This week sees the Switch launch of Disgaea 5, which won’t be the first Disgaea game on a Nintendo device, but will be the first in almost a decade. The former Sony exclusive has jumped ship to Nintendo for its “handheld version”, since Sony’s support for the PS Vita dried up years ago. Yet given the dual purpose nature of the Switch, Disgaea 5 and Disgaea as a series feels more at home here, dood.
As far as Disgaea 5 Complete port to Switch is concerned, it runs about as well as the PS4 version and includes all the downloadable content. It’s as simple as that. Unlike previous handheld versions of Disgaea, it hasn’t been altered since its launch, so if you’re here looking for a full review of the Switch port, I’d suggest reading our review of the PS4 version. However, as I play the game there’s one key difference: portability.
For me, Disgaea never quite made sense as a game you play sat in front of a TV. With literally hundreds of hours of content, usually filled with tons of grinding, the last thing I’d want is to be confined to a particular sofa or chair while doing so. It’s never been the most social of experiences so there’s never been the need, but with only so much free time the average dood has access to, this has usually ensured I preferred playing on the PS Vita or PSP.
I get that’s a personal preference and going handheld has historically come with its drawbacks, chief among them being screen size and visual quality. For as good as the PS Vita’s OLED screen was – admittedly not as good if you got the LCD model – the resolution didn’t offer the most amount of detail.
Up until now, it’s been an either or situation. Console players would get a downgraded version, while handheld versions would get more content at the cost of visual fidelity. Disgaea 5 Complete is a straight port with DLC, finally achieving parity with the base PS4 version.
It sucks a little bit that DLC is being offered for free on the Switch compared to the PS4 version, but that’s nothing unique either. I’ve already made public my views on the DLC only being for the diehard doods, and they’ve probably already bought and played the DLC on offer anyway. The reality is that only certain people will care a great deal about Disgaea 5’s DLC and that the other benefits of the Switch are the deciding factors into whether or not you purchase Disgaea 5 Complete.
Having the choice of how you play is key to the Nintendo Switch, and it’s a choice that renders the commitment to Disgaea 5 Complete a much easier sell. Purists can still have that high resolution TV experience, while those preferring to game on the go have a far better resolution to play it on than with previous handhelds. It’s the best of both worlds and with minimal compromise.
But this port does beg the following question: Should the almost inevitable Disgaea 6 release simultaneously on both the PS4 and the Nintendo Switch? Honestly it would make sense to cater to both audiences now that they’ve both experienced the latest game in the franchise in their fullest forms. It’s certainly killed off any chance of seeing PS Vita versions of Disgaea titles become viable again.
Disgaea 5 Complete feels like Nippon Ichi are dipping their collective toes into the water to see how well it’s received before deciding whether to develop Disgaea 6 for both. Certainly in this critic (Prinny)’s eyes, it’s an experiment that’s yielded results to the point where I’d say it’s beneficial to the series. To delay one version of the next game over the other now would therefore be a bit of a disservice, dood!