PS4’s Disgaea 5 Is a Hell of a Strategy RPG [TGS Hands-On]

Disgaea 5 is a strategy RPG fit for series newbies and longtime players alike.

 

The move to PS4 allowed a great increase in the possible number of players on screen, I was told in a closed-door meeting. Whereas PS3 allowed about 30 characters on the screen at once in Disgaea 3 and 4, the PS4's increased specs will allow 100 characters. Some might say "ahyuck, this looks like a PS2/3 game ahurrrr," but the simple reality is that the old hardware isn't powerful enough. The graphics preserve Disgaea's traditional look of colorful, bright, gorgeous 2D sprites.
 

The series is known for its off-the-wall worlds and emphasis on outside-the-box battle tactics, but Nippon Ichi president Souhei Niikawa said at TGS that extra work has been going into making the game approachable for all players. NIS said one way of doing this is by putting increased focus on the story and characters. According to Niikawa, player feedback praised the battles, but said that the story was a little thin. Niikawa therefore decided to flesh this game's story out. Most Disgaea games tend to be somewhat disconnected from each other, but apparently for the sake of newcomers, this one's ties will be even fewer.

I stuck some other miscellaneous info with the screens in the slideshow here:

Speaking as a series veteran, what I played on the Tokyo Game Show floor was very familiar, yet just as interesting as Disgaea has ever been. The usual Disgaea battles had even more wackiness thrown in, included new super moves and outrageous damage combos.

 New to the series is Revenge. When a character is knocked out, his/her/its allies have a chance of going into Revenge Mode, during which new powers and abilities become available. When main character Killia went into Revenge Mode, for example, he was suddenly able to act multiple times in one turn the first time I've ever seen that in a Disgaea game.

Killia is described as  

An audible "the fuck?" escaped my mouth when I noticed my mage had gun skills without actually having a gun. Then I realized what was up and told the booth attendant, "Aaaah, the fuuuuuuck!"

 

You can now equip sub weapons, and while you can't actually use those secondary weapons for attacks, the character in question can indeed use skills usually saved for primary users of that weapon. This was why my mages had gun techniques, as well as other little mixes and matches.

 

I've played every Disgaea game since the original, so you should know that I was already likely to be interested in this game anyway; nonetheless, the TGS demo play and private demonstration afterward embiggened my anticipation with their cromulent performances.
PS4-exclusive Disgaea 5 comes out March 26 of 2015 in Japan, and the rest of the world some time after, supposedly within 2015.