The Latest

You Ready For a Story, Dood? Disgaea Infinite Review

As a fresh college grad with an ample amount of free time and disposable income, my game purchases were sporadically guided by impulse. Although this practice often habitually resulted in an gentle case of buyer’s remorse, in one instance I stumbled upon a diversion that paid huge dividends. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness became an obsession during the late summer months of 2003, coaxing me into its recesses with a plethora of items to procure and subsequently, power-up.  Further forays into the netherworld (courtesy of Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, and even platformer Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?) proved gratifying ,but having the beloved preliminary cast reduced to extended cameos was slightly disheartening. 

Therefore, it was with mixed feelings I approached the latest offering from Nippon Ichi- Disgaea Infinite. While the title offers a multi-faceted narrative based around beloved characters of the first and third game, it also forgoes the fascinating strategic combat which the series is known for. Likely, this will mean that enthusiasts of Disgaea‘s sardonic, morally-inverted characters will revel in Infinite’s humorous dialog, but leave turn-based tacticians yearning for some grid-based conflict resolution.

Series aficionados will recognize the tension that fuels Infinite’s story line, with friction erupting between a tyrannical Overlord and a devoted Prinny vassal. As the story opens, the loyal servant is toiling in the Netherworld, earning an inequitable wage, in an effort to atone for his past transgressions. He soon draws the ire of his master Laharl, who throws the hapless Prinny out the window, where the servant  lands unconscious outside the castle walls. Upon regaining his senses, the proletariat Prinny witnesses a blast intended to take the life of the Overlord. Assuming the explosion was an act of rebellion, Laharl suspends payroll, forcing the penguin-like protagonist to go back in time in an effort to avert the assassination attempt.

Unlike most JRPGs which follow a simple linear storytelling path, Infinite‘s narrative can viewed through multiple perspectives. As specific points within the game, players are given the ability to possess characters, shifting the focus of the plotline accordingly. While players are usually passive observers, sporadically they may influence a decision, instigating a ripple in the game’s continuum of events. In the end, over a dozen conclusions await players, prompting multiple playthroughs to see all the title’s minutiae. To assist players navigation through the title’s twisting narrative players are given two tools: a chart showing conversational relationships as well as the ability to speed through previously encountered dialog. Both utilities are indispensable when revisiting Infinite‘s intricate yarn.

Disgaea Infinite is a divisive piece of fan service-  one that will be eagerly consumed  by franchise devotees, while met with quizzical responses from casual fans. Whereas the original Disgaea offered a cornucopia of interactive diversions for players to lose themselves, Infinite is closer in spirit to a branching manga. While the title can’t compare to a full game (let’s hope those Disgaea 4 rumors are true), the diversion proves that even a short, scintillating gaze into the Netherworld contains enough satisfying strife to keep Prinnyphiles sustained for a week.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

44 comments

  1. AerithLovesTifa

    Thanks for the review, I’ve been waiting for your write up, Desert.

  2. KillerWhiteRabbit

    A B-? Really dood?

  3. Can’t wait for a sale, must buy now, dood!

    I loved the Disgaea Universe!

  4. Sounds like a weird little game.

  5. is it me or is Disgaea without the balles like Halo without the shooting?

  6. Thanks for the review. I’m surprised you didn’t like this more Deagle.

  7. I almost bought this today. What a coincidence.

  8. Agree with every word. I bought it last week and it was pretty fun. My Disgaea-obsessed GF love it. Me? it was cool.

  9. $19.99 is a bit high for this since D1 and D2 sell for $29.99 on PSN.

  10. No Country for Old Gamers

    I really need to get back in the Disgaea games. It’s too bad the art in 3 was so low res.

  11. Desert, I hear you talk alot about Disgaea. Where’s the best place (or game) to get into the series?

  12. Good review. I think I’ll wait for a sale. I know it could be a while but I can stick it out.

  13. Disgaea fans aren’t that far removed from Twilight freaks.

  14. Sounds like Groundhog Day a bit, am I right?

  15. Great review, dood!

    If you could most ANY Disgaea 4 info that you have that would be awesome!!! I know you guys love the NIS games.

  16. It’s funny you guys get so many comments when you review a Disgaea game. You should make a Disgaea-only spinoff site!

  17. I cant believe you have a Disgaea game less than a B. WOW.

  18. QFT!

  19. Mystic Defender

    That score seems about right.

  20. NOLA, is that you 😉

  21. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it. But the final score takes in account the overall appeal to ALL audiences- from Disgaea fanatics like myself to casual gamers who have never played any of the games in the franchise.

  22. Or vaguely like Majora’s Mask, in the way the player is allowed to travel back in time with knowledge of how game events will unfold.

  23. Maybe the hipsters talk and act too much like the characters?!?

  24. Well technically, it’s a side story game. So I understand the score.

  25. Thanks for the review. Well done, deagle.

  26. So for fans a A-, for non fans a C- then?

  27. I have a question- how come both you and SeanNOLA dicuss things on the reviews, but TideGear doesn’t?

  28. I think they just comment on the reviews they write. Since Tide writes less, less comment.

  29. That was harsh, even for me! I like to think that Disgaea fans can be people too. Not so much for Twilight fans and hipsters.

  30. So you you really not like the Disgaea series, or do you like to push Deagle’s nerd button once in a while.

  31. So is their six locations and 19 hours or does the chart scroll?

  32. I bet you to the punch, played through this on release day.

  33. I actually appreciate Disgaea for what it is, and have come to terms with the fact that I will never like the idea of grinding in an SRPG. I actually like some of the characters – I think a Saturday morning cartoon show centered around Mao would be pretty great – so maybe I would actually enjoy this one…

  34. Is there an SRPG that doesn’t feel ‘grindy’ through? You may not be leveling up popsicles but FFT requires players to have a certain level at times.

    My whole thing is that the Disgaea, Mana Khemia, and Phantom Brave games are all kind of the the same.

  35. Wait where does the game take place in the Disgaea universe? Before 1, because at the end (spoiler)

    Laharl becomes a Prinny himself.

  36. Well, I’m not a huge fan of FFT either, because I think it’s guilty of the same problem (not saying it’s a bad game, just saying it falls into the Disgaea wheelhouse).

    I guess you could say I’m more of a fan of the “old school” SRPGs, like Shining Force, Fire Emblem and Front Mission. I like when you are making a party out of characters with personality, rather than empty vessels.

    It’s sort of the Pokemon mentality: I want to play with the characters I like, not the ones that I’ve Min/Maxed to tackle this specific battle – if my Centaur Knight is good in the 1st battle, he should be good throughout, without me having to veer from the story to grind. Plus, it becomes more about the tactics that way, and less about whether or not you’ve leveled everyone up to lvl99.

    They are two different schools of thought on SRPGs, really, and I guess people gravitate toward one or the other. If you like chess, then bust out your SNES, but if you wish that you could inject steroids into your pawns, then you’ll probably enjoy Disgaea and FFT more.

  37. Tide sleeps a lot and has a super flexible work schedule, so he’s not as likely to be bored and chained to a desk as DE and I.

  38. I thought he drinks a lot of DP. I have a few cans of that, and no sleep for me for at least 4-5 hours.

  39. Yep, me as well.

  40. Thanks for the review, dood!

  41. Please no spoilers. I’m sure some people haven’t played the first game.

  42. I bought this last night. Pretty cool visual novel, but I wish it had a bit more ‘game’ to it. (There are small parts you can play)

  43. Kind of like the old debate- should mechs be fast with light weapons or heavy slow with a ton of firepower.

    I like both SRPG camps.

  44. lovely review. go toy soldiers as well!