Title: Disgaea Infinite
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Publisher (Developer): NIS America (Nippon Ichi Software)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language and Suggestive Themes.
Pros: Well written, funny, full voice acting, good character portraits, interesting how it cuts away to animated sprite scenes, unusual gameplay mechanics, in-game dictionary with all terms, keeps track of what choices you made when you use “mind control” and has 14 different endings.
Cons: Can be tricky to know which routes to take, have to keep an eye on the character map and it can be somewhat slow if you’ve never played a visual novel before and don’t know how to proceed. Some music is also recycled from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, but the Disgaea music is really good so it’s easy to let that slide.
Overall Score: One thumb up, one thumb sideways, 82/100, B-, * * * out of 5
There are two things NIS America is known for – the Disgaea series and taking chances on eclectic games. With Disgaea Infinite, NIS America is combining the two to bring North American gamers a brand new Disgaea adventure that’s also a visual novel.
Visual novels are still a relatively new medium in the US and haven’t been embraced by the general public just yet, but NIS America is going about introducing them in a smart manner. The company’s first visual novel carries a budget price ($19.99) and features a cast of familiar characters from the beloved Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.
Foil an attempted assassination to save your salary.
Disgaea Infinite is the tale of a Prinny. There isn’t anything particularly special about this prinny. He lead a less than desirable life and is now in the Netherworld working off his sins to try and buy salvation. One day, while cleaning up Overlord Laharl’s room and also searching for Etna’s special pudding for Laharl, he comes across a clock called Tick Tock. Tick Tock “saves” his soul, and the day proceeds.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t proceed well. Laharl gets blown up, determines it was an assassination attempt and is ready to point the blame at the prinnies. Laharl declares their salary will go into the negative, and prinnies will have to pay him for the honor of working for him. Our special prinny then gets sent back by Tick Tock to the last point where his soul was saved.
Now, with the help of Tick Tock, the prinny can keep reliving those particular hours in an attempt to find out what happened and change the events of time. Thanks to Tick Tock, the prinny’s soul is free floating and can possess any of the other Disgaea characters. Also, while a character is possessed, the prinny can use mind control to attempt to alter his or her actions.
Live through events, rewind, live through them again, rewind, live through them again…
Disgaea Infinite is a straightforward visual novel. You are mostly looking at character portraits of your favorite characters from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness and reading text on the screen. Or listening, rather, since the game is fully voice acted. When the opportunity arises, you can possess other characters by tapping the left or right shoulder buttons, and can even control their responses by tapping the triangle button when prompted. By doing this, and paying attention to a chart in the menu screen that shows where people are at what times, and what they’re doing, you can piece together the truth behind the “assassination” and find a better ending.
Disgaea Infinite may confuse a few players. You have to keep an eye out for flags on the time map, which offer options where you can use mind control while possessing a charater to possibly change the future. However, you could end up going through the same events quite a few times before a mind control option could come up. It someone is unfamiliar with visual novel style games, its almost like he or she would need a flow-chart for the first playthrough as a backup.
Thankfully, the well written dialogue and fluidly designed and animated character portraits should make it easier to pay attention and play. The story may seem a bit silly, but it’s quite funny – especially once you start using mind control to make characters act in a way they would never normally behave. Also, all of the character portraits look good, and even the animated sprite interludes do an admirable job of entertaining players while advancing the story.
Get inside your favorite characters’ heads to finally end the story
If you’re a Disgaea fan, then chances are you’re going to enjoy Disgaea Infinite regardless if you’re familiar with visual novels or not. It’s an entertaining adventure that offers players a great deal of control over the characters and their actions throughout the story. Think of it as a digital Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel. It does require a lot of patience though, and players need to pay attention to details and characters’ reactions after choosing certain options if they want to find an ending.
The best part is, once you figure out what you need to start doing, the story just flies by. You could easily sit down and knock out a couple of the endings in an hour or two.
Site [Disgaea Infinite]