After a strong launch line-up the Vita’s release schedule has been worryingly quiet. It has also been without anything resembling a decent RPG to really get our teeth into. Hopefully that’s all about to change as Disgaea 3 gets a re-release.
We’re not entirely sure why NIS didn’t release Disgaea 4 instead as it’s generally seen as the superior title. What you have here is a full priced game that has been out on the PS3 since 2008 and available for under a tenner today. On the plus side, Absence of Detention does come with all the separate DLC from the PS3 game, including an extra four chapters. Not that you’d miss it, this game is huge. You can level up to Lv. 9999 type of huge.
From the screenshots you may have already gathered this is a tactical RPG in a similar vein toFinal Fantasy Tactics. So instead of both sides standing on the spot taking turns like a spells and stabbing dance off, they must navigate the isometric maps to gain the advantage. For better or worse, depending on how you like it, this means battles can take ages.
You pick members from your expansive roster to jump into the fight, move them to where they can reach with a limited zone, pick an attacking action then repeat for multiple team-mates. When ready you execute the commands in sequence before ending your turn and letting the enemy have a go. If you’re not used to this tactical setup, it may take a while to gel. Hell, if you’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 recently it will melt your brain for the first few hours. There’s no simple option of ‘push X to win’ here.
There are other factors to take into account during battle that prolong the experience even further. Timing simultaneous team attacks will give you a massive damage boost and you’ll always need to consider how open to attack you’ll be afterwards. Some stages require you to pick up and throw blocks in order to create platforms to reach higher enemies. This felt like a needless inclusion though if I’m honest, and I knew during the lengthy tutorial I was going to roll my eyes and grumble something unmentionable every time this was required and pine for the HD sexiness of FFXIII-2’s hand-holding.