Disgaea 7: Universal Prinnyclips

After skipping Disgaea 6 due to poor reviews and performance issues, I jumped into Disgaea 7 on the Switch as my exercise time-wasting game, and it’s really good!

If you’ve never given one a try before, the series is ostensibly an anime, turn-based strategy RPG like Fire Emblem. But the real draw is the absurd level of customization and progression on offer. If there is a number in the game, and you can imagine something silly happening if the number were many orders of magnitude higher, then there’s a good chance you can make that happen and the game will cheer you on. The fun for me is treating this like an idle game where the numbers always go up.

In that vein, every entry in the series has countless tips and tricks that exploit the systems in goofy ways, and I’d love to hear what other folks have tried or heard about.

The first one I encountered, thanks to several reviewers obliquely describing the method:

Farm large amounts of money and items at a low-level using the hospital gacha
  1. Recruit a whole bunch of zombies (they’re cheap.) As many as you can stand to recruit.
  2. Go into story level 1-1 and send one character out to lift the middle enemy north of your base and toss him into your base. He’ll defeat every character waiting to be deployed in your base and destroy it. Then, finish the level.
  3. Back in the Nethership, go to the hospital and heal as many characters as you can afford to heal.
  4. Use the RP (reward points?) earned by healing to pull the evil-gacha lever on “low” until you’re out of points. You’ll get a ton of low-level items and more importantly, way more HL (money) than you started with.
  5. If you have more characters to heal, repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’re rich. Otherwise, return to step 2 and kill all your characters again.

6 was poorly received, and the only one in the series I skipped. This one though looks to be a return to form, so definitely a threat!

I haven’t played a Disgaea in many years (I played Disgaea 5 back in October 2018, according to Steam), but do you recall what makes people poorly receive a Disgaea? Writing, pacing, game mechanics? What makes one Disgaea good and another Disgaea bad?

I can’t imagine you playing a modern Disgaea. I want to, because it would be funny, but I can’t.

Hey! Coincidentally: Disgaea 7: Universal Prinnyclips

Heh, you and Steam both:

Disgaea Expert In The House

I’m pretty sure I know what happened. I played a ton of Disgaea 5 on the Playstation and must have been hoping for a way to transfer my progress to the PC. Ha! As if!

But I’m a huge Disgaea fan from back in the day! To me, Disgaea is of a piece with three other games I’ve been playing lately: Baldur’s Gate 3, Phoenix Point, and Apocrypha. They’re all games about developing cool characters while exploring an imaginative and dynamic world. Admittedly, they all play very differently, but they all hit the same spot for me when I’m playing them. They all scratch the same itch.

I’m playing this and it is fun and funny. And a bit harder than 5, I think? Nothing that a little grinding won’t fix, of course, but that first Jumbification battle was a bit brutal. :D

The problems with 6 were: poor framerate (really poorly optimized 3d engine), low content (probably because it was their first full 3d version), numbers that had a bunch of zeroes tacked on for no reason making everything more painful to read/analyze, and excessively mindless grinding due primarily to the unlimited auto-battle feature (Disgaea is about grinding, sure, but generally through stages that require at least some attention and planning, not literal idle game mechanics)

I played some of this series early on, but didn’t wind up getting into it because of a sense that the “game” was figuring out all the convoluted character building mechanics and how to efficiently grind, and that once that was done most battles were more or less a foregone conclusion one way or the other. In contrast to other tactical RPGs I had played (including NIS’s earlier La Pucelle), I rarely felt like success or failure hinged on my clever positioning, resource management, or use of abilities within the battle – the numbers overwhelmed all of that.

Is that an unfair characterization? Or are there exceptions within the series? Reviews tend to focus on the numbers rather than the tactical experience.

Right? I still feel like I missed something, because I only barely scraped by with my party at the time and I trounced the battles before and after.

I’m not an expert on the series, just an occasional dabbler, but that largely describes how I’ve played. The tactics matter much less than countering a specific endgame offense or defense with my team. That being said, I feel like the oddball stacking/throwing, geopanel, and in this case Jumbification mechanics mean that there is a huge tactical advantage given by studying a particular battle setup.

It’s similar to something like Diablo; it’s true that you can always make your numbers bigger until whatever content you’re trying to beat is trivial, but tactics and skill will allow you to do so much earlier and with less time spent grinding than a player who just brute forces it.

The series has varied greatly as far as the balancing between those things. One of the reasons I consider Disgaea 5 the best one is because I felt it struck the best balance in that regard; grinding the item world a lot was certainly necessary for endgame content, but previewing the next challenge and targeting the proper items/skills/characters/strategy to counter it made a significant difference.

Well, I guess both things are true. If you play the numbers game, numbers will dictate everything. But if you stay within the level parameters of the stages you tackle, clever positioning and correct use of skills and abilities is required for success. Of course, those two forms of play are at odds with each other, but there is space to experience both if you make an effort in that direction, though most people play Disgaea for the numbers part, since that is the unique thing about Disgaea.

Thanks for the perspectives. And yeah, I agree that trading time for power and then trivializing the intended next challenge is a potential issue across a huge swath of the RPG genre, and is a big part of why my tastes have drifted away from it as I’ve gotten older.

But grinding easier areas in Diablo, or doing the replayable battles in something like Fire Emblem, it’s readily apparent that this is repetitive, challenge-free filler content whose only purpose is to grow numbers. And that makes it easy to mentally compartmentalize and either not do that at all, or only resort to it if I’ve already tried something a few times and am actually stuck.

With Disgaea, on the other hand, it felt like there were substantial, novel mechanics and systems attached to that grinding side, so ignoring it felt like missing a big chunk of the intended game experience.

Maybe I’ll give 5 a shot some time if it has the best balance there.

It might help to see those under a different perspective. For instance, instead of seeing the Item World as a way to increase numbers in equipment, you may see it as this game’s version of randomized dungeons (since normal stages are “fixed”). It’s a bit like the dungeons in Persona 3 and 4 in that regard, with the added benefit of potentially improving your equipment.

Disgaea is very original in the sense that it gives you as many tools as you want to “break” the game. Want money? Go to the Cheat Shop and increase HL gain by reduzing anything else. Or you can do the same with XP. If you need something, chances are, there’s a way to get it, both by playing the game and circumventing it. Which sounds great to me.

Disgaea is either a really bad game for those who cannot control their meta/power gaming impulses and let them overtake the enjoyment of the game or a really good game to get that pent-up OCD a place to roam free and wild.

It had some technical rough edges. They moved to 3D and the engine performance was not great for what it looked like. Beyond that, they introduced the ability to program your character AIs and have them essentially auto-battle. It worked pretty well but it also undermined a lot of the game play of doing interesting runs and stuff because you could just brute force it.

Obviously the level grind is a draw in the game but if you are doing it right you are taking advantage of all the crazy game mechanics instead of just doing a level 100 times. But the auto-battle option kinda overwhelmed the normal level up mechanics.

All that said, I enjoyed it.

Heh, that sounds anything but great to me, and comments like that are the exact reason I haven’t revisited the series all these years. I want precisely 0 tools to “break” the game, in the sense of circumventing something that would otherwise be challenging or thought-provoking – that’s gratifying the first time or two but quickly wears off. And just ignoring those tools or limiting their usage isn’t a great answer because then any time the going gets tough, I’ll be second-guessing whether I need to rethink my tactics or I am just playing with too big of a handicap by not taking full advantage of them.

Choosing whether you want to prioritize money or experience or something else is potentially an interesting decision in the context of a game with real limits on your resources, but if it’s just picking what you want to grind for, that doesn’t sound as appealing.

I’ve got nothing against randomized dungeons per se (I love roguelikes and finished the tower in Stranger of Paradise), but it’s definitely case-by-case, and I need both engaging moment-to-moment gameplay and some concrete objective beyond just getting stronger.

In Persona 3 and 4, the dungeons were haphazard collections of rooms and hallways, not particularly interesting in their own right, but functional as a way to dole out a mix of encounters and treasures on the way to the boss of each section. It also had the aspect of encouraging resource management to make it as deep as possible on each exploration night and not “waste” your limited supply of days on the calendar. And it was part of the critical path, and I didn’t want to go back just to grind after completing a section (I also didn’t finish either of those games)

When you go into the Item World, do you often feel like the random stages you fight there are actually tense and engaging in that you have a real chance of losing the battle if you play poorly? Or even if you’re unlikely to lose outright, do you have to pay close attention to how you use limited resources like mana or items because otherwise you’ll have to withdraw sooner than you want to? Basically, how often do you need to make decisions that aren’t obvious and require actually weighing different options, and is there real tension about whether you will be able to achieve your objectives or not depending on how well you play?

I have yet to see, because I haven’t unlocked the Item World yet and the limited experience I had with it in other Disgaeas is probably not enough to answer that question. But I’ll let you know!

Until you get to the true grindy endgame the Item World is more like a Zombie match. You are trying to get to the next checkpoint and get the most resources in a run. You prioritize getting those resources but you have a chance that a random map will completely hose your ability to get them or even complete the map sometimes. The tiles keep you on your toes and prevent it from getting too monotonous though this varies per title on how it cheats under the hood to random you a fun map for what you have. I have had some tense moments in trying to figure out how to get what I want on a particular map but unless you hit that sweet spot for levels and setup it’s not for survival just maximizing.

Depends on how you want to play. You absolutely can choose items with difficulty levels that make them very hard. And you get great rewards for doing it. One of my favorite things to do is dive as deep as I can into the best weapon I have available. It’s a great way to get better gear and level up.

If you are someone who wants a structured challenge then focusing on the main campaign first is going to give you a lot of challenging battles and you can always up the difficulty in the cheat shop if you get ahead of the curve.

Getting deep into the leveling/power up meta game can totally be an end game thing.