Disgaea 5 Complete Review

With Disgaea 5 Complete hitting Nintendo’s new portable console, free time is officially a thing of the past.


Game of (Porcelain) Thrones:

Disgaea 5 Complete” is an unbelievably content-rich package for Nintendo’s new portable console, and is an important genre ‘get’ for the Switch. In 2015, when Disgaea 5 was first released, I called it a ‘worryingly life-ruining series’ and called for it’s return to portable hardware.

Now that my wish has been granted, however, I’m a little worried: my bathroom breaks will never be sacred again. Long live the grid!!


Nippon Ichi have always peopled their offbeat games with enjoyable characters and fantastic writing. That’s still true with Disgaea 5 Complete. Some super bad dood Void Dark is leading an army of billions against the Netherworlds, crushing any Overlord who stands in his way. We see a couple of quick battles and are introduced to our two lead characters as they form an alliance to take Void Dark down, and from here on in a somewhat simple tale of vengeance turns into something expectedly wacky as the hours roll by.

Whilst few could hold a candle to the original Disgaea’s Etna, newcomer Seraphina makes a pretty good go of it. She’s a snobby, hilarious sidekick to protagonist Killia – a bit of a blank slate by comparison –who I thoroughly enjoyed watching on screen during every cutscene and story beat. There are also skits now – throwaway conversations you can either choose to listen to or ignore when they pop up that colour the world and the characters in fantastic and funny ways –which really bring a new sense of humour to the world away from the drama of the main plotline.


In terms of gameplay, if you’ve played Disgaea before you’ll know what to expect here. Disgaea 5 is as traditional as SRPGs come – at its core at least. A turn based RPG that conducts its combat within the confines of a grid, Disgaea tasks you with clearing out levels of enemies and levelling up your heroes.

Whilst this initial set up is familiar, Disgaea has always sought to twist the mould into its own devious invention. Much like any RPG, you’ll constantly be filling bars and watching as your attacks result in bigger and bigger numbers. Disgaea’s unrelenting focus on growth however is arguably the series’ trademark hit. There will never really be a moment where you feel satisfied with the levels of your allies, monsters and weapons, and the game makes sure to give you an overwhelming amount of opportunities to scratch that itch, nudging you to constantly dive into a level of some variety to increase even more bars, or reset your characters with higher base stats (and start the grind all over again)

Whilst this might sound like a circle of hell for some gamers whose game-playing time is a finite thing, for the rest of us this endless feeling of growth is an addictive beast. It helps that Disgaea wraps its core mechanic in such unique and quirky fun.

With Disgaea 5, NIS have added some absolutely ingenious little tricks that dole out their unique brand of instant gratification. At the end of the level a quick awards ceremony is held to dish out extra experience points to the MVPs of the stage, and these bonuses and rankings work wonders in the ‘just one more’ design ethos NIS have been chasing since day one. This positive reinforcement (atop countless other such systems that Disgaea has been perfecting for years now) helps keep things immediately exciting and engaging. Whilst other RPGs often look to a horizon an hour or more away– 3 more levels ‘til I unlock that new spell, 10 more dungeons and I can craft a new sword –Disgaea is consistently rewarding players for playing minute-to-minute, and for some this consistent dose of dopamine is a scary-effective hook.


  • Even more content than ever before
  • Engaging, rewarding gameplay loop
  • Fantastic fit for the Switch


  • Returning players need not apply
  • Switch’s modest battery life hurts D5C


Story - 8
Graphics - 8.5
Sound - 8.5
Gameplay - 9
Value - 9.5
Reviewer - GamerKnights

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