terms of storytelling and gameplay. It is a great JRPG from NIS and they should be incredibly proud of their game. It treats fans the way they should be, like gamers. The difficulty is challenging and it has loads of replay value with different endings. Disgaea 4 gets a 10/10 for being just plain amazing. Disgaea 4 is available exclusively for the PS3. Happy Gaming.