Lord Mao prides himself on being the number one Honor Student. He’s never attended a class and he is known throughout the Netherworld for his mischievous behavior. Despite his status as the number one Honor Student, his peers continue to challenge him. His father, the Overlord, is also displeased and he decides to destroy Lord Mao’s game system and games as punishment.
This sets in motion a series of events that has Lord Mao seeking the title of a hero. He believes that by capturing a hero and stripping him of his title, he will be embellished with heroic powers that will enable him to defeat his father. As he plans his diabolic scheme to defeat his father, his butler, Geoffry, needles him on.
As he begins his quest, Geoffry introduces a group of misfit fighters to help in defeating the Overlord. While reluctant at first to take Geoffry’s help, Lord Mao decides that having a group could be of service to his cause. With his new group by his side, he ventures off into the academy to begin his adventure.
Gamers familiar with the Playstation 3 version of Disgaea 3 will immediately notice some similarities while playing the PS Vita version. The Netherworld Academy still contains the same characters and shops as the Playstation 3 version. Slappo the Green Slime, Prinne the Prinny, and the other cast of characters that made the original so memorable have made the transition.
The Academy Hall is full of NPCS that can help improve your group. The Evilities NPC, for example, allows you to purchase and upgrade new skills. The type of skills available vary based on the character’s class. Evilities, on the other hand, are special traits that can be equipped and then used during combat. Some Evilities increase the chance to evade enemy attacks by 50%, while others will reduce the effects of poison.
The students at Evil Academy pride themselves on ignoring their studies, but there are some benefits to attending class. In the classroom, you can assign characters to adjacent seats to increase their chances of teaming up during battle. Clubs can be formed to increase combat viability. Characters that belong to a club will assist each other during combat. Additionally, the club president can use the magic of any member when he stands next to them in combat. Other classroom features include character creation (or a student transfer) and bribing the student body for certain perks.
During the bribing process, Lord Mao stands on a cardboard box surrounded by the student body. By using the items from your inventory, you must highlight each demon seated at the committee table to see if he/she is interested in a specific item. Once the demon is satisfied with the item being offered, you can focus your efforts on the other committee members. If the bribing process fails (and it can), you can always sway the vote by force, but don’t expect it to be easy.
The combat system is turn-based and relies heavily on strategy. Most combat scenarios use Geo Blocks, a group of colored blocks that are placed randomly on the battlefield. When the main Geo Block is destroyed, creatures standing next to the Geo Blocks of the same color will incur damage. In some cases, bonuses can be earned depending on the blocks and their colors. Teammates can work together to execute devastating combos. By pairing up your party members, you can inflict bonus damage on stronger creatures.
There are many different strategies available to the player depending on the situation. Sometimes creatures will hide on platforms that are too hard to reach, making it difficult to attack them. When this occurs, you can stack your characters into a tower and perform a ‘tower’ attack. This is one of countless strategies available and it’s impossible to mention them all in a single review.
Disgaea 3 : Absence of Detention does an adequate job of taking advantage of the PS Vita’s back touch panel controls. The back touch panel can be used to manipulate the camera and scroll through menus. Sliding your finger across the touch panel will make the camera rotate and/or zoom in on the action. The left analog stick and directional pad are both used for movement, so it’s really a matter of preference. The game benefits greatly from the combination of touch and physical controls.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention is packed full of content. The PS Vita version includes all the additional in-game content that was available for the Playstation 3 version. This includes twenty additional characters, three new gameplay systems, forty additional BGM selections, and a new storyline involving Raspberyl as the main character, and that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface.
Exclusive to the PS Vita version are four new scenarios, two new characters (Rutile and Stella), revamped event scenes with additional animations, and devastating Tera-level spells that include gorgeous art and animation. And this doesn’t include additional content that has yet to be revealed. With hundreds of hours of gameplay already available to the player, it’s unimaginable the sort of additional content NIS America has planned for the PS Vita version.
Role-playing games of this magnitude are far and few between these days. The sheer amount of customization and content available is staggering. Not only is Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention a must-have for fans of the series, but it’s a worthwhile purchase for any gamer that is looking to get their money’s worth.
Platform: PS Vita
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
Publisher: NIS America
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $39.99 (Available on PSN)
|Beautiful 2D graphics round out the experience.|
|The music is upbeat and memorable.|
|The sheer amount of content and customization available is staggering.|
|Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention deserves your attention. It's challenging, fun, and it offers hundreds of hours of gameplay.|