Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by Nippon Ichi Software and published by NIS America, Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny is the latest entry in the iconic strategy JRPG franchise. This title introduces a new visual style and rejuvenated gameplay systems, while still maintaining the unique charm and humor that Disgaea is known for. This title is available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch, a link to the game will be available at the bottom of this review.

Disclaimer – before I get into the review, I would like to thank NIS America for providing the copy of Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny that was used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review starting with the story. Please note that the plot details provided are taken from the official website, this is to prevent spoilers. I have also previously covered the available titles in the Disgaea universe on this site, you will find all links to my coverage (HERE).

Story – Zed is a boastful zombie who wallows on the lowest rung on the Netherworld ladder alongside his sister Bieko. When a God of Destruction threatens their way of (un)life, Zed must harness his unique ability of Super reincarnation to stand against the approaching menace. Along the way, he will unite with twisted and colorful denizens of the Netherworld, face challenges around and within, and see if even an undying hooligan like himself can defy the odds!

Gameplay – Disgaea 6 is a strategy JRPG focusing continuing the same core mechanics of the franchise, featuring an isometric viewpoint, anime styled visuals and chaotic turn-based combat over several narrative focused chapters. The gameplay itself remains mostly unchanged from the previous titles in the series, so I will be covering the basics before going into detail about some of the unique features of this entry.

Like the other titles in the mainline Disgaea series, the focus of Disgaea 6 is the turn based combat that takes place through the various themed Netherworlds, where the objective is to clear each stage in the chapters. Stages can feature obstacles for players to overcome, including geo markers that affect the battle field such as stat changes and providing bonuses. The markers can be destroyed for a variety of effects to occur so experimentation is encouraged.

During each stage, the player can deploy up to 10 units from the base to participate in the battle. Characters that the player controls can move, attack, use special skills and more which gives a good amount of choice for players to approach each challenge in their own way. The amount of units active in a battle can grant bonuses with other allied units when they attack, this combo mechanic can be very useful against stronger opponents so try deploy units that synergize well.

During each turn, the player is able to either execute a selection of moves or end the turn. These two options offer very different options to fit the strategy of each player. If execute is chosen, the current chain of actions will play out and allow additional moves to be made which is useful if actions are interrupted. However, if the player chooses to just end the turn, the selected actions will executed and then the enemy takes their turn.

Take care when deploying units, as any defeated characters will deplete the slots that are available to be used for the battle, but they can be switched in and out freely as long as they aren’t eliminated. The way that experience is earned is slightly altered in this entry, as general leveling XP is given to all active units at the end of the stage. Class and mastery experience is still earned from battle, with successful actions gradually increasing each stat depending on the class

Alongside the experience that can be earned during the battles, currencies called HL and Mana are earned with each successful battle. These resources are just as important as the XP that is gained during play, as they can be used to purchase new equipment, unlock new features and even create new characters. These resources are used in the home base, called the Fourth Dimensional Netherworld where the majority of the new features take place.

Here is a breakdown of some new features that you can find in the Fourth Dimensional Netherworld and some changes to existing mechanics;

  • Level limit increased – Disgaea 6 has increased the level limit from 9,999 to a staggering 99,999,999, which results in rapid leveling and huge numbers when damage is dealt. This is a change that makes Disgaea 6 one of the easier games to pick up and play, making hitting bigger numbers more attainable.
  • Super Reincarnation – this is the biggest feature to be added in this newest installment. In the Dark Assembly, players can reincarnate their units to reset them to level 1, retaining their skills, class/weapon levels and a portion of strength from their previous “life”. When reincarnating a unit, they will receive special points called Karma, which can be used to unlock new skills and enhance other aspects of that unit, making reincarnation a very useful mechanic for reaching a characters full potential.
  • Netherworld Hospital – the hospital has changed significantly in this installment. Previously, the hospital was used to heal units and revive fallen comrades. However, this time all damage is healed and defeated units are instantly revived when a level is cleared. The hospital now serves as a record of how much damage has been taken, SP has been used for skills and how many team mates have fallen, providing rewards at specific milestones. But take note that the item world hospital still requires payment to heal/revive units.
  • Juice Bar – the Juice Bar is a unique feature that can aid players in leveling up and increasing base stats. The resources that are used here are accumulated in battles, where a percentage of Mana and XP is taken from the total that gained from each stage. Additional resources for the bar can be obtained from completing quests, with Mana, XP and stat extracts. All increases cost HL with every point gained costing a point.
  • Quality of Life Improvements – there are also new additions to assist those who find grinding a little difficult or time consuming, wanting to max out their characters but have limited time to do so. For those players, there is the auto-battle, speed up and auto-repeat mechanics. Now, players can set up a total of 10 squads that will deploy from the base when auto-battle is activated, taking on the battles with commands that can be created by the player. The speed up feature will increase the speed of actions made, reducing time between turns and auto-repeat will repeat the stage over for the player without needing to go to the menus.

All of these new features and the changes to the mechanics make this entry stand out on its own, giving Disgaea 6 its own unique feel and presence. The changes made and the quality of life improvements are welcomed, as they have the capability to attract new fans to the series as well as those who may have stepped away from the title. This title manages to retain the charm and challenge that its predecessors had before it, while creating a brand new experience of its own.

Now with the gameplay covered to an extent that prevents spoilers, I will be moving onto the other elements of the game, starting with the difficulty.

Difficulty – there is a gradual difficulty curve to this release, with an in-depth tutorial that explains all the mechanics for the player to become comfortable with how to play. There is also a cheat shop that gives players the ability to modify elements of the game, giving greater flexibility over the experience, which combines with the auto features to make balanced and approachable game. This is the most beginner friendly entry in the Disgaea series, making it perfect for new players.

Controls – the control scheme is simple in its layout, with prompts on screen to remind the player what each button does. The menus are easy to navigate and there is little issue with input lag, leading to fewer mistakes being made during battles. Movement and camera control is comfortable, feeling natural when played with either the Joy-cons or the pro controller.

Presentation – the biggest change to Disgaea 6 is the visual presentation of the game, replacing the traditional sprite work of the previous entries with full 3d models, while retaining the beautiful art for portraits and story scenes. The special moves now have full animated cutscenes for each of them, ranging from a simple fire effects to full explosive set pieces which give a sense of grandeur to attacks when engaging in fun battles.  

As this is the first full 3d Disgaea game there are also graphical preferences for the player to use. These options consist of a graphics setting for better visuals at the cost of frame rate in places, performance which sacrifices resolution to increase the frame rate and balanced which meets in the middle and is my preferred choice. The frame drops only occur when there is a heavy load on the system, which is not an issue at all since it has no true impact on the way the game plays.

The sound still has that distinct Disgaea charm to it, with a jazzy lounge style track that plays in the Fourth Dimensional Netherworld, along with a variety of fun compositions featuring orchestral sounds, electronic beats and heavy rock guitars. The soundtrack isn’t the only part of the overall sound design that is a delight to listen to, as the use of English and Japanese voice acting throughout is fantastic. This title features the vocal talents of Brandon Winckler (Sword Art Online), Michelle Marie (Trails of Cold Steel) and Christina Valenzuela (Dorohedoro) being featured in the English cast.

Final Thoughts – if it wasn’t obvious by the coverage of the series on this site, I am a fan of Disgaea and the announcement of Disgaea 6 excited me a lot. I can happily say that I thoroughly enjoyed this newest entry, as the weird and wacky charm of the previous games is still present throughout this release. The story is entertaining and the voice talent really brings the world to life, with the characters each having their own personality that adds even more depth to the experience.

I can happily recommend Disgaea 6 to everyone that has any interest in the Strategy JRPG genre, I have no major complaints about this title as it maintains the quality of gameplay and storytelling that the series is known for. There is bonus content included with this game, along with additional DLC content that is both paid and free, adding extra characters, in game boosts and cosmetics for each of the characters. This is another fantastic release by Nippon Ichi Software that pushes the Nintendo Switch to its limits.

In the end, I give Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny a final score of 5/5. This is yet another fantastic strategy JRPG from Nippon Ichi Software, maintaining the wacky charm that the series is known for. The new features introduced also allow the game to stand out on its own, giving a fresh experience that players can pick up and play with ease. If you want to check this game out for yourself, a link to the game will be available below.

Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

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