Disgaea 1 Complete: Nintendo Switch Review

15 years after its original PS2 release, Disgaea 1 Complete hits the Switch, giving fans and newcomers a chance to reclaim the throne to the underworld. This charming yet tough as nails package feels completely at home on the Switch.

I have admired the Disgaea series from afar but they have always felt too daunting in the past. Disgaea 1 Complete for the Switch has finally given me a chance to really dive into the game that started it all. With its cutesy anime aesthetics it may seem off putting to some but don’t let that fool you, this is an iceberg of a game that is hiding some amazing depth. Best described as a Tactical RPG and while it is certainly not the first of its kind, I can safely say that it remains one of the heavy hitters in this category for a good reason. Being on the Switch only helps to further its addictive nature and suits Disgaea perfectly. Battles can be short and snappy or long, drawn out tactical affairs that require you to really think out your strategy before taking the plunge, as one wrong move can lead to a timely “Game Over”.

The game has also certainly been given some polish in the visual department with updated art assets that look fantastic, especially compared to the original and previous portable ports of this title. There is a notable difference in every factor of the game, from character models, level tile sets, cut scene and background artwork. While certainly not too graphically taxing on the Switch’s hardware, Disgaea nails the aesthetic it’s going for. Mixing retro charm with things like its simple walking animations and some very spectacular screen filling special moves.

The story is charming, funny and full of intrigue quick to suck in any anime fans, myself included. Its “Visual novel” style story telling is something fans of other Japanese games will be used to seeing. Playing up the usual sight gags it also adds in some “Battlefield” character actions, reactions and movement to really make the most of the cut scenes. If you aren’t used to other JRPGs or anime, some characters may seem a little saccharine but every story beat and character has purpose bringing this world alive. Whether it is main story dialogue or the disrespectful comments from a random NPC, every bit of dialogue is well written and will have you quoting “Nin-Nin-Nin” or “Prinny Dood!” before you know it.

Undoubtedly the main draw to Disgaea though is the gameplay and that is where the game really shines or starts to feel a bit daunting to the newcomer from my experience. Veterans may need to readjust to the older style of play but it should all feel pretty natural. Combat is very menu heavy but the basics are quite easy to pick up and the tutorials guide you in the right direction. There are a LOT of lesser known or discussed gameplay mechanics that can help improve your odds at surviving and having someone handy that has played the series before is invaluable. Once it gets its hooks in though, you will find yourself playing stages over and over to get a little better and a little stronger. Between story missions and the “Item World” there are plenty of opportunities to get lost in with “just one more battle” – but the difficulty can definitely ramp up if you aren’t prepared correctly.

image source: Disgaea 1 Complete via NIS America

Overall, Disgaea 1 Complete is the perfect package for those on the Switch wanting to dive into this series or for those wanting to relive the story without having to suffer PS2 visuals. This is one game you can easily sink hundreds of hours into and one Switch title I would highly recommend.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Disgaea 1 Complete [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by NIS America for this review.

 

Review: Hand of Fate 2 – Nintendo Switch

Hand of Fate 2 is yet another demonstration of how good the Nintendo Switch can be, it is the perfect game to sink your teeth into at home with the console docked to your TV, then pick it up and continue the adventure when you need to be on the move.

Having never played or even heard of the first game, Hand of Fate 2 for the Nintendo Switch has been a pleasant surprise for me. The best way I can describe the game is that it is a hybrid action RPG card building choose your own adventure game (yes, seriously). The basic premise involves pitting the player against a mysterious card dealer across 22 missions, with each mission containing various encounter cards which the dealer reveals as the player traverses across them. Each mission is essentially a mini text story driven adventure with various end and bonus objectives to complete. One involved rescuing residents of a town ravaged by zombie-like plague monsters, while another tasks the player to recover four artefacts, with each inflicting a ‘curse’ condition on the player so it becomes more difficult as more artefacts are recovered.

As the player advances through the story missions, you are rewarded various cards (depending on how well you do), including encounters, equipment, resources and companions with which the player then can effectively build a custom deck to use for each mission. The game has the option of auto building decks but I found customising card decks to be much more fun and makes each mission unique and interesting; bring the card that rewards the armour that grants additional food resources for every other resource card received or just bring more encounters that dish out gold and health as rewards and a high damage sword reward card instead, the choice is yours.

However, even with careful planning, many encounters can still rely on chance. There are several mini games within encounters that help determine their results, such as throwing dice to match or exceed a target number, timing a laser pendulum to stop on a tiny moving box or spinning a wheel of cards that grant or take away valuable resources. I feel this mechanism adds to the excitement of the game and introduces a much-needed unpredictability given the player is usually well aware of what’s coming should they have constructed the decks to their liking for a particular mission. The tension of trying to execute an impeccably timed button press to escape starvation (effectively avoids restarting the entire mission) and the resulting joy of actually pulling it off is what makes this system so great.

When combat is the only way to influence encounter outcomes, the game whisks you away from the card table and into a ring-fenced battle arena for some real time combat utilising a system not too dissimilar from the Batman Arkham games, with an emphasis on building hit combos for a weapon specific special move whilst dodging and blocking enemy attacks. Here the game tosses in a diverse set of enemy and weapon types as well as companions (all with unique abilities). Although challenging, these scenarios play out much the same and proved to be somewhat a distraction from the card table, which I felt was by far the more interesting part of the game.

Presentation wise, Hand of Fate 2 is top notch, from fantastic voice acting (card dealer especially) to the beautiful Game of Thrones like campaign map to the well-designed character models, it is an impressive showing on the Nintendo Switch, especially in handheld mode. The only complaint I have here is the rather long load times when transitioning from the card table to a combat arena.

Since starting the game for this review, Hand of Fate 2 has become one of my personal top 5 games to play on the Nintendo Switch. Once the somewhat steep initial learning curve is overcome, it becomes simple to pick up and play but very difficult to put down. Highly recommend that you all add this title to your Switch games library.

image source: Defiant Development

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

House
House plays pretty much anything and everything but has almost time for nothing. A devout beat’em up fan, House enjoys a round of captain commando every now and then and can never forget spending hours in dark arcades playing warriors of fate after school. Oh yeah, his favourite console of all time is the original Famicom!

 

 

 

Review – Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles opens up like a mix of Sea of Thieves and Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild; both excelled in creating a beautiful world with a sense of wonder and adventure, which is also Yonder’s greatest strength.

After creating a character with some very basic options (although you can customise him or her throughout the game with a wealth of cosmetic options such as clothes, hair dyes and other accessories to keep things interesting) you are thrown onto the island of Gemea where the game is set and free to explore the open world at your leisure. The game world is beautifully realised; whist it doesn’t surpass Breath of the Wild (but to be fair not many have), it does an admirable job in creating a large, interesting and vibrant world with lush forests, sunny beaches and snowy mountains. Graphically, it is one of the best on the Switch.

How it looks is where the similarities end between Yonder and the aforementioned games. With no enemies to kill or levels to grind, Yonder presents itself as a slow-paced exploration game filled with rather mundane tasks. The game’s myriad of largely lifeless NPCs dish out most of the side quests, usually involving collecting various resources around the world such as fodder, wood, stones, seeds etc using a set of contextual tools introduced early on in the game. For example, using sickles to cut grass, axe to chop trees, pickaxe to mine ore and so on. There is also the ability to run your own farm by building simple structures and rearing the exotic animals found in the game to store and generate resources.

The main story quest is painstakingly simple and the only real sense of progression comes from unlocking previously inaccessible areas of the map by dispersing the ‘murk’ (a mysterious dark shroud covering certain areas) by finding enough pet fairy ‘sprites’. There is no real sense of urgency to this though, as the Murk is not at all dangerous and there is no time limit or any order in which part of the map needs to be uncovered first.

I must confess that I usually like my games with a mature and engaging storyline, deep combat mechanics and RPG-like progression systems. However, I recently played through Yonder during a month long overseas holiday and found it to be the perfect companion game for such an occasion. It is something I could pick up and enjoy for a few minutes to half an hour at a time without the stress of levelling up or acquiring better gear to take on bigger bosses. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is all about discovering its world at your own pace and having the most relaxed time doing so, and like what my 3-year-old daughter said when she watched me play, “it’s beautiful”.

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

House
House plays pretty much anything and everything but has almost time for nothing. A devout beat’em up fan, House enjoys a round of captain commando every now and then and can never forget spending hours in dark arcades playing warriors of fate after school. Oh yeah, his favourite console of all time is the original Famicom!

 

 

 

The Video Game Entertainment Curve

Originally posted on Geek Is Awesome, this handy chart should always be referenced when evaluating how a video game will effect your potential time for a social life. Which game genre / category do you fall in?

Video-Game-Entertainment-Curve

source: geekisawesome.com