NIS America Confirms ‘Disgaea 5’ Will Be Getting A Western Release In 2015

Don’t worry, Disgaea fans. The fifth entry in the series will be making its way to the USA in the third quarter of next year.

The Disgaea series has been going strong for years now, being cult favorite JRPGs that have released over a variety of different Sony gaming consoles. However, there had been some talk recently about the financial health of the series and whether or not it would even be getting a release stateside.

Well, NIS America has now confirmed that the fifth entry in the main series will in fact be getting a release in the USA. Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance will release in Japan on 3/26/15, while the USA and European versions are expected to release in the third quarter of the year. The game will be released exclusively for the PlayStation 4.

‘Disgaea 5’ Launches March 2015 In Japan

Disgaea 5 is coming exclusively to PlayStation 4 next year.

It was just announced at Sony’s pre-TGS conference last week, but it has now been announced that Disgaea 5 will be launching in Japan on March 26th, 2015. The game is exclusive to the PlaySation 4 and will be receiving a demo in Japan sometime next month.

This will be the series’ first foray into the current generation of gaming consoles, which NIS claims will expand the series dramatically. An example of this is that Disgaea 5 can contain 100 characters on the screen at the same time, which is a huge boost from 10 on PlayStation 3.

Disgaea 5 stars Kiria, who is a demon child on a quest with a princess named Seraphine and Usaria. It will no doubt contain even more zany humor and tactical RPG gameplay that will make your head spin.

Although a USA release has not been confirmed, the games usually do launch in all areas sometime after the Japanese launch.

Condemn O.R. Condone – Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (PlayStation Vita)

Another Danganronpa, another masterpiece.

Playing Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc earlier this year is an experience I will never forget. The game offered a sinister narrative with fantastic characters and plot twists that consistently wowed me. It had been a long time since I had played a visual novel, but once I finished everything that Trigger Happy Havoc had to offer I new that my craving for both a sequel and another game of this particular genre would increase dramatically.

Thankfully, due to the fact that two games in the series were already released on the PSP in Japan a couple of years ago, the turnaround time for the sequel being released was very quick. As you can imagine, this resulted in one of the biggest and goofiest grins that my face has ever managed to conjure.

That sequel is Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. When Trigger Happy Havoc‘s cliffhanger ending had me anticipating a sequel that would pick up right where that game left off, I was pretty puzzled to find that this game stars a brand new cast of students. Not only that, but instead of the evil Monokuma torturing a group of students in a confined school, a very kind and gentle bear named Monomi was the boss and instead wants everyone to just get along on a tropical island. It’s like the dream scenario that the students from the first game could only dream of happening to them.

Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair

UNTIL THE CRAP HITS THE FAN. Just as all of the students are beginning to settle into their great new tropical island life that completely lacks any kind of murder, everyone’s favorite twisted teddy bear Monokuma shows up. He smacks around Monomi and destroys her magic wand, negating any power she has and resulting in him being the dominant ruler. Now, because Monokuma is such a happy bear, he decides that everyone getting along on the island was too boring, thus enforcing a new way of life that is similar to that of the first game: If you want to get off the island, you must kill a student and get away with it.

While this may seem like just a repeat scenario of the first game, Goodbye Despair adds so much to the overall story and gameplay that it never comes anywhere close to being a retread. Seeing as we are now on a tropical island the world that you have to explore is more open, allowing for more varied locales. Instead of 5 floors of a school that are unlocked with each new trial being completed, this time there are 5 islands. This results in you being given a sort of world map screen that you traverse as a sidescroller before you enter a specific location that initiates 3D exploration.

As was with the first game, the true gameplay highlights are the actual trials, as you are in a discussion with the other students trying to figure out who is the murderer. Words show up on the screen displaying the dialogue of the students discussing specific facts of interest related to the case, and it’s your job to point out any inconsistencies. Goodbye Despair adds a new element to this part of the trials, as you now have the ability to agree with what someone says and thus further the dialogue for that specific evidence. Other students now also have the ability to object to something that you say, which result in riveting one-on-one debates that require very fast reflexes. There are a host of other minigames that exist in the trials that are either brand new or streamline similar ones from the first game to make them more interesting or intuitive. Each trial is lengthy, immensely engaging and very emotional, and I would say that some of the trials in this game top the already fantastic trials in the first game.

Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair

Of course, there is a lot more to Goodbye Despair than just trials. Much of your time in the game is spent exploring new locations and interacting with the phenomenal cast of characters the game has to offer. Each character has terrific writing and voice acting, with back stories that will always give you a completely different opinion of the character when they come to light. They all share a vague similarity to characters that you encounter in the first game, giving you an immediately suspicious impression of them whether its justified or not. You really grow attached to the characters in this game just like you did in the first, making the inevitable murders and trial executions all the more tragic when they do occur.

After finishing the game and witnessing one of the most consistently mind-blowing series of events that I have ever witnessed in a video game, you are given a surprising amount of extras to fool around with. Island Mode gives you an alternate reality version of the game where Monomi defeated Monokuma at the beginning of the game, resulting in you actually living out a peaceful life on the island where all you have to do is search the island for various materials to create items for Monomi. Danganronpa IF gives players a novel that is a similarly alternate take on the first game in which the main protagonist Makoto discovers something in a vending machine that makes him privy to what is actual going on in the school right from the get go, leading to some very interesting plot revelations.

Other than this stuff, there is also an extras menu that is packed with a bunch of stuff for you to unlock with Monocoins that you accumulate throughout the course of your playthrough of the main game. A lot of these extras are your standard artwork, sounds and movie galleries, but they contain a lot of cool stuff for you to check out if your interested in that kind of stuff.

Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair

The last extra that I want to talk about is Magical Miracle Girl Monomi, though it really isn’t an extra in the sense that you unlock it at the end of the game. Throughout the course of the game the Monobeasts that Monokuma enforce to guard access to the other islands disappear, which you soon discover is the result of Monomi battling them to the death. As each new island unlocks you have the ability to play a new level in a game called Magical Miracle Girl Monomi, which is a 3D action game in which you must draw circles around your enemies that creates tornadoes to damage them. While it’s a very basic concept, I found that it was pretty entertaining when you get a good combo going and are able to take down a mass of enemies at once. The only drawback is that certain enemies are just damage sponges that take far too long to defeat and aren’t nearly challenging enough to keep the battle interesting. The bosses are pretty easy for the most part, as well, though considering you have to annihilate several waves of enemies just to get to them that’s not too big of a deal.

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is every bit as good as the original game, while fleshing out certain aspects of the mechanics to make this one an even sharper experience. The trials have been refined and contain even more nerve-wracking segments than the first one, resulting in the finale of each chapter of the game never failing to be exhilarating. The world of Goodbye Despair may have a completely different aesthetic compared to Trigger Happy Havoc, but it nevertheless creates a world that is very threatening despite its tropical setting. Couple all of this with a generous amount of extra content that gives you plenty to do far after the credits roll and Goodbye Despair easily becomes another masterpiece that is absolutely vital for anyone who owns a Vita.

Condemn O.R. Condone – Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited (PS Vita)

With more content than you could shake a Prinny at, Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited is yet another great reason to whip out the Vita.

Imagine that you were once a feared vampire tyrant named Valvatorez who made a promise to a woman 400 years ago that you wouldn’t drink her blood until your instilled fear in her, and that woman then died before you could scare her so you are now doomed to work a menial job in Hades as an instructor of animals that look like penguins. Even though this is the job nobody wants, you treat it as if it were the most important job in the world, and sardines (the things you cherish most) are what you use to reward good behavior and just about any other occasion. This lone description tells you everything you need to know about Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited and the Disgaea series, in general. The series has always reveled in absurd concepts wrapped in hilarious and bizarre humor, and A Promise Revisited is no different.

This latest version of Disgaea is an enhanced version of the PlayStation 3 game Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten. As always, you are given a big and in-depth world with a multitude of things to do in a package that can easily last you over 100 hours. A Promise Revisited adds even more content to the original package, including all DLC from the PlayStation 3 version and character and weapon customization. Even if you’ve already played the original version of the game, there is plenty of stuff on hand here to sway you into visiting this world once again.

At its core, though, we have the original 2011 version of the game, which is still an absolute delight to play. You have a hub world that includes many different NPCs that give you the option to do many different things to sink your time into. There are vendors who will heal your allies, sell and upgrade weapons and armor, teach you new moves and even let you explore the item world. The item world is truly a strange concept, as it’s essentially any item in your inventory expanded into an actual level that you battle on. Considering the amount of items found in a typical RPG, this world alone could last you dozens and dozens of hours. True to the series, you always feel like there are an overwhelming amount of things to do at any given time, and its up to you to decide whether or not to explore every nook and cranny.

Disgaea 4 A Promise Revisited

The combat in A Promise Revisited remains as in-depth and intuitive as it ever was before, as we once again have a grid-based tactical battleground that is home to many a nefarious villain. While this type of battle system certainly isn’t anything new, it’s the added depth that the game brings to the table that spices it up. You have Geo panels that put certain restrictions on certain areas of the battlefield until you destroy its respective block, combine attacks with nearby allies and even fuse yourself with monsters to create more powerful weapon attacks. I’ve always been a fan of grid-based tactical RPGS, but even though I’ve played many of them I was still very impressed by how fresh the gameplay can still be in this day and age.

There’s even an online component to the game called Netherbattle. You have a pirate, a map and a base editor, and with them you can make a ship, assemble a crew and try out user-created content or participate in invasions. It’s not the most expansive online mode you’ll ever see, but in a game that already offers you so much it doesn’t have to be. Checking out other players’ content or participating in an invasion is a lot of fun, giving you even more things to experience once you’ve exhausted all other options.

The game plays out in a mission-style story, where you have levels on a list that you select and have to complete to unlock the next one. You’ll get story elements before and after these levels, which never fails to include hilarious characters for you to meet and ridiculous dialogue for you to chuckle at. The story prides itself on melodrama that really works, because it goes so far over the top that it becomes consistently unpredictable. It’s fun to just sit back and watch what these characters are going to say or do next, because in the Disgaea world ANYTHING is possible.

Disgaea 4 A Promise Revisited

The Disgaea series has always had a distinctly beautiful visual style, but it has never looked better than it does on the Vita. Thanks to the system’s bright and vibrant screen, the equally vibrant and colorful world of A Promise Revisited really pops off the screen. The game’s many different worlds look stunning, and the character animations are smooth and never result in any slow-down. This series was pretty much made to be played on Vita, so if you haven’t played it yet or are itching for another go around, this the definitive way to do it.

It all comes down to this simple fact: if you liked Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten or previous Disgaea games, you are going to find a lot to enjoy in Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited. You’re getting more bizarrely-written characters and scenarios and a world that is dripping with content and gameplay that is challenging and fun. The amount of content that the original game had was impressive, but with the additions that the Vita version has it is now staggering. If your Vita has been out of work for a while, A Promise Revisited will be more than capable of employing it for a long and fantastic time.

Condone

‘Natural Doctrine’ Releases This September

The PlayStation 4 is going to have a pretty light rest of the year, which is thanks to several delays of some pretty big titles. This, however, makes smaller games on the schedule more intriguing. Natural Doctrine, then, could be the Playstation 4 game that will get some added exposure due to there really being nothing else going on for the system.

The game has been available in Japan, though over there its reception was less than glowing. Still, there have been plenty of games that don’t get well received in one place and then are loved somewhere else, so that’s really not much to judge a game on.

Natural Doctrine is a tactical RPG developed by Kadokawa Games and co-published by Kadokawa Games and NIS America, which has me intrigued due to the quality that these people are capable of producing. The game involves a universe where humans battle other races with magic and swords, with the protagonist named Jeff setting out to vanquish goblin dens to clear access to resources that will benefit the survival of the human race.

Natural Doctrine will release on September 16th for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

Condemn O.R. Condone – Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection (PlayStation Vita)

Tedium in video game form.

Throughout my experience as a gamer and especially a game writer I have never had to deal with something like Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection. It’s essentially a game of stats, where you must make the right decisions in order to get the optimum stat increases with each given opportunity. Done the right way, this could be a really zany and funny type of game along the lines of the Nintendo DS’s Elite Beat Agents. Unfortunately, this game was not done the right way.

The concept of Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is simple (and strange): you are a student who is just about to embark on a summer vacation that will be filled with nothing but gaming when you are suddenly summoned to a world called Gameindustri (clever) by 4 goddess-like Console Patron Units (CPUs). These 4 CPUs rule the realm of Gameindustri and each represent one of today’s major consoles, though they are in a bit of deep water. An idol group called MOB48 has passed the CPUs and taken the most shares of Gameindustri, as a result. So, the goddesses want to become idols with your help to win back the shares and return everything back to normal. Got that?

The 4 ladies you have to deal with all feature firm-yet-super-naive personalities as there is no question in their minds that they are going to be pop idols with your help. I ended up with Vert as my “idol” and her character ended up being someone who was a confident and hard worker that had a hardcore gaming attitude. As a result, I had to make sure that she stayed focused on her work and still had the amount of time she wanted to go on gaming marathons. This is the part of the game that I liked the most, because the characters (for the most part) are pretty likable and it’s entertaining to see what they have to say.

Producing Perfection

Unfortunately, the majority of the game has you performing the same actions over and over again which makes everything very tedious. As the producer you have the the following options to perform with your idol: work, lesson, relax, move and concert. Work increases your fanbase while lesson increases personal stats like vocals and rhythm. When you have done too much working and stress has built up you need to make sure that you choose the relax option to bring those stress levels down, as high stress levels result in diminished returns in both work and lessons. Move allows you to relocate to one of the other Gameindustri nations in order to reach new audiences, which brings up new scenarios for the characters to go through. All of these scenarios are implied, however, as you don’t get much more than a quick bit of dialogue showing that the event took place.

The most hands-on option is concert, in which you actually witness your idol performing a song. You get to chose the stage, what your idol wears and stage effects that all effect the audiences engagement in the show. However, your main job is to control the camera and come up with dynamic camera angles for the audience, but the game’s registration capabilities seem really limited in this area. Most of the time I just kind of moved the camera angle around wildly like a nut job and it resulted in me doing better than I did when I was actually trying to get good angles. Thus, the one aspect of the game that has true gameplay is broken.

And you must repeat this process day in and day out to increase your idol’s stats and rise her to the top of the charts before 180 in-game days pass. A day passes after one action has taken place, so the days pass rather quickly. I had no problems getting my idol to the top of the charts way before the 180 days passed, though it still felt like a complete grind because of the lack of depth in these events. You’re basically just selecting one of the 5 options, checking out which stats go up and repeating that process… over and over and over again.

Producing Perfection

Apart from the main mode you also have a Viewer Mode, which is perhaps the most weird part of the game. You are just given a screen of an idol of your choosing that you can touch and watch them react in a bunch of random and disturbing ways. It’s one of those things where you really just kind of scratch your head wondering why it’s in the game at all. I guess in a game that has literally no gameplay engagement something like this can pass as an actual “mode”, but on planet Earth this is completely lame.

Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection can offer slight entertainment in very short bursts, but playing the game any longer than that results in extreme frustration and boredom. There is no true interactive gameplay to speak of and the little that you actually do control must be done far too many times. The game’s likable characters make some of this tedium easier to swallow, but for the most part this is a game that should be avoided by just about everyone.

Condemn

Condemn O.R. Condone – Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (PlayStation Vita)

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is one of the most incredible visual novel games that you will ever play.

The genre of the visual novel definitely isn’t one that I or many gamers see a whole lot of these days. The last visual novel that I played was Hotel Dusk: Room 215 for the DS, and that great game came out back in 2007. However, it was an incredibly engaging game due to its unique mechanics and ability to suck you in and really make it feel like you exist in the setting of a mystery.

If Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc reminds me of Hotel Dusk, it’s only in that they are both visual novels that control similarly and involve mystery. That’s really where the similarities end, because the ride that Danganronpa takes you on is far more strange, twisted and demented than just about any other game that I have played. As soon as you turn this game on, you know that you are in for an experience like no other.

The game begins with our main character Makoto Naegi arriving at an elite High School called Hope’s Peak Academy, which is a school that only accepts the best of the best students. Makoto is simply average in every way possible, but he got picked to join the school as a result of a raffle in which he was chosen to join the school as the ultimate lucky student. However, when he arrives outside of the gates of school everything turns south very quickly.

When he regains consciousness, he finds that he and 14 other students are trapped inside the school with no way out. A demonic teddy bear named Monokuma informs them that they will be spending the rest of their lives inside this school, and that if anyone resists they will be killed. However, the one way a student *can* leave the school is if they murder another student and get away with it. If they do get away with the murder, then they “graduate” and the rest of the students are punished.

Thus, throughout the course of the game you and the other students will be doing anything they can to find a way out of the school, while also trying to keep in high spirits and trust each other. As the game goes on the evil Monokuma will introduce incentives for killing someone, and that is when things truly hit the fan and several deaths follow.

It’s not a spoiler to say that many people will die in this game, and it is up to you to figure out who killed them in a trial that takes place at the end each chapter. This aspect of the game is similar to the Ace Attorney series, as you have evidence that you have discovered over time that you must use to prove or disprove the scenarios of the case. These trials are lengthy and intense, and every single one of them left me in awe at how intricate and devious they were.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Writing is extremely important in a genre such as the visual novel, and Danganronpa‘s writing is nothing short of phenomenal. Every character is so well-written and fleshed out just to the point that you can understand them without knowing too much about them. The characters have so many layers that will be revealed (or not) throughout the course of the game, ultimately leaving you with a much different opinion of them at the end of the game compared to the one you had at the beginning.

The visual style is that of an anime that you will find in many Japanese titles that gives everything a bright and deceptively friendly look, but that is exactly what makes the horror within so much more shocking. The visuals are only appealing on the surface, as when you get close enough you will see that just about everything in this game is twisted and horrifying. My only gripe with the visuals is that developer Spike Chunsoft decided to go with pink blood and this made many of the murder scenes less shocking, in my opinion. I often times wondered why the blood was pink rather than completely being mortified by the murder, and the color of the blood should have been just about the last thing on my mind in that situation.

Exploring Hope’s Peak Academy is also very engaging, because after each chapter a new floor of the school opens up that contains more secrets for you to unravel. Sometimes the things that you will find will be relative to the upcoming trial, but other times you will find things that will help uncover the secrets of the school, itself. There is so much detail in every room inside the school, making the search of every nook and cranny extremely exciting and imperative.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is easily one of the most jaw-dropping games I’ve ever experienced, and is a definite contender for game of the year. It doesn’t have the gameplay of a typical game you come across today, but the writing, visual style and immersion factors are so riveting that it more than makes up for it. This is a game that completely sucks you in, forcing you to question just as much as the other characters are about what the hell is going on. If you own a PlayStation Vita and are looking for an experience that will consistently shock you, then look no further than Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc.

CONDONE