#1 Posted by PoisonJam7 (324 posts) -

As someone who has never played any of the Disgaea games, which one should I start with? I know that Hour of Darkness is supposed to be one of the best, but I was leaning towards Disgaea 4. I don't really have a problem with playing a PS2 game if it is really good, but I would certainly prefer one on current gen systems. Oh, and I don't have a PSP, so please don't suggest any games for that system. I do have a 3DS though!

Thanks for any suggestions dooders! ;)

#2 Edited by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6087 posts) -

You really can't go wrong with any of them, but I would say Disgaea 4 is as good a place to jump in as any. Disgaea D2 will be released later this year, and is a direct sequel to the first game in the series (the four main games have mostly unrelated plots), so Disgaea DS isn't an entirely bad choice either to help you brush up on characters.

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#3 Edited by TwoLines (2788 posts) -

Sure, go with 4. Just a heads up though, they're not that different, both in graphics and in the gameplay department (except for the better resolution you get with a PS3), so it doesn't really matter. I found Disgaea one to be the funniest and with the best characters, but they're all fun.

#4 Posted by DiamondDave (28 posts) -

Do you have a PSV? If so, you can get Disgaea 1&2 on PSN. But yeah, get Disgaea 4. Personally, 3 was my least favorite. 4 was ok...But if you can get your hands on the first one, definitely do so.

#5 Posted by briareosph (14 posts) -

I didn't like 3 so much. Haven't played 4 yet. But you should try to get Disgaea 1 first. Pretty fun game. Disgaea 2 is also pretty good.

#7 Posted by golguin (3843 posts) -

I played the first game when it came out and it was truly a great experience. I bought Disgaea 2 on release day and also enjoyed that. Just start at the beginning.

#8 Edited by MoonwalkSA (418 posts) -

Disgaea DS was my first Disgaea experience, and I would recommend it to anyone. The port is excellently done, and it is still one of the best games on the DS period.

After that, I jumped into Phantom Brave and Makai Kingdom first, rather than the mainline Disgaea games, and I'd wholeheartedly recommend both if you're interested in games that keep much of the Disgaea's appeal but with a more unique battle system. Makai Kingdom in particular has some of the best/funniest characters and writing out of everything NIS has done.

And of course, the whole Disgaea series is good. 1 and 4 are the most essential, in my opinion, but it's hard to go wrong with any of them. Or all of them.

#9 Posted by PoisonJam7 (324 posts) -

@diamonddave: Yes, I do. This is how I would be getting Disgaea 1 if there were enough suggestions to do so.

You guys aren't making it any easier to decide!! The Disgaea games are all pretty long affairs, aren't they? So if I do get one of these games, it will probably be the only one I play for a while.

#10 Edited by MoonwalkSA (418 posts) -

If you just want to knock out the campaign, they tend to end somewhere between level 70-100, which is nowhere near the max level+reincarnation stuff that they're kinda known for. It's been a while since I went into it completely fresh, but you could probably complete the Disgaea 1 main campaign in 10 hours or less if you just focus on getting through it.

The high-level extra worlds tend to be a lot of what people talk about when they talk about Disgaea/NIS games in general, but even as someone who really loves the series, I've never had the time to get to most of them. I think you can still appreciate the games without having to grind out thousands of levels (or hundreds of item floors, screw the item world) yourself.

#11 Posted by The_Ruiner (1012 posts) -

2 is the best one...so don't start with that one...

#12 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5339 posts) -

Disgaea isn't "really good" it's kind of just an okay tactics game but it doesn't have an extremely compelling story like the other good tactics games. Tactics Ogre is a much better bet. But if you're going to play all of them for some odd reason you'd better have a lot of free time on your hands if your objective is to get the most out of them.

#13 Edited by PoisonJam7 (324 posts) -

@fredchuckdave: No, I don't plan to play through all of them. I just wanted to play one so I could finally say I've done so; I feel bad for having never played any of them. I'll probably only play one or two of them, so I figured why not play the best?

#14 Edited by Chaoskiller2000 (306 posts) -

1 or 2 but if you really want a current gen 4 stay away from 3.

#15 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11477 posts) -

Are there any disgaea games that let you skip animations? Because then I suggest those ones. Then again, it's pretty much a series of grinding simulators, so maybe making that grinding as lengthy and protracted as possible is part of the appeal.

#16 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6087 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: Don't they all allow battle animations to be skipped? I know 3 and 4 do.

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#17 Posted by EXTomar (4499 posts) -

It more depends on what platforms you got and what you can get a hold of. With the Vita you've got some options!

#18 Edited by ArbitraryWater (11477 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: Don't they all allow battle animations to be skipped? I know 3 and 4 do.

I can confirm at length that my PS2 copy of Disgaea 1 did not allow me to skip animations, which is apparently the difference for me between brisk and lethargically paced strategy games. Speaking of unskippable animations I should really finish Tactics Ogre...

#19 Posted by ervonymous (1297 posts) -

I sort of feel you need to start with the first one, as dumb as the character interactions and attack animations are they're pretty down to earth compared to the later games. It sets the tone and universe well and if you don't like the brand of humor then you know the rest of the series has nothing but huge numbers to offer.

The DS version has the most added content but it has a butchered midi soundtrack (poor Tenpei Sato), most of the voice acting was cut and it chugs a bit even though the visuals received a significant downgrade. The core gameplay is there but most of the things I fell in love with ten years ago are gone.

Tactics Ogre's story and presentation are amazing but the combat becomes tedious after the initial hump, turns take forever to play out and good luck leveling up new character classes while focusing on advancing the story. It also becomes a time sink if you go for all the unique characters.

#20 Posted by Nezza (334 posts) -

@ervonymous: I have 3 for Vita and adored it. Is the DS version of a similar scale, controls and style of humour?

There is just something about this style of game that just makes me prefer them on handhelds as I can just dip in and out.

#21 Posted by ervonymous (1297 posts) -

@nezza: Yeah, almost to a T. The item world, Dark Assembly, Rozen Queen, prizes for spending money at the hospital and the very same chapter select screen are all there. They made some gameplay changes in 3 and introduced the classroom system but it's the same ol' Disgaea. I prefer "tactics" games on handhelds too and the DS version is by no means terrible, I really missed Laharl's VO though. Barbara Goodson is so good.

#22 Edited by PoisonJam7 (324 posts) -

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I decided to pick up Disgaea 1 on PSN and will be jumping in shortly. All this talk of "grinding simulators" has me worried though....

#23 Edited by ervonymous (1297 posts) -

@poisonjam7: They're as grindy as you want them to be, just remember to keep upgrading the Rosen Queen product rank in the Dark Assembly whenever you sit on cash and have nowhere to spend it. Equipment makes a huge difference even when you're not being weird about the Item World.

I spent more time with Final Fantasy Tactics Advance than any Nippon Ichi Software game and it didn't even have such obvious hooks.

#24 Edited by MurderBunny (50 posts) -

If you start with 4 it is kind of harder to go back to 1, 2 and 3. Still 4 is a fine place to start playing.

#25 Edited by EXTomar (4499 posts) -

The tech has changed along the way where that isn't necessarily a problem. Especially if people are okay with older SRPGs look then the Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is fine.

The real issue is that flaws in mechanics have been corrected along each generation so going back and playing Disgaea 1 might be a problem especially after playing Disgaea 4 where character progression is so much smoother. The biggest flaw I can remember off the original game was that support classes like Healer and Thief were nearly impossible to level "normally" since exp gain could only be accomplished by dealing damage and getting kills (which means that Flonne is the most powerful character for a long while but that is another thread) along with most Monster classes were worthless (except for Tuesday and the occational super tanky dragon you can coerce). Disgaea 2 helped fix the problem with support classes where using their abilities gains exp along with damage/kills. Digsaea 3 helped make Monsters viable Magi-change.

Disgaea 4 represents most of what Nippon Ichi has learned throughout their entire library of games. The game is at a point Item World is so crazy advanced they could make a game just on that alone. In fact they should look into creating a separate portable "Item World" game (that could be portable) that works in conjunction with Disgaea 5. Going back to Disgaea 1 is definitely retro and could be a bit rough.

#26 Posted by ervonymous (1297 posts) -

@extomar: Monster classes like the Ghost and Succubus suffered especially because the magic enhancing monster weapons were introduced in 2.

I'm glad they went back to the old weapon mastery system in A Brighter Darkness. Buying and upgrading skills with Mana made it easier in the long run but you're unlikely to get enough mana for passing senate bills, reincarnating and unlocking new skills on a reasonable playthrough.

#27 Posted by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -

I had never played a Disgaea game, but I'm currently playing through Disgaea 1 on my Ps3. I quite enjoy it, though I'm pretty bad at it.

#28 Edited by Zeik (2223 posts) -

Disgaea 1 is probably the most sensible place to start honestly. I remember when I first played that game the vast array of options and mechanics was incredibly overwhelming and it took me like half the game to start to wrap my brain around many of the features. The sequels have only added and expanded to those features, so I could imagine jumping into them first would be even more overwhelming.

Also, although the mechanics are fairly unrefined compared to the sequels, I still think the original is one of the best of any of NIS' releases.

#29 Posted by EXTomar (4499 posts) -

I wouldn't say Disgaea 1 was "sensibly paced". Every other chapter was a story/plot line and then the next chapter was "haha funny innuendo time". You could literally cut half of the chapters out of the game and not miss a thing. Especially for Disgaea 3 and Disgaea 4 they didn't waste so much time with fluff chapters for the story mode which is fine by me.

#30 Edited by Zeik (2223 posts) -

I recall D3 having a lot of fluff chapters actually. Although maybe that's just because the whole story kind of felt like that.

#31 Posted by ervonymous (1297 posts) -

Well they did use the Heart Bank shtick a lot and if memory serves you fight the same boss battle against Mao's dad twice. The only chapter that had me bored to tears in 1 was the Don Joaquin one.

#32 Posted by drac96 (667 posts) -

@poisonjam7: If you're worried about the grinding it's all about how you want to play Disgaea. If you're only playing it to go through the main story then you won't have to worry about that much. If you just go through the story your band of characters will probably end somewhere around level 100. Messing around a bit in the item world might get you a tad higher than that.

The reason I like Disgea and the reason the series is so insane is because of the post-game stuff. There's something about getting to level 9,999 and then reincarnating to do it all over again multiple times that's satisfying to me. Sure it takes a while to get there with a character the first time, but in almost every iteration of the game it's super easy to level if you use the right weapons and skills. It's crazy and awesome to see people do millions of damage eventually. I think this aspect of the game is where Disgaea loses a lot of people, because the road to getting insane stats and crazy weapons takes a boatload of time and is mostly grinding.

#33 Edited by EXTomar (4499 posts) -

@zeik said:

I recall D3 having a lot of fluff chapters actually. Although maybe that's just because the whole story kind of felt like that.

Disgaea 3 had 8 chapters where each step had something to do with the story. Now whether or not that story was any good is up for a debate but no zombies with questionable weapons or going to beach or other such strange scenarios you would find in Disgaea 1 and Disgaea 2. :)

As a matter of preference, I like to see the "story mode" to be tight and tuned in a way you can beat the game and see the "main story" without using advanced features or tactics to clear (but they are available if you want). One of the things that made me sad about Disgaea 1 was getting the multiple endings took a lot of time instead of effort. The fights were not necessarily hard but it required something like "Do A and then clear chapter N, episode M" where doing the "chapter N, episode M" was the slog.

#34 Edited by PoisonJam7 (324 posts) -
@extomar said:

The tech has changed along the way where that isn't necessarily a problem. Especially if people are okay with older SRPGs look then the Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is fine.

The real issue is that flaws in mechanics have been corrected along each generation so going back and playing Disgaea 1 might be a problem especially after playing Disgaea 4 where character progression is so much smoother. The biggest flaw I can remember off the original game was that support classes like Healer and Thief were nearly impossible to level "normally" since exp gain could only be accomplished by dealing damage and getting kills (which means that Flonne is the most powerful character for a long while but that is another thread) along with most Monster classes were worthless (except for Tuesday and the occational super tanky dragon you can coerce). Disgaea 2 helped fix the problem with support classes where using their abilities gains exp along with damage/kills. Digsaea 3 helped make Monsters viable Magi-change.

Disgaea 4 represents most of what Nippon Ichi has learned throughout their entire library of games. The game is at a point Item World is so crazy advanced they could make a game just on that alone. In fact they should look into creating a separate portable "Item World" game (that could be portable) that works in conjunction with Disgaea 5. Going back to Disgaea 1 is definitely retro and could be a bit rough.

Yes, I am finding that out right now. I had a feeling of "I have made a huge mistake" shortly after playing up to the first boss and getting my ass kick, then realizing I would need to grind to be able to even have a chance. I am having a hard time leveling up my cleric precisely because of these mechanics...learning that it has been fixed in D4 isn't making me want to stick with D1. ;)

BTW, who is that in your profile pic? I have seen her before, but I cannot for the life of me recall her name or where I have seen her.

@zeik said:

I remember when I first played that game the vast array of options and mechanics was incredibly overwhelming and it took me like half the game to start to wrap my brain around many of the features. The sequels have only added and expanded to those features, so I could imagine jumping into them first would be even more overwhelming.

I feel the same way right now....But with the mechanics being more refined in D4 I think it may be easier to get a grip on things; having one less thing to worry about and not having to wrestle with archaic design on top of being confused and overwhelmed.

#35 Edited by ervonymous (1297 posts) -

The amount of EXP healers gain by healing in the later games is still not comparable to what a kill nets you. Your best options in 1 are to

  • Teach the Healer offensive magic in a roundabout way.
  • Equip a long range weapon and pick off weakened enemies.
  • Have him/her participate in team attacks.
  • Wait until you get Flonne, ditch the healer altogether and use the power of love.
  • Rely on healing items.

With bosses you're usually better off killing everyone else first and building long combos to finish them off. Have even the weakest characters participate in building the combo and see the damage stack. Don't immediately go "oh yeah, grinding". You can do a lot by just playing smart.

And don't underestimate lifting and throwing, it might seem silly but it's powerful.

#36 Edited by Piranesi (452 posts) -

Go with one or two - they seemed a lot simpler - but be prepared that the whole series may not be your cup of tea. If you aren't into the humour, the repetition will put you off and they do require a serious time commitment.

The mechanics do get crazy (well, they start crazy and get crazier) and often you will feel that you aren't achieving anything just grinding.

I tend to treat them as puzzle games and do a couple of rooms at a time. If you have a Vita and a daily commute, that may be the best way to go.

#37 Posted by Zeik (2223 posts) -

@poisonjam7: If you want to level up your Cleric then you just need to make them a mage pupil and then cast the spells while standing next to them enough times that you'll learn them. Preferably you'll want to make that mage someone on your team, so you can keep learning better magic.

I seem to recall Cleric's not really being worth a slot on your team though. Just use Flonne when you get her.