CoN 20th Anniversary: 1997-2017
Disgaea R.P.G. (Mobile)

Posted: 25th July 2021 01:12

Posts: 739

Joined: 4/11/2004

Celebrated the CoN 20th Anniversary at the forums. Member of more than ten years. Member of more than five years. 
So I just realized there are only about a couple of days left in the magic cutie event, and while that won't be enough time for anybody to grind out every copy from the event shop, that people who are interested in playing this game should probably log in to get at least one copy of this character, and might be able to get at least one or two more for nether enhancement. Throwing yourself at the raid boss, even if you can't beat it, can get you some resources. He's a crossdressing cosplayer who is a healer with some very good buffs. You don't need him per se. I feel like the generic characters in this game are actually pretty good, but he's one of the more useful event units. Virunga from the cat cafe event is also useful since he's one of the few bow forte characters, and bows are one of the better weapon types in the game because doppelgänger is a cheap all-targeting attack, but his skills and passive abilities are a little more generic than the Love Oracle's, and there is a little over a week left to farm for points to purchase in the event shop of the cat cafe event.

The first thing I would like to mention is that this game is far from perfect, and some of that is by design. The game is designed to push micro transactions, some of which involve items that aid in your progression, such as Action Point (A.P.) Potions. Action points are points you need to spend to play most of the stages in the game. They naturally replenish at a rate of one per two minutes. They are initially capped at 100 points, meaning that optimal play involves emptying them out every hours and 40 minutes, before they stop regenerating. You can increase the cap five points at a time, as your player rank goes up and I have a cap of 140 right now. Grinding outside of the Dark Gates also seems very ineffective, how much you can grind in the dark gates is limited. You can do each stage up to three times per day, and can unlock individual runs of a given stage up to five times by using a limited supply of gate keys. People who subscribe to the nether pass can have an extra five unlocks. This is to say nothing about how convoluted the reincarnation process to raise your level cap by an extra hundred levels is, and how difficult it can be to get reincarnation gems necessary to reach higher levels. It's a very grindy game, and it is an easy, if not lengthy process to grind yourself to the point where the special events become a trivial grind.

This is a gatcha game. If you're unfamiliar with the term, I believe the word gotcha is derived from gasphapon, which, if I recall correctly, is a Japanese onomatopoeic name for a toy capsule dispenser. You know, those machines where you insert a few quarters to purchase a random toy encapsulated in a plastic shell. Gatcha games game revolves around collecting different characters through the summoning processs. You earn nether quartz as you play the game, or buy it with real world money if you're so inclined, and spend it for the chance to unlock characters. The actual characters you get are randomized, with odds dictated by the banner you pull from. The polite way of putting it is that it is like buying a booster pack of trading cards. The contemptuous way of putting it is that it's like playing the lottery to get the characters you want. Making matters worse is that you typically don't just want want one copy of the character: You usually want several (Normally anywhere from two to eight) to upgrade them with nether enhancement. You can also use Nether Enhance with rainbow prinnies or prism shells, but given that they are the rarest of the recurring resources, you may find yourself hording those like you horde the limited supply of elixirs in a Final Fantasy game.

I really hate the business model of the game, both of how how it negatively impacts gameplay balance and how predatory it seems. Being more specific, I could see somebody with poor self-restraint spending way too much money on this game for the mere chance of getting what is functionally the equivalent of character D.L.C. The fact that some characters are very likely going to be one-time deals, usually because they are going to be licensed I.Ps. from other companies (Seven Deadly Sins, Re: Zero and Attack on Titan characters, although some N.I.S. characters such as the La Pucel, King Kikerchoskoy and Archangel Flone might be limited as well, since they haven't been rerun yet) is also annoying, but I guess I can't complain about it too much since it is offered as a free to play game, and I am a free-to-play player rather than a paying customer. In the past few months I feel as if I have gotten a reasonably large collection of nether-quartz, although since many of those gems were from since expired promotional codes or given as compensation for screw-ups on the part of the company, I don't have a sense of how many gems I can expect to reliably get over time is. So far I have 67,612 quartz saved for special banners: Gorgeous fest, anniversary and the aforementioned collaboration banners mostly. I did summon on some special banners before, but I plan to subside on the one free daily summon until some of the better opportunities arise.

Having gotten those major complaints of the game out of the way though, I actually do like the game itself. This is a sprite based game, where the sprites almost look hand drawn, and because special characters are a large part of the monetization model, some of the character designs are very interesting, and that doesn't only go for the lottery units, but the event characters as well. I mean I generally like R.P.G.s, but the combat system has been rather well thought out for the most part. It's a traditional R.P.G. with a five person party somewhat like Final Fantasy IV, although instead of A.T.B. per se, it has an action gauge system that operates more like charge time from Final Fantasy Tactics: Speed influences how often characters can take turns and in what order over time, but it's not running while you are selecting your moves.

I think the thing I like most about this game is that there is no inventory: Instead your characters get a fixed amount of skill-points (basically M.P.) every time their turn comes up, and normal attacks have the random chance to become team attacks which are not only more powerful, but give you a few extra S.P. depending on how many participants decide to join in. Fights consist of multiple waves of up to five enemies, with the average number of waves being three.

In a normal R.P.G., having an excessive inventory of potions can make it too easy to bail yourself out of a tight spot, and the fact that characters only ever seem to have a fixed number of M.P. in a fight without using mana potions means that if you are out of M.P., that mage type characters are unable to do anything useful for the remainder of the fight. In this game, figuring out how to save up S.P. and when to spend it can be highly strategic, assuming that you are not overpowered for the fight to the point where you can clear out entire waves without thinking, but characters who survive for long enough will eventually be able to use some of the special skills which make them interesting characters to use.

You might think it's easy to simply build up excess S.P. on the last enemy of a wave, and it can be sometimes, but the game prevents this to an extent. You can't just pass a turn to keep the enemy alive indefinitely. You either have to attack the enemy, and risk possibly killing it, lift which forces you into a sort of attack on the next turn or cast a spell, which consumes S.P. Granted, some of the spells are less costly than the amount of S.P. you restore per turn, but they are generally some of the less effective boosts and ailments, and like in Pokemon, you only have up to four skills active on a character at any given time, so the cost of being able to do that is kind of sort of wasting one of those slots. I mean magic boost and Braveheart are always useful skills, but they are perhaps not quite as useful as mega magic boost, or mega braveheart, and you do not necessarily want these support skills on the main damage dealer you want to strengthen.

The limited supply of M.P. is something that has always annoyed me in other R.P.Gs., since spell casting abilities offer some of a game's more interesting abilities, but you never feel like you can use them without running the risk of making a character useless, and for this reason I have often fallen back on moves like Osmose or Chakra to make sure that I have an unlimited supply of M.P., which is sometimes game breaking, but the way in which S.P. is carefully managed usually makes level matched content feel more or less well balanced without locking your characters into a what is practically a state of complete inaction, which is appreciable. I only wish that the game's progression curve was as well balanced in this regard.

My feelings on party building are somewhat mixed. There are limited character customization options, which is alright since there are so many characters, including four variations of each generic monster, but some of the characters seem rather similar to one-another. The passive abilities, called evilities by the game, constitute a large chunk of what dictates who goes well with whom in party composition, but aside from many being similar, if not strictly better the fact of the matter is that most of them are locked behind the Nether Enhancement mechanic I mentioned earlier, so even though I might have Sicily, who's brother supporter evilly supplies extra S.P. to sword wielders, I don't actually have it activated because I have only gotten four of her so far, so she does nothing more for a sword party than any other generic healer until I get at least two more copies.

Active skill customization is reminiscent of Pokemon. Your characters can learn a predetermined set of skills, augmented by weapon skills, but can only use four in combat, alongside a generic attack command. Unlike Pokemon, you can freely swap between any of the skills your character has learned, excepting the fact that using weapon specific skills require that specific weapon to be equipped.

If starting the game right now, I would advise that you re-roll for Laharl during the tutorial summon but despite the fact that he is a sword forte character, I would advise developing him as a fist user. Fists offer him more versatility than swords because his level-up skills are redundant with the higher level sword skills, and give him a much needed speed boost. Laharl equipped with a fist also works well with Gordon, Jennifer and Thursday due to the diversity of their weaponry, which is usually discouraged by other characters. Laharl also gains some bonus points in the Magic Cutie event, and you are probably going to want to get a few copies of Love Oracle from that (and virunga from the cat cafe event). Valvatorez might also be worth considering though. He also gets bonus points from the Magic Cutie event, and has a life steal skill similar to the dark knight. As supporter characters, I recommend keeping multiple separate thieves (they kind of dress like Yuffie with a cat hat) because they help with the drop rates of limited resources, such as reincarnation gems.

Granted, the game is not designed for you to horde your quartz like I am doing, and the problem is less pronounced with the more common characters, but the problem is that the way the game is designed can leave you regretting the summoning process, feeling like you have wasted an opportunity. It's a pretty bad idea to summon on banners without some form of pity (a gatcha game mechanic which improves the odds of getting a character, if not outright guaranteeing it, after so many summons) or else you risk being shafted, which should be implemented later, and as I mentioned before, while most of the so called "limited" characters will recur from time to time, and sometimes under much more favorable conditions, I don't want to miss the chance to get the few who won't and regret it later, so the foresight given by the Japanese version of the game is somewhat of a blessing and a curse. It takes a fair bit of study to know what to summon for in advance, and a fair bit of time to save up gems for what you want if you are a free to play player, or even buying the Nether Pass.

With Disgaea 6 finally making the transition to 3D, this is also perhaps the last huzzah of the sprite based disgaea games. Now in some ways, I do prefer the graphics of the older games, but the look of this game is certainly appreciable. The character sprites, although somewhat pixelated, look closer to hand drawn graphics than wannabe S.N.E.S. sprites. Now it's not that I dislike the look of S.N.E.S. sprites, or even some of the imitators, but sometimes it feels as if that aesthetic is overused, and it is not necessarily my favorite artistic style.

The quality of the character designs vary. I feel as if some are overly crass to say the least, and I find it odd that this game was rated T for Teen rather than M for mature with outfits like that in it (which is not to mention the succubus's Dazzling Stage move is very much like a stripper's pole dance, and would have her removing what is most easily described as her her bikini-top, if it were not for a comedic cut-away), but Nippon Ichi is good at what they do, and some of the designs like Attired Rosalyn or Anniversary Killia (not yet made available on the international version, since we haven't hit the anniversary milestone yet) actually look quite elegant and classy. I also find Noel to be especially adorable, which is one among many reasons I regret missing her particular event. I also like her auto-heal passive, and found her to be especially powerful during the New Years event when people she was a bonus point character.

Noel is an example of how some of the event units are interesting takes on generic Disgaea classes. She seem to be a Christmas themed variation of the generic mages. The animation of her special attack, decorate the tree, was also pretty cool with the way she flew up into the sky and summoned a christmas tree to hurl at the enemies. I lack access to a good image editor at the moment (Preview on the Mac is even more limited than M.S. paint, and I don't have G.I.M.P. downloaded right now), so I can't really splice the screenshots I took of it together in a way that is conducive to displaying on the forum: I can mostly just resize and crop. However this gallery of screenshots should show what I mean for now, although I will probably replace that link with a collage later.

You might wonder how I took screen-shots of a character I don't have, and the answer is relatively simple. Before most fights, in addition to the main party of five, you also have to pick a supporter character that belongs to another player. The support character is put into standby, and the standby character can be tagged in and out of battle to replace your active party-member. It's a pretty interesting mechanic, since you can use it to shield a character from attacks and generally have access to the movesets of two characters on any given turn, at least until the point in time where one of your party members is defeated, at which point the standby character permanently exits standby mode, and takes their place in the main battle formation.

Going back to character design for a moment, I recollect that Glenn was asking for recommendations for games with armored girls in them, and there are a couple right now. Aside from the sort of dubious exposures that plague female fantasy game armors that have made the term 'chainmail bikini' a popular trope, I feel as if the design of the generic Armor Knight class is pretty neat. Here's a screenshot of Attired Rosalyn with a Raijoudou bow in the front, and the armor knight with a Grasida spear cropped from the game's main interface hub screen, called the stronghold to give a good sense of what the game's graphical style is like:

user posted image

Anyway, I think the one character most of us Final Fantasy enthusiasts like is Desco. She is kind of like the child Hojo always wanted, and the shiny-orb like eyes all over her monstrous body kind of strike me as somewhat reminiscent of Zeromus, even if they are yellow and actually have pupils. She's also strangely adorable in her own right, despite being derived from the monstrous features of a video game's final boss, and vaguely reminiscent of Pinky from Pinky and the Brain, albeit smarter. Perhaps her introductory profile from the story mode would demonstrate what I mean better:

user posted image

It should be noted that of course, most of the characters come from the disgaea series of tactical R.P.Gs. There are a few characters unique to this game, but they are relatively few and far between. The armor Knight can be found in Disgaea D2, Disgaea 5 and Disgaea 6, whereas Rosalyn is from Disgaea 2 (although the outfit is exclusive to disgaea R.P.G.). Desco is originally from Disgaea 4.

Something noteworthy about this game is that it has a Netherworld History Mode, which goes over the main story cutscenes of the Disgaea games, adapted to fit into a smartphone aspect ratio. As of present, the stories of Disgaea 1 and Disgaea 5 have been adapted.

I do feel like it would be better to play the original games because some things do get lost in the transition from full fledged console tactical R.P.G. to mobile-phone turn based R.P.G. Disgaea 1: Episode 6 Laharl's challenge utilized the gameplay maps to illustrate story concepts in ways that just are not really possible with the way this game is structured for example, and you don't get to speak to the N.P.C.s in the Overlord's castle hub from that game either, but out of what is possible, this seems relatively faithful for the sort of still-image cutscenes the original game had, albeit in portrait orientation rather than landscape orientation, which can make them look a little cramped.

Anyway, I'd like to include a few more screenshots showing off the main battle screen both with and without the user interface, but right now I have to start farming reincarnation gems before daily reset. Anyway, I doubt anybody else here is playing this game yet, even though I mentioned it in the deals thread, but if you are, what are your thoughts on it so far?

I was in somewhat of a rush and didn't notice I was in the wrong section until after posting, probably since the two are similarly named and partitioned pinch.gif: Could a moderator move this to general gaming chat, where I should've posted this in the first place? I am sorry for the error and the inconvenience.

This post has been edited by Tonepoet on 25th July 2021 01:25

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