PS3 Review: Disgaea 3 – Absence of Justice

There’s definitely an absence of justice with this game

Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice is the latest chapter in the critically acclaimed Disgaea series, a hardcore turn-based strategy-RPG loved by fans across the globe. Having made its name on the PlayStation 2 and PSP platforms, the series makes its PlayStation 3 debut complete with high-definition graphics, funky sprite art and sparkling spell effects. Prepare to enter the unforgettable world of Disgaea, a place where quirky characters, captivating action and a hefty dose of humour combine to give you over 100 hours of fun!

Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice follows the exploits of Mao, the most honoured student at Evil Academy, a school where the tardiest, laziest, and rudest demons receive the highest marks. The son of the school chairman, Mao has never once attended class nor opened a textbook. Now he longs to overthrow his father and assume the title of Overlord – and he’s decided he needs to become a hero to do it. Join him on a madcap adventure packed with witty dialogue, exciting action, and genre-leading strategic battling!
I had previously played the previous Disgaea games and while I liked them, they were somewhat held back by the PS2’s technical limitations. The series’ third instalment hits the HD era and the PS3, but does the third game do enough to please fans?

I want to say it does, but I can’t. While the game has a good story and solid script, its gameplay has become incredibly outdated as have its visuals, which are still 2D and ugly as hell to look at. The game runs at 1080p yet the character models lack a lot of detail, it’s just inexcusable really. I do like you can rotate the camera and how anime pictures during conversations are in high definition, but that’s as far as the visual wonders go.

During combat, some arenas can be divided by colours which can give advantages to those on it like health boosts or being stronger, but the enemy can also use it. It’s best to try and pick up a Geo Block (A cube-shaped terrain-altering object. Players can use it to access and attack enemies they normally couldn’t reach) and chuck it in another colour area then destroy it for a domino effect, wiping out more blocks and enemies along the way; you can cause a lot of damage with some colour combinations, but not always.
Combat is turn-based and just like the past games, just with the addition of the Geo Block that I mentioned. The rest is just as fans will probably remember it. The story for Disgaea 3 is fairly good, yet the voice-acting is quite annoying with kiddy voices and some monsters with a stereotypical Mexican accent. Fans of prior games will probably be used to quite bad voice-work and while I’m used to it too, it doesn’t mean I like it.

One thing that bugs me about the Disgaea 3 series is that it doesn’t seem to have evolved over the years and from what I’ve gathered, the game is the weakest in the series so far, mostly because it makes no use of the PS3’s power other than making it in 1080p and seems to have run out of ideas. That’s the bottom line with the game, it’s good…but not as good as it could have been.
Having said that, you can spend literally hundreds of hours with it…if you choose to do so. It’s one of those games that won’t appeal to everyone, but those who can get past the small criticisms will probably enjoy. It just doesn’t innovative enough for me and for a series that has spawned 5 games now, it’s about time that it got some originality to stand out from the crowd. Instead it seems content in sitting back and not trying to impress, which is a shame.

The Verdict

Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice is a solid RPG, but it’s held back by playing it safe. Instead of using the PS3 to produce a lovely 3D High Definition anime RPG, it remains 2D but in 1080p. It lacks innovation and ambition to stand out from the other RPGs out there, making me wonder where the series can possibly go from here. Let’s hope the next game strives to be different instead of being another simple sequel.