Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention|
School is back in session once again as PlayStation users get another look at Disgaea 3 only the second verse isn't quite like the first. This time you can take Evil Academy and all its denizens on the go with the release of Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention for the PlayStation Vita. Iif you think the title is familiar then you would be half right. The newly labeled Absence of Detention is, in fact, Absence of Justice which released on the PS3 over four years ago, only this time there is more content then ever before, making Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention the most definitive version yet. What exactly do you get you ask? Let's break it down.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention once again follows the tale of Mao who is the son of the Dean of Evil Academy and Overlord of the Netherworld. Mao, the Number #1 Honor Student in the Netherworld, wants nothing more than to crush dear old dad over what would make any dedicated gamer cry. To get what he wants Mao captures and steals the title of a wouldbe hero only to run into hilarious roadblocks in his way including the truly badass (her words) delinquent demon Raspberyl.
For those familiar with Disgaea 3, not much has actually changed to the strategy RPG's core mechanics in this portable iteration. For those who picked up a Vita and are not familiar with the Disgaea franchise's quirky but completely functional gameplay it's time for a little tutelage about the workings of Evil Academy. Oddly the entire adventure of Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention takes place in an ever expanding place of learning... that's right, a school for demons.
The school is the hub for everything you do in the Netherworld and is presented in a isometric layout just like the battlefields. Players will set off on Mao's plan for revenge by talking to his way too knowledgeable demon butler Geoffrey to select the main story missions. The hub world also contains shops to buy better armor and weapons, and heal your injured or KO'd allies. It won't take long before you realize just how deep this title really is when you delve into some of Absence of Detention's class related features. To get access to better gear and gain new allies you have to go to homeroom and vote on what you want. If there are those your plan you can attempt to bribe them like the honor student you are.
I really enjoyed the Magichange feature, that allowed you to transform a monster class character, like the highly explosive Prinnies, into a weapon for a human character to use. However both parties must be part of the same club, created in homeroom, for you to do a Magichange. This does have its consequences though. Obviously you lose a teammate in the process but its attacks make short work of that loss. However if a character is defeated you lose both characters for the, entire fight. Also the Magichanged monster will disappear from you party after using its deadliest attack. If you think Magichanged attacks are powerful then you will be absolutely blown away by the newly added Tera-level spells. These attacks while requiring an insane amount of mana will make any enemy in your way wish they never got out of bed that day.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention has a really solid combat system that features a great combo mechanic. Players utilize their characters to attack the enemy in rounds alternating between the player and the enemy force. To be really effective in battle you need to use team attacks and combos as much as possible. To do team attacks you need to have two or more characters lined up when one character attacks to do a more powerful attack. You can have four characters attack the same target to create the very useful 3-hit combos.
The faster you take out all the enemies on the board you gain bonus that can be very useful such as gaining extra weapons, money and experience. Experience allows Mao and his allies to get stronger just like in every other RPG title, only Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention takes it to ridiculous levels. I've played several Strategy RPGs and even more RPGs (online and off) and I have NEVER seen a game have a max character level of 9,999. Seriously! You'd have to go to hell and back so many times to achieve this you might as well become a demon.
I reviewed Disgaea 3 when it first hit the PS3 and one of my biggest issues with the game was it's graphics. Now I know from experience that Strategy RPGs usually concentrate more on the story and gameplay than they do the graphics and Disgaea 3 was no different. However Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention looks amazingly good on the Vita's sharp screen and is perfectly suited on a handheld system. The still image story elements between battles even got an upgrade with new emotional and fun pieces. Another cool feature that they added was the ability to change the look of your favorite weapon. So if you like the stats of one weapon but not the look, you can port to stats to favored design preset and fight in style.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention sounds really good on the Vita both with and without headphones. Starting off, the theme song is sung in Japanese (with English subtitles) which is a major plus. No I donít speak Japanese or know how to translate it, but these types of games always sound better in their native language. Which brings me to the other high point of Absence of Detention; it features both the English and the Japanese vocal tracks for the characters, which is just awesome and well done at that. But what I like even more is that several prominent voice actors supply the voices to Mao, Raspberyl, Almaz and Geoffrey. These actors include Vic Mignogna (voice of Edward Elric), Laura Dawn Bailey (voice of the sexy Rayne), Johnny Yong Bosch (voice of Ichigo, Vash and an ex-Power Ranger) and Dave Wittenberg (voice of Kakashi Hatake from Naruto). I am a huge fan of most of these voice actors and they all pull off wicked performances in this wacky title.
It wouldn't be fitting to put Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention on the Vita without using some of its features. For starters you can use the front touchscreen and back touchpad to speed through messages, change camera angles and select characters on the battlefield. One of the cooler features uses the GPS function via the Honor System. Your Vita calculates things such as play times and victories as well as the actual distance that you travel. All of this raises your Honor Quotient which helps you in the game such as discounts in the stores.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention also comes with a staggering amount of content this time around in one package. New to the adventure is the after story epilogue that features 4 new stories that has Raspberyl, Almaz and Sapphire starting in their own tales. There is also the arrival of two new characters, Rutile and Stella, and the unveiling of a rival Academy. If that's not enough, Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention comes loaded with ALL the DLC from the PS3 version. This covers $80 dollars worth of additional characters, music and gameplay features with possibly more on the way.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention is a really in-depth strategy RPG with a ridiculous amount of content. The Disgaea series has always been known for its quirky characters and equally humorous story lines and this one is no different. If you like Strategy RPGs and have a Vita then I absolutely recommend getting Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention. School's only just begun.