Even if it seemed the Disgaea series was dead after 6 years of no new game, Zed—our undead zombie protagonist of the latest installment—proves that statement wrong. Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny reincarnates the tactical SRPG series back on its two feet ready to fight.
The strongest God of Destruction has appeared straight out of nowhere and has been destroying everything in its sight. Somehow, one of the weakest monsters of the Netherworld has risen to the challenge and acquires an unrivaled power. Known as Zed, this mere zombie takes the role of the protagonist of this story to take down this God of Destruction for some unnoted reason.
Mostly noticeable midgame, the story feels dragged out at times to promote the number of additional stages to clear. It sometimes doesn’t even make logical sense and can feel irritably repetitive. It’s to the point of wanting to sigh and utter the words, “that again.” It retains the comedy element these Disgaea games are known for, and the supporting characters are indeed unique and strong in personality, but these characters can be a hit or miss on the first impression, especially if you dislike the idea of leading as a one-horned zombie with anger issues.
Despite all of that, the story previews shown after finishing an episode have always been a remarkable sight to see. These whacky, uncolored, hand-drawn animated clips are presented detailing the plot points of each finished episode. Even if not absolutely interested in the story, these little previews are motivating enough to yearn for more. What makes the story previews good aren’t the story content itself, but the way the previews are presented. The story isn’t terrible, there is a satisfactory end to it all and most questions will be answered.
There hasn’t been a drastic change to the basic concept of Disgaea’s gameplay in Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny. The game is centralized in the hub area where you unlock new areas as you advance through the story. Players will be able to obtain new equipment, recruit characters, upgrade characters, attempt side quests, and of course, participate in the Dark Assembly.
Stages and Combat
Combat takes place on a variety of grid-based stages, sometimes even with obstacles. It’s a game where one will frequently find themself wanting to advance to the enemy or wait for them to come closer. The lift and throw mechanics come in handy to eliminate the delay caused by long distances in between, but it may feel strange to those who are accustomed to games where units advance and strike on the first turn.
The majority of the stages in the game don’t differ much. There are some that will be found with different structures, but mostly there will be obstacles the player must overcome to come out on top. Some of these obstacles come in the form of lanes that offer special advantages or drawbacks. These additions begin to appear as you dwell deeper in the game, however, there isn’t a suitable number of these stages during the story to really bear a strategic challenge. This may make it easy to lose interest in long playthroughs, especially with some of the repetitive boss battles that can get tiring. Even a different color or a slight appearance modification would have been most welcomed here.
What’s nice about combat is that there are animated scenes when a character is initiating an attack. While regular attacks are quick and shown straight on the overworld view, skills take more of a spotlight approach with a longer cutscene. These skill cutscenes will get old after time and some do appear abnormal, but they’re still great additions to behold until players have their fill. Skip and fast forward options are in place if ever needed. Furthermore, the game has many options to toggle between rather than having to hold a button down to achieve the same purposes.
Grinding and Difficulty
There isn’t a lot of grinding to be done in Disgaea 6 to complete its main story campaign. Some stages will be tough and other times players may have to regain some levels again after utilizing the super reincarnation mechanic, but there should be no trouble brute-forcing the way through the majority of the game after these conditions have been met. The well-known Cheat Shop exists in this game and while it’s not as game-breaking as its name suggests, it’s the perfect method to adjust characters’ growth. Both auto battle and fast-forward options also make grinding less of a nuisance to those who consider it as such.
While the main story campaign won’t make anyone cry for their mommy, the post game should give a much harsher time. Here is where grinding will become more of a necessity. Farming for mana to use as a currency will be required to unlock new challenges. Enemies will, of course, be much stronger; therefore, players will also need to make sure party members are up to par in level and item strength. This can be done by replaying stages and visiting the Item World. Even if choosing not to spend time in the Item World, players will have the option to send unused characters in their stead to achieve similar results.
From time to time, the quest board will have new quests to be completed. The list of quests at the start of the game will be overwhelming, and accepting them all individually is unmotivating, but it gets better after clicking the way one by one through the bulk. The game allows the list of quests completed to be filtered out, making it easier to claim their rewards rather than having to scroll through the entire long list once again.
It’s known right from the start that quests don’t play a major role in this game. Its purpose is aimed more at seeking riches rather than hunting down their completion. With a large number of quests in the game, it’s tough to worry about actually aiming to complete them. After each stage is cleared, players will most likely find several of these quests completed and a handful more awaiting acceptance.
While this review won’t go into too much detail about post game, it’s no stranger to Disgaea 6. Upon completing the main story, there will be a large number of unlocks. One of these unlocks opens up the post game, but it will require some grinding to grasp it. Although there will be less stuff to do when compared to previous Disgaea games, there’s still a handful of things to do. But accessibility will be locked behind completion. Expect to find new characters, new dimensions (higher difficulty), and boss fights here.
Graphics and Performance
New to the Disgaea series is the inclusion of 3D sprites. It’s wonderful to see this addition, but the random signature moves have been a bit strange. An example of this is how the zombie protagonist punches the air for no reason at all while talking. Other than that, everything else from the artwork to the character models has been visually pleasing to look at. There haven’t been any performance hiccups during this review’s playthrough, either.
During a match, players can adjust the camera angle with the intention of seeing characters on the stage clearer. While this is the intention, it doesn’t always help regardless of how many rotations are made. It’s not a major issue, though, and it is something that can be tolerated after getting accustomed to the way things are in the game.
It isn’t much, but I found the color alternatives to be a nice addition. It’s exclusive to the set of main characters, but these different color options have bred a breath of fresh air to the visuals on the overworld. The first set can be purchased for an affordable price early game, and the rest are unlocked after clearing the main story campaign.
Soundtrack and Voice Acting
There are a lot of nice and catchy tunes to listen to throughout playthrough of this game. Returning to the base kicks off one of the most memorable songs some may ever listen to, or at least that’s how it may feel while actively playing the game.
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny is one of the Nintendo Switch games to include full voice acting during its main plot points. Each character’s voice matches their personality well and has been a joy to listen to, including the English voice acting.
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny may have changed its art direction with 3D sprites, but it still has not managed to defy its destiny. It’s a great addition to the Disgaea series and is filled with many hours of gameplay, but it’s not quite the one to claim the throne as the best regardless of the number of super reincarnations.
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny gets a 7/10.