reviews\ Jun 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Disgaea Infinite Review


"Storytelling is the hallmark of great video games." That's what some gamers have tried to tell me. They insist that they play all games (not just RPGs) for the story. They also say that if the story isn't any good, the game will be ruined, regardless of how fun it is to play. If you agree, NIS America has a game for you: Disgaea Infinite. Based on the popular strategy/RPG series, Disgaea Infinite is a semi-interactive graphic novel. Laharl, Flonne, Etna, Jennifer, Gordon, Mao, and Raspberyl have come along for the ride, but they aren't the only familiar faces. Prinnies are back in full force – and in this game, you control one of them. Control, however, doesn't mean the same thing in Disgaea Infinite that it does in other games. While commanding one very unlucky Prinny, players can click the X button to speed up the dialogue, press the triangle button to access the pause menu (which contains a save option, the ability to skip dialogue, and other traditional features), or press one of the shoulder buttons to possess and influence a character. That last element is the only thing that resembles gameplay. But make no mistake: Disgaea Infinite is true to its graphic novel intentions.

Instead of animations, the game is filled with traditional 2D artwork that only changes to show the character who is currently speaking, and to reflect that character’s mood. There are, however, some amusing animation sequences that are triggered for successful interactions with the story. They use the same kind of isometric view that was featured in the first three Disgaea games, and should provide a decent treat for anyone craving a blast from the past.

During possession mode, players have the chance to watch a specific character develop, which immediately becomes an invaluable part of the Disgaea Infinite experience. Possession mode also gives you the chance to select one of three dialogue options that the Prinny can use to override the thoughts and actions of a character. If done successfully (that is, if you select a string of dialogue that alters the outcome of the story), the Prinny will cheer and the game will continue. If not, time will commence as it did before, and the credits will roll in a matter of minutes.

In that regard, Disgaea Infinite is like having a stack of comics with only one that can be read until you figure out the proper order in which the pages need to be flipped.

Unlike the semi-happy, purposely demented tales of the Disgaea strategy/RPGs, this graphic novel focuses on a Prinny with a (potentially) grim destiny. There are still plenty of quirky moments though. Once again, every character is overflowing with Disgaea’s trademark humor – silly and slapstick with a drop of wit thrown in for good measure. However, after laughing all the way through Disgaea 2, this game didn’t seem very funny. I’d like to blame this on the fact that I’ve already spent hundreds of hours with these characters. But in all but the rarest of cases, great comedies are funny regardless of what you’ve experienced in the past.

This could be a deal-breaker for some fans, especially those who were already disappointed that Disgaea Infinite lacked the series’ beloved strategy/RPG gameplay. But it probably won’t turn off those who were looking for a $20 graphic novel to read on their PSP. If nothing else, the dialogue is better than the average manga offering, and the sounds are no worse than the most annoying anime available.

Above Average

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