Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading.
In this explanatory review, we’re covering Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless by developer Nippon Ichi Software:
Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless (The Explanation)
Being a series that dates back to 2023 and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Disgaea has come a long way, often going from strength to strength where its new instalments are concerned and now, having blown us all out of the water with Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny in 2021, Nippon Ichi Software are back at it again with what is one of the biggest Disgaea games to date and the perfect way to celebrate a milestone anniversary.
As we’ve seen from previous Disgaea titles, Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless comes with a brand-new setting, taking place in a never before experienced part of the ever-expanding Netherworld. It’s a trope we’re all very used to by now and it’s one that works particularly well. This time around, we are introduced to the demonic realm of Hinomoto. Once upon a time it was home to noble warriors and devout followers of Bushido, but the days of honour are now long gone and two particular demons, are about to get caught up with it all.
On one side, we have Fuji. As a demon in debt up to his eyeballs, he has three great qualities in the form of his frugality, brutality and upmost laziness. Don’t get him wrong, he’ll do anything to win a battle as even his own philosophy is “winners are heroes; losers are zeroes,” and even though he’d like to have people believe that he is allergic to gratitude and empathy, as long as Pirilika is footing the bill, he’ll defend her to the best of his abilities.
Speaking of Pirilika, although she can be a complete and utter klutz, she is positively loaded, and finally using her HL for a good cause. Her and Fuji make for unlikely allies, but most demons usually do in Disgaea games and it typically works out. Thus, with a considerate heart and a desire to see the good in others, regardless of how evil they may be, Pirilika swiftly devotes herself to fixing the change of circumstance that is drastically affecting Hinomoto. From that point on, in true Disgaea fashion, the story soon picks up the pace and takes all who play the latest instalment, on a wild ride, full of humorous dialogue, turn-based battles with some being more trying than others and other hijinks.
Having released much closer to the previous title, which in its own right is one of the best entries in the whole series, due its use of 3D sprites, features galore and improved gimmicks, Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless draws a lot of inspiration from Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny. But by no means does that make it a carbon copy of its predecessor.
Instead, by incorporating features and gameplay mechanics that by this point, have been perfected in a wondrous fashion, Nippon Ichi Software have done themselves a huge favcour by freeing up vital development time that has been put to work by making this new Disgaea easily the best looking one out of the whole bunch, made all the more complete by compelling character designs that stand out all the more.
Still, it’s not just the artwork that’s got an upgrade but the entire game, which now supports a total of 45 classes, four of which are making their debut in Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless. The four classes are: The Big Eye (a demonic creature with a massive eyeball,) the Bandit, the Maiko and the Zombie Maiden, a demon that has been brought back from the dead, whose strength increases when her allies perish.
In addition to the new character classes and all strategic measures they can add to each battle, there are of course, the new features added to Disgaea 7. Firstly, we have jumbification. Characters that can jumbify are able to grow to an elaborate size and attack any part of each given stage. Even your enemies can make use of jumbification and up to four jumbified characters can appear on-screen at one time, to duke it out in true kaiju fashion.
Then, since you can’t have jumbification without jumbilities. are special abilities limited only to jumbified characters and can vary in their benefits, as jumbilities can increase a character’s stats and damage output and even allow you to recover 20% of your health at the end of your turn. There is also Hell Mode, a useful mechanic for key characters, who just as soon as they fill their Hell Mode gauge, they can activate it in order to be able to access devasting skills that can level the enemy and can even reward you with extra EXP. But it’s not just the heroes who can make use of Hell Mode, but certain enemies.
Also, newly added to Disgaea, we have Item Reincarnation. With Item Reincarnation, players can reincarnate their items, in exchange for treasures of the powerful variety. Only, Item Reincarnation is a mechanic where players are free to get as creative with it as you want to, as the items you opt to reincarnate, will keep their initial properties, so if you were to reincarnate an idea recovery item into an axe, or a gun, it can still be consumed. Another newly added feature is Ranked Battles, as Disgaea 7 adds online battles for the first time, allowing players to go head-to-head against other players the world over, whilst relying on Demonic Intelligence, a form of automated commands that can be set for each of your preferred characters.
One aspect where Disgaea 7 has been changed, concerns its auto-battles. Having greatly all of its many benefits in the previous games, this time around auto-battles have been altered in a bid to create something that new and old fans can enjoy. Essentially, a player needs to first complete a stage before they can attempt to auto-battle it, but you will also need to use Poltergas in order to be allowed to use auto-battle and the more turns a given battle takes, the more Poltergas you will be required to cough up.
In short, Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless is easily one of the strongest entries yet. It’s packed to perfection and is an essential purchase for any fan of the Disgaea genre. Even SRPG fans in general, can find plenty to love about Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless and just in case more convincing is required, there is a demo available now on the Nintendo Switch eShop.
Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless (The Gameplay)
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Strategy, Role-Playing
No. of Players: 1 (Single System)
Release Date: NA: October 3, 2023 | EU: October 6, 2023
File Size: 6 GB