Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless - PS5 Review

Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless by developer Nippon Ichi Software and publisher NIS America Inc.Sony PlayStation 5 review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher. 

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes.

Welcome back to the Netherworld doods! A magical place where the demons are over the top in their particular quirks and the adorable plentiful Prinnies are just waiting to explode when thrown at your enemies. Unless they are your enemies, double bonus!

Spinning its own quirkiness, Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless takes us to a realm dedicated to Bushido. Or it would have if it had not been almost eradicated by an organization that would give even the Corrupternment (Disgaea 4) a run for its money. Who says we can't have over the top and satirical takes on history?

Note: Please be aware that this review contains some spoilers either in the text or in the screenshots taken during gameplay.

I enjoyed Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny but there were some elements that made it harder to enjoy from a gameplay perspective because it became so hands off. The auto battling style system on top of the originally established Demonic AI system. The millions of damage and the super amounts of health which made doing math even in the starting chapters a nightmare. The story was fun, but why move everything around manually with those massive on screen numbers when the system can do it for you? 

So imagine my surprise when I launched the demo of Disgaea 7 to see the same well presented hilarious dark humor with the new great full in 3D character models supported by a more classic system. Disgaea 7 removed the auto battling but left the Demonic AI for only after a stage had been completed once. It removed the ability to deal millions of damage from the beginning and even into the low level 100s. It removed a fair amount of the gameplay features that made Disgaea 6 unique, but then threw in its own spin on the turn-based tactical RPG genre. 

Switching over from the demo into the core game, the enjoyment that I had just experienced continued. Disgaea 7 is the story of Fuji and Pirilika as they attempt to restore Hinomoto's Netherworld for their own reasons. Fuji? Needing cash, the rich Hinomoto Otaku Pirilika is just the ticket. Having learned everything about Hinomoto from romanticized dramas, Pirilika is first in line to wage war to restore this Netherworld to the romanticized version she believed it to be! She will have her sushy!! 

Note: The spelling of things in this game are hilarious.

As fans of the series know however, the starting over the top hilarity will soon show its darker depths as truths are learned. I wouldn't have this series any other way. It doesn't stop or drop the sarcasm or the hilarity, but it shows that there's always something deeper worth your time to fight for. To get there though, this journey will take players through a variety of gauntlets each with their own spin and there's no real right way to do it. Only your way! 

Do you bulk up a few Warriors and Martial Artists with hit point bulking items? Do you go more ranged with Archers and Gunners and mow down the crowd before they can even get to you? Or do you go for the ultimate glass cannons of witches and wizards with healers for support? You'll most likely find yourself making a combination of all of the above to be able to adapt to any situation alongside your main cast with their own unique quirks. 

And if that doesn't work? Cheat. This is the Netherworld doods, why the hell would you play by the rules!? Back again in order to help you do this is the Dark Assembly where you can pass bills or legislation such as the famous Cheat Shop. There are other bills to be passed like having your characters move, throw and counter attack past the default values, but the Cheat Shop allows you to decrease one aspect and increase the hell out of another one. Need cash? Reduce weapon experience. Want a lot of experience to level up faster? Bring everything else down. The enemies only get tougher so why would you stay at their level?

Even with that said, things will get tough and I swear I found myself originally going in circles before poking at the Dark Assembly to see if there was anything that could help. My characters kept dying, which meant I had to keep paying to bring them back but the cash flow wasn't there. Then? Found something around the lines of Netherworld Hospital Gacha. Gacha system? In my Disgaea? Qu'est-ce c'est? 

The Gacha system out of the Netherworld Hospital is the best damned addition to this series. Alright, maybe not best, but up there! The Gacha system replaces the original rewards system that was present for healing hit points, mana points and reviving downed characters. Now, instead of getting a reward for a certain amount of each, you now get points to be used in a randomized system. Do you get special items that can easily boost your battle prowess? Or do you get loads of experience and cash money dollars instead? Either way, it's all in your favor as you can keep getting these items, money and experience. None of them are one time deals like they used to be. 

And all of these elements help to boost the best part of Disgaea 7. The core strategic turn-based combat which is a great combination of new and old elements to the series. Going back to the good old days, back is a system that rewards the use of weapons types in combat instead of having to learn it all with Mana in a shop. This alone made me so, so happy. I've had issues with the mana system if only because certain characters could thrive while others became useless as mana is generally only accumulated on a kill. 

The return of the old school also took away one of my favorites however, tower attacks. You can still stack your characters ten high, but only the one carrying the stack can do or gain anything. This makes grinding new or reincarnated characters harder, but with some more powerful gear and throwing them into certain squad configurations, you can make it work. 

What I truly, and I mean truly enjoyed in the new, is the ability to undo your non committed moves. Moving and throwing can both now both be undone in sequence if they don't give the result that you were looking for. Once upon a time you had to simply deal with a bad throw. Not anymore!! Now? Now you can undo a whole set of whoops or a whole set of moving and throwing because you didn't actually need more than 4 or 5 characters to pull it off. 

If that wasn't enough though, there are other really neat tricks to keep up your sleeves… if you have them. Looking at you half the character models! For the main cast, starting with Fuji but then expanding a bit as they are acquired, characters with founding weapons can go into what is known as Hell Mode that provides a big boost for a few turns. If that wasn’t enough, while in Hell Mode, each character gets a unique and super powerful ability that can only be used once Hell Mode has been activated. The catch? If this move is used on the first turn, Hell Mode is terminated and your character goes back to normal.

But who wants to be normal dood? So on top of Hell Mode for those select few, which yes, will include your enemies from time to time, EVERYONE has access to Jumbification as long as the RAGE meter is full. Don’t ask me why that one is in all caps, it’s just how it’s written on screen. No seriously, just look up! Jokes aside, Jumbification can be a game changer, and that is true for both you and your enemies. 

When a character gets Jumbo sized, they take up an entire corner of a map. A bonus for being that size is that they get a stat boost and normal attacks can hit a fairly wide radius on the map. A special bonus is that if a character was close to death? Well they are healed, and this sucks when it’s the enemy, so it’s a good thing that once a character is jumbo sized that there’s a special option to hit another jumbo sized character. The upside and downside to all of this though is that once units get close enough to the edge, they can attack those in Jumbification. 

It’s a double edged system that has one last twist to it. All depending on the character, or unit type if it isn’t a story named character, will have an ability attached to being jumbo sized. Ninjas? They increase the dodge rate for everyone. Ceefore for example, yes, C4, and yes, she loves explosives, explosions and the smell of gunpowder, will bring down fire resistance for everyone, so be wary if there are any fire based wizards or witches around that aren’t yours!

And finally as something of an interesting twist, the ever famous Item World is in a twist of fate, not mandatory. This world has been mandatory in every single entry since the original Disgaea back on the PS2. This time however? You are free to visit when you want to, there’s no requirement to have to go through it for your very first level 10 item. I really enjoyed this as I was dreading that first entry. Funny enough though, I went into it anyway and then actually stuck around for much longer than I normally do that early in the game. There was some serious grinding done for exp!

Is any title perfect? No. Does Disgaea 7 feel damned near perfect for an SRPG? You’d better believe it dood! Everything about this entry, including some rather nerd rage-inducing boss fights, felt fun and well designed to test you while still making it a good time as you traverse the Hinomoto Netherworld.

 Score: 9 / 10 dood!