Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny launched on Nintendo Switch in June 2021. At that time, it was difficult to have a real conversation about the quality of the game. It was so heavily plagued by performance issues that discussing it wasn’t worth it. Be it the hardware’s limitations or just lazy porting, the choppy framerate ruined the gameplay. A year later, and Nippon Ichi has ported Defiance of Destiny across to PC as Disgaea 6 Complete.
The strategy JRPG’s transition to PC comes with some obvious benefits. For one, the numerous performance issues of the Switch port are all gone. You can play with the visuals cranked up at a high resolution without any notable frame drops. It’s a huge improvement over the Switch’s options of 60 fps but blurry, or sharper visuals with the smoothness of a slideshow presentation.
A little more
Furthermore, its rebrand as Disgaea 6 Complete isn’t just for show. The enhanced version comes bundled with all of the base game’s DLC included. This DLC mostly consists of fan-favorite characters from past Disgaea games, plus the Hololive Collaboration Set. The latter released as a collaboration with the popular Vtuber agency and features reskinned and voiced units based on some of the talents.
As a heads up, the DLC is completely unbalanced and will trivialize large chunks of the game. Especially the base story, which isn’t hard to complete in the first place. After all, this is Disgaea we’re talking about. The franchise as a whole is renowned for having little to no gameplay balance. This is the series where levels reach the millions, the experience reaches the trillions, and damage reaches a number so big I don’t even know what to call it. Regardless, it might be worth holding off on the DLC until your reach the post-game for a purer experience.
Anyone who has played any of the previous Disgaea games should know exactly what to expect from the story. All of the characters are caricatures with larger-than-life personalities. The story is just as ridiculous, with your party being tasked with taking down the nameless God of Destruction. Why? Because he’s a real bad guy.
To be fair, I am oversimplifying it a little. As the story progresses, characters like protagonist Zed and his zombie dog companion Cerberus get some vital character development that helps flesh out their motives. There are also a few interesting plot points that aren’t too easy to predict without paying attention. Plus, as always, there’s a tremendous amount of humorous dialogue and charming character interactions mixed in.
The main problem I have with the story is that most of the characters are too simple. Even though past Disgaea games never had a serious story, they still managed to create meaningful characters that people fell in love with. The likes of Valvatorez, Fuka, and Usalia from past games are popular for a reason. They are fun characters with well-explored motives and well-written personal character growth. That same level of development does exist in Disgaea 6 Complete, but it’s exclusive to a handful of characters. It’s unfortunate, but most of the main cast doesn’t get the respect they deserve.
On the battlefield
For the most part, the tactics aspect of Disgaea remains unchanged from past installments. Like before, you can summon up to 10 units onto the field, which usually consists of a mix of frontline tanks, ranged damage, and supports. The composition you use doesn’t matter too much for the main story, but it becomes very important in the post-game.
Disgaea 6 Complete introduces a handful of new classes to add some variety to your composition. This has resulted in fewer classes overall, though. I imagine the reason for this is related to Disgaea‘s transition to 3D. This is the first installment to move away from sprites in favor of 3D models. It’s a good look, and is very well executed, but Nippon Ichi would have had to create everything from scratch. Doing so for every class was likely deemed too much work to justify.
While the battling hasn’t changed much, the way you interact with it is totally different. Disgaea 6 Complete adds a feature that is long overdue: auto battling. Reaching the end game requires a lot of grinding, so an auto battler is a nice addition. It removes some of the tedious aspects of the post-game where you’re forced to do the same thing over and over to progress.
It’s also one of the best implemented auto battlers I’ve seen in any JRPG. Rather than just having generic presets to instruct the AI with, the game implements a flow chart mechanic. This allows you to give specific units more defined instructions as to how they should act during auto battles. For example, you could set a support unit like the Clergy to check for their allies’ health levels, heal them if they’re low, check their own health, heal themselves if they’re low, or attack an enemy if none of those statements are true. Having this level of control makes auto battling surprisingly skill-based, as you have to consider how the AI can get the best use out of each unit.
The only downside is that it can sometimes feel as though battles aren’t worth playing manually, as a well thought out auto-battle strategy is often the fastest way to clear a stage. I think its use should have been limited to grinding in the item world and other nonessential stages. Having auto-battle available for key stages tied to progression feels cheap and detracts from the story somewhat.
A weaker entry in a great series
While not a bad entry, Disgaea 6 Complete isn’t the best that the series has to offer. The removal of several classes, its overly simplistic characters, and the general lack of new features hold it back. All in all, this is probably the weakest game the series has released since Disgaea 2. That isn’t a great look given that this is the most expensive game in the series.
But that doesn’t mean that Disgaea 6 is a bad game by any means. There isn’t really a bad game in the entire franchise. This installment makes an effort to implement some standout features. The auto battler is a game-changer for the post-game grind, making it easier to work through. And the transition from 2D to 3D has been done extremely well, which isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. We’ve seen other franchises throughout the years struggle with making the jump. Even so, I’d recommend newcomers to consider trying either Disgaea 4 or Disgaea 5 before playing this.