You’d think by 2021 we’d have finally emerged from the dark days of console exclusivity, but it seems we’re not quite there yet! It’s nice that plenty of games eventually see PC ports, but some titles suffer pretty hard from the constraints that come with launching on console. Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny is a great example of this. It’s a lovely strategy-RPG in the Disgaea power leveling tradition that struggles due to being trapped on the Nintendo Switch. Let’s take a look.
There’s something to be said for perseverance! Y’know, getting up and trying again when the going gets rough, that kind of thing. Zed the zombie knows the value of stick-to-it-iveness better than just about anyone thanks to his quest to defeat the God of Destruction. He’s just a pathetic zombie, after all, and who’s ever heard of a zombie killing a god? Well, every time Zed tries and fails, he’s able to Super Reincarnate and try again…and again…and again. Eventually he’ll be strong enough to make it happen. All it’ll take is a little perseverance.
If that’s the most Disgaea-sounding plot you’ve ever heard, you’re right! Disgaea 6 is all about becoming the most overpowered you that you can be. Even the numbers have all had an additional digit slapped on the end to really emphasize OP-ness of everything; this is, for the record, a little more annoying than impressive, so it’s probably best to just disregard the final digit of any given stat and level. Damage and healing numbers are represented in thousands and millions. Forget about anything smaller than that. Who cares? We’re thinking big.
The key to maximizing your gains is Super Reincarnation, which allows you to start your characters over at level 1 (where they’ll quickly launch back up to the hundreds after a single kill) and improve their base stats, growth and other characteristics via the accumulation of Karma. It’s a neat system that makes for a great loop of level, Super Reincarnate, repeat.
Combine this with the Evility passive buff system and the various skills you can teach your characters and you can start to see the possibilities spread out before you. Earlier Disgaea titles had a similar concept that served as the foundation of their endgames, but 6 really pushes things to the limit.
What will you do with all this power, though? Along with the plot maps, there’s the traditional Item World to explore, allowing you to take both characters and items to exponentially greater heights of insanity. If that’s still not enough, you can finish the game and play new loops with new gear, more powerful characters and ever-greater numbers. If you’ve ever dreamed of levelling a character up to the tens of millions, Disgaea 6 is happy to accommodate you. Dive in!
That’s not to say this is the greatest the series has ever been. There’s definitely some issues, namely with the amount of content that presumably had to get snipped to make up for the fancy new 3D character models. Weapon skills are gone, for instance, replaced with character-specific abilities that feel like they shoehorn classes into specific roles. There’s also not as many classes as there used to be, with, for instance, female Healers and male Mages having disappeared into the ether. That’s not to say this one’s not worth playing, but it does feel a little more constrained than something like Disgaea 5.
Really, the most significant issue with Disgaea 6 is the presentation. The character designs and plot are all great, of course. The issue’s more that if you’re playing this in English, you’re playing on the Switch. The little hybrid that could can barely handle Disgaea 6, chugging along in any significantly populated maps. There’s graphical options which help a little; it must be said that I’m not a fan of the increasing prevalence of these on consoles, which are meant to be a sit-down-and-play solution without these issues.
If you weren’t able to switch to Performance mode then Disgaea 6 would be practically unplayable. Of course, doing this turns all the models into smudgy, jagged-edged messes, so it’s not really an ideal solution either. Hopefully Disgaea 6 sees a Western PC or or next-gen port sometime in the near future – it’s already on PS4 in Japan and it would have been great to see that version here.
Should you prefer to play it now despite the performance issues, however, you probably won’t be disappointed with Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny. It definitely shows some growing pains thanks to the new engine and art style, but the sheer addictive replayability characteristic to the series makes up for this in spades. If you’re feeling persistent, it’s worth your while to try and try again, climbing a little further to the top each time. Level 99,999,999’s only a couple hours away, right?