Few series have been lucky enough to last as long as they have, and Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless is among the luckier ones as it entered its second decade of existence. For years, the Disgaea series has been a staple among those who enjoy a good strategy game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Since the PlayStation 2 era, Disgaea games have been like comfort food, providing endless hours of fun with some of the weirdest characters within the Netherworld. Sadly, not every Disgaea entry has felt like a winner like Defiance of Destiny, the previous numbered entry that left a lot to be desired. Thankfully, the developers listened to criticism and brought changes to make this next attempt a better package.
Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless stars Fuji, a low-ranking demon who finds unlikely allies as he attempts to take down an oppressive regime in the demonic realm of Hinomoto while finding the meaning of honour and redemption along the way. Fuji finds an unlikely ally in a naive bushido fangirl, Pirilika, who convinces the demon Ronin to protect her while pursuing her goals. See, Fuji is the antithesis of what a samurai is as he finds the way of bushido to be below him and when paired with his obsession with money (and a ton of debt to go with it), you can see what kind of character Fuji is and how the right person can manipulate him.
Disgaea 7’s Hinomoto Is Another Wonderful Netherworld Location
These events are set in the Netherworld-adjacent plane Hinomoto, inspired by Feudal Japan and many tenants the samurai follow. However, the Demon Admiral Opener has made changes that now make living here far less encouraging, and with the rise of the Shogunate, things are a shell of what they once were. So the vacationing tourist Pirilika works with her paid help Fuji to take down the admiral and restore Hinomoto to its former state. The humour and wit the series is known for are displayed and feel as fabulous as ever for returning players. In particular, the relationship between Fuji and Pirilika is vital to the success of the overall experience as it serves as a gimmick that does an excellent job of making you laugh at their banter.
Reviews of Disgaea 6 made it clear that it was a departure from the series and didn’t feel as good to play. Many reviews pointed out that it had a sound combat system, and the auto-battle mechanic was a time saver for later levels, but it never felt whole. Thankfully, Nippon Ichi found its footing and persevered as they delivered a strong entry.
In total, I cleared the story in about 40 hours, which is a sweet spot these days for many games. Disgaea as a series can be hit or miss when we’re discussing narrative, and in this case, the plot has some issues, but it’s a fun story with characters that will make you laugh. The endgame, though, is where the main challenge begins as you’re working on improving stats, ensuring you have the right team composition and weapons that’ll take you across to the finish line.
The hilarious pair begin to amass their army to restore Hinomoto to its former glory. Disgaea’s known for its strategic RPG mechanics; if you’ve played the series before, you know what to expect. For those who don’t know what to expect, you command an army of characters by ensuring you defeat the opposition before they wipe your team out. Rinse and repeat. Of course, the more you engage in battles, the stronger your party becomes, and they earn new skills to become powerhouses. Some characters excel at close-ranged combat and can cut down enemies with strikes, or you may find a spellcasting mage who can turn the tide from a distance. I’ve always found that Disgaea games always provide a variety of characters to command despite not being the most interactive or engaging.
Few games offer the ability to pick up and throw party members across the map, yet Disgaea continues throwing allies into the thick of battle to achieve victory early on. This strategic choice can lead to shortened battles against strong enemies who may not be ready for your unpredictable tactics. What surprised me this time is that monsters can follow up by doing the same when an opponent is tossed at them, leading to an entirely different approach to engaging enemies in battle.
Improved, Impressive, And Demonic
If the previous Disgaea entry turned you off, I’m happy to report that many elements that alienated fans previously have improved. A talking point has been the inclusion of the Auto-Battle ability that essentially played the game for you. Once, you could assign the same party to play the same maps, making grinding easier repeatedly. It helped take away the monotony of levelling up and progressing characters beyond their limits. When used correctly, it made for a smoother gameplay sequence but was set up so that the entire game could be played on Auto-Battle.
In Disgaea 7, the feature has been neutered with cleared story stages, one of the few places the feature is available. The feature now requires a cost for auto-battling via Poltergas, with every turn using the feature costing Poltergas. This change allows players to weigh the risks of letting the system battle for them or deciding to tackle enemies and bosses on their terms.
Combat is probably my favourite of the series, as the system is versatile and rewards experimentation. For instance, there are over 40 character classes to utilize, and each one is distinct enough that you’d want to use them at least once or twice to get a sense of what classes pair well together. The Jumbification feature battles now offer the player – where your character turns massive and delivers powerful skills from the wayside. It should be noted that enemies can also Jumbify. Knowing when to unleash the ability is critical to winning; otherwise, it’ll feel like a waste if you use it and end up wasted, especially since it only lasts around three turns before reverting to normal.
Then there’s Hell Mode, where certain characters build up the Hell Gauge during battle. Once this meter is filled, you can decimate enemies with your demonic weapons, increasing EXP and adding skills.
Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless is a step up for the series as it rights several wrongs created by its predecessor. Thankfully, it’s a much better experience thanks to these changes and with dozens of character classes and enemies, there’s a lot to digest and experience. Some thoroughly enjoy grinding it to the limit, and you’ll find it here in spades. Overall, I think this is easily the best Disgaea game in years thanks to the wealth of class options, restructured Auto-Battle, and
Review: Disgaea 7: Vows of Virtueless
Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless is a step up for the series as it rights several wrongs created by its predecessor.