The first thing the NIS America rep says to me as I settle in to try out Disgaea 1 Complete, the upcoming remaster of the very first Disgaea bound for Nintendo Switch and PS4 next month, is that the voice I’m hearing is Rita Repulsa.
“It’s the same voice actress,” she explains, pointing out Laharl.
“Oh god,” I say, as the intro cutscene continues. “I hear it now.”
Though I can’t say I’m the world’s biggest fan of grind-heavy JRPGs, even I know that Disgaea is a genre-redefining classic. Still, I completely missed it when it first came out, and I’ve felt a bit gun-shy about jumping right in with one of the sequels. Fortunately, Disgaea 1 Complete is extremely For Me, or rather, fans like me — people who were turned on to the series recently and are helping to spur a resurgence of interest, much like Sega’s Yakuza series has been enjoying late. After the recent Disgaea 5 outsold expectations, NIS America felt confident in bringing this new remaster West, including all additional content that NIS has layered in over the years. The result is a solid, immediately accessible experience, with all the brightly saturated environments and adorable character art polished up in gorgeous HD.
There are a few pain points that, perhaps, stand out more to newcomers than series fans. As a turn-based tactical RPG, moving characters, ordering their actions, and executing said actions are all distinct steps requiring confirmation, which — as someone more into Fire Emblem Heroes than any conventional handheld JRPG these days — seems excessive to me. On the other hand, character banter can all be fast-forwarded right through, which is great if you’re playing in short bursts on a commute or you’re a returning player.
Character audio is dual language, with both original Japanese and English versions available (including Rita Repulsa’s Barbara Goodson). New features to the Complete edition include an Etna Mode available right at the beginning, with all the extra characters added over the years.
Disgaea 1 Complete is out October 9th in North America and October 12th in Europe, for PlayStation 4 and Switch.