I simultaneously love and hate reviews like this. On the positive side, game collections usually offer such great value for money that I can find very little to complain about and can recommend them without many problems. On the downside, they take AGES to review.
Anyway, after a long, long time, I’m ready to give you my thoughts. I’ll cover each title separately and talk about them as a collection at the end of the review. The three games on this one disc are Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten and Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness. Confusing naming conventions aside, this series of tactical RPG’S is mostly set in “Netherworlds”; parallel universes containing demons with questionable morals, but this leads to a variety of interesting situations.
One of the other biggest recurring things in the games are Prinnies; pouch-wearing penguins trying to earn reincarnations through servitude. I like them.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice
Disgaea 3 is set in a Netherworld school; the evil academy, where the usual morals regarding school are flipped upside down. A good student doesn’t turn up to class and is generally horrible, whilst those who we’d praise in the human world are known as Delinquents.
Following Mao (now THAT’S an evil name,) son of the overlord and best/worst student as he aims to become a “Hero,” in order to defeat his father and become the reining overlord.
Why? His dad broke his PSP. Go figure. It’s a slight over-reaction I’d say.
I’d say it was a mistake to use this as my first foray into the Disgaea series, as there are so many ridiculously complicated systems to comprehend that I struggled to really enjoy elements of the game as a result. However, where it’s good, it’s really good and I can see why the series has endured.
The storyline is equal parts ridiculous and riveting, with fantastic dialogue and good ups and downs. The gameplay, once you get your head around it, is superb, if somewhat complicated, providing interesting challenges to each battle. And the length; wow. It’s long. But it doesn’t feel like there’s too much filler, even if there was quite a bit of grinding involved.
On the negative side, the graphics don’t quite live up to the fact it’s on PS3. Now, agreed, this title was originally released in 2008/09, only a couple of years after the system’s initial release, and a good 6/7 years ago, but when it’s released as a collection we expect more than just a straight re-release. It does feel a little like I’m back in my early teens on my silver, special edition PS2 again. BUT it starts with a musical number, so I don’t really mind.
And there aren’t enough Prinnies, dood.
Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten
Another themed game in the series, Disgaea 4 is more concerned with politics than with school life.
But before I go any further, no one quote sums up the game better than this; “His name is Valvatorez, an elite Vampire who was once feared for being a tyrant. In spite of his legend, he now spends his life in Hades, the Netherworld’s prison, admiring sardines.”
You play as said Vampire, Valatorez. Once a great Tyrant, he now teaches Prinnies to say “dood,” dood. Eternally positive, he is simultaneously both an anti-hero and a paragon of righteousness, wanting to overthrow the oppressive, corrupt regime of the Netherworld.
I immediately found D4 much more approachable and less formidable than D3, though I’m not sure why. It could be because the protagonist is immediately more likable, and it seems to explain things much better than its predecessor. I also found the characters more compelling and the storyline more enjoyable, so overall I definitely prefer it. It also helps that the graphics are a step up in this entry.
However, there still aren’t enough Prinnies, dood.
Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness.
Disgaea D2 is a proper sequel to the original Disgaea, coming almost ten years after its release, and It’s immediately clear that it’s a group of characters that the writers wanted to revisit. It’s funny, it’s classy and it’s just fantastic. There are explosive penguins, new abilities and a new system which allows you to mount minions.
The anime-like visuals return from D4 and work incredibly well with the returning class, bringing an overall whimsicality to playing as the king of the Netherworld, Laharl. He’s a likeable character, if a little whiney.
The game feels incredibly tight, as any sequel theoretically should, building on the formula and grindy, number-fest gameplay. It’s all about min-maxing, and if you’re into that stuff, this series is your wet dream.
However, it still has its issues. Once again, it’s hard to get into as a newcomer, with so many confusing systems that it’s hard to really know where to start. Also, the camera continues to be an annoyance. Overall though, it’s just as good as, if not better than D4, dood.
It’s hard not to recommend this pack. There’s an absurd amount of content here, adding up to hundreds and hundreds of hours of potential gameplay. D3 is obviously the weakest in the pack, but it’s still good. Newcomers to the franchise may struggle at first, but there are plenty of online guides which will help you to understand the subtle facets of the series.
However, I wouldn’t recommend it to series veterans if they already have all three of these titles. Why not, I hear you ask? There is nothing new here. No HD remastering, no extra content, nothing. I question why they chose to bundle the original versions and not the PS Vita Versions together, as they have new content and would have provided a reason to buy for long-time players.
As I say though, The Triple Play Collection provides three great games at a good price, with three potential platinums and hundreds of hours of playtime. It’s a great value proposition, end of, dood.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.