Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention Review [PS Vita]

Move character, set character to attack. Move another character, set them to special. End Turn. Noooooo a penguin kicked my ass!

Marcus Doidge

Contributor

Rating: ★★★★☆

The turn based strategy game, Disgaea 3, gets the Vita make over. Set in the Netherworld, the world of demons, we are introduced (or re-introduced, I’ve not played the previous instalments) to The Evil Academy, a school for evil kids and the best of them are the worst of them. Mao, the son of the Overlord, has a rebellious streak (you don’t say) and wants to become a hero and overthrow his father, but he has no understanding of love or indeed strategy turn based fighting it seems.

From the fantastically Japanese opening theme song, with flashy anime graphics and mad lyrics Disgaea 3’s presentation is top notch. Wonderfully bright, animated characters, with great English voices, full of madcap character and excitement. Sure the game is very, very talky, to the point where you will find yourself clicking ‘X’ to skip certain elements but there’s no getting away from how pretty this game looks.

Of course that’s just the talky bits. The game itself looks more like what you’d expect from the genre. Simple locations, high end, but still very 8-Bit inspired graphics and a fighting system that tells characters to move, throw, attack or special there way through the seemingly endless situations. Planning each member of the teams approach to the baddies, executing them and then hoping the bad guys don’t pull out a devastating surprise when you end your turn and pass over the enemy. Disgaea  3 is a whole lot of fun in that respect. Step by step approaches to the battles initially feel drawn out , especially with the tutorials that spell out every one of those steps but once you get going and the fun and funky flashy battle visuals kick in Disgaea 3’s charms begin to win out.

Between all that, there’s also the evolving story and many, many likable characters to meet. There’ s buying stuff, upgrading weapons, touch controls that help out with your viewing angles and make the menus more hands on and more madcap humour than you’ll be able to deal with. I’m not the biggest fan of turn based strategy games (outside of the elements in the Final Fantasy series anyway) but Disgaea 3 welcomed me in, let me know everything I needed to know and entertained me on a story level as well as a gaming level. Once I was settled in, I found myself picking up the game and playing little stints, which really is a great thumbs up for the Vita edition of the game. The longer periods I spent with the game also felt as if a momentum was building with my skills and before I knew it, I was planning my battle steps without a second thought.

 

[easyreview title="Disgaea 3 PS Vita Scoring" cat1title="Gameplay" cat1detail="It's really only a series of selections and mostly at your own pace but that's turn based stuff all over. That said Disgaea 3 does everything well, with Vita touches making everything a bit more hands on." cat1rating="3.5" cat2title="Graphics" cat2detail="Not really knowing the series, it was the flashy Anime graphics that won me over so quickly. The in game battles have that 8-Bit cuteness about them and there are a ton of graphical tricks here that really gives the game a boost." cat2rating="4" cat3title="Sound" cat3detail="Character dialogue, madcap music, battle sound effects, it's all top notch. The small Vita speakers feel full of life and each element works very well." cat3rating="4" cat4title="Replay Value" cat4detail="I'm not sure I'd sit down and play the game again but the game is big enough and in depth enough as you play it that it's lasting appeal out weighs the replay issues." cat4rating="3" cat5title="Presentation" cat5detail="Funky, bright and distinctly Japanese. The moment you turn this game on, you enter the world of Disgaea via it's wonderful presentation. So much fun, amusing and slick. Sure it talks to much from time to time but the voices make it more than bearable (well maybe not for any haters of Anime but really, who hates Anime?)." cat5rating="5" cat6title="Overall" cat6detail="Turn based strategy isn't for everyone and I wouldn't say it was for me either but Disgaea 3 turned me onto the genre with the fun and in depth approach and how it made me want to win. The story is Anime madness, the characters even more so and  the whole package, that looks bloody great, feels slick. Fans of the genre should love this Vita version, newcomers are welcomed in with open arms and gamers tempted with the idea of giving the genre another go shouldn't look any further, as Disgaea 3 would love to impress you." cat6rating="4"]

 

Disgaea 3: Abense of Detention is available to buy now on PS Vita