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Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy/ RPG/ Strategy


Graphics & Sound:

When Disgaea first came out about 9 years ago, I tried to play it because so many of my friends just loved the game. Unfortunately, for me I just didn't like the SRPG system. Just recently though, I decided that it was time to give it another try, and I am quite glad that I did as this time around, I am enjoying the battle system much more.

Over the years, the overall style of the game has not changed, which is good. The characters are quite adorable, but still evil looking at the same time. They're more like a child's concept of evil than true horror though. Prinny (the penguin-like things that are so well-known now) still look like they always have, and everyone loves the Prinny! The characters are somewhat customizable as you can choose different colors and different voices when you create a new character, but your main character, Mao, always looks and sounds the same. The voicework is quite well done. I wasn't a fan of Mao's voice at first, but as I played a bit, it grew on me and seemed to fit him. The rest of the voices fit right in from the start. The characters talk during the cutscenes and during battle, you'll get their battle cries. I love the background music too. It is upbeat and happy with just a bit of an evil undertone, just like the game.


Gameplay:

Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention is more or less the same game as Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice on the PS3, so if you've played it, be prepared for most of it to be the same. There are a few new things like new character abilities and a bit of a new storyline. Mao is a student of the Nether Institute of Evil Academy in the center of the Netherworld. He is there to learn how to be the best demon that he can be so that he can one day take over for the Overlord, his father. Mao is a bit of a rebel though. He has decided that he needs to become a hero (the opposite of a demon) as the hero always defeats the Overlord. Mao is determined to beat up the Overload. You might ask why, but I'm not going to tell you. I'll just let you laugh at the reason for yourself when you find out. The only problem is that he has no clue how to become a hero as the hero understand love and justice, which are the root of the hero's power, and Mao just can't wrap his head around those concepts. Geoffrey is his butler. Geoffrey gives Mao the "research data" on heroes (which is a lot of videogames and anime). Mao decides that to understand these concepts better, he needs to capture a hero to study and, of course, Geoffrey has one already lined up. Geoffrey gives him some "slaves" to use on his quest.

Raspberyl (Beryl for short) has issues with Mao wanting to be a hero. See, Beryl and her friends, Kyoko and Asuka, are "delinquents," which in this academy's terms means that she tries to do good and find peaceful solutions and she never misses class. If someone like Mao wants to be a hero, then Beryl is worried that he will give all delinquents like her a bad name. If you can't tell, bad is good and good is bad, and your normal way of thinking will be challenged. Beryl wants Mao to go back to being an Honor Student, not a hero! Just when Beryl enters, the hero Almaz von Almandine Adamant comes along as well. Beryl decides that it is her duty to protect the hero from Mao. Once Mao beats her, he captures the Hero and you are finally into the game. Mao steals the hero's title and makes poor Almaz into one of his demon slaves. Of course, Mao is going to learn that there are consequences to having the title of Hero and Almaz is going to learn that the title of Demon-in-Training is even worse for him than he thought! This is all just the beginning though. Mao and Almaz have a long way to go in the rather odd friendship. Even in the demon world, you can't trust that things are as they appear and Mao is going to learn a lot as he continues.

Mao is going to spend time in the school and also in dungeons. The school has plenty of places for you to shop for new items, visit the nurse to get healed, and go to your Homeroom. Homeroom is where you can work on your strategies. You can also create new characters here and call Homeroom to get bonus things, if you can get approval of the class representatives. You might have to bribe for your bonuses though! You will definitely want to use the "More Expensive Stuff" as soon as you can to get better weapons and armor in the shop. Make sure to look around for chests as they will appear in new places at the beginning of new chapters. You can also get chests in the dungeons from defeating monsters. Keep on battling Mao through to the end to find out who the real heroes and who the real demons are in this saga.


Difficulty:

There is no difficulty setting when you start a new game in Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention, so you'll just have to work on leveling up your characters if you find things are too difficult. There are a lot of things that you can do to help your characters progress. You can learn "Evility" which will give you all sorts of different bonuses. You can also learn new Skills. You need to be careful though as some characters are going to naturally be better at things that they are more inclined to, so make sure to check the Evility and Skill well and make sure it is the right choice for that character. To learn Evility and Skills, you will need to spend the Mana that you have earned fighting. If you find that you are having trouble getting the hang of fighting, go play the first few maps again. You can play them as many times as you want and earn enough money and exp to make your game a lot easier as you go on. Make sure you use that "More Expensive Stuff" as soon as possible, like I said, to help with the items. You'll be able to get through no matter how difficult you think it is at the beginning if you take it slow and level grind. If you think it's too easy, then just power through without new items.

Geoblocks are going to play a very important part in your combat, so I suggest you learn how to use them well. Basically, some squares are colored and will have an affect on your combat. You can change the colors of these by attacking a different colored block on top of them. You will also have situations where the board itself is covered with geoblocks. You can throw a geoblock onto another geoblock of the same color and they will disappear. I highly recommend you learn how to deal with these blocks as the more that you can chain together, the higher your bonus will be, which will in turn make your life a lot easier!


Game Mechanics:

The basic commands in Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention are easy to learn. For running around the school and such, you use the Left Stick or D-Pad to move around the place. Those will also move your cursor select in battle. The (Triangle) opens your Menu at the school, the (X) talks to people and selects, and the (O) exits Menus. In battle, you will need to use strategy. To do so, you will select a warrior, move and/or give them commands, and then execute those commands. You can do each character one at a time, but the more commands that you string together before executing, the more combos you will get. Characters can also attack together if you are careful and have them next to each other. Characters that have higher bonds will have a higher likelihood of joint attacks. You can have up to 4 players on a team attack. Monster companions can be "magichanged" into weapons for a human character. You just need to have them as a member of the same school club (in Homeroom) as the human. You can configure game settings in Homeroom as well. Use (L) or (R) to rotate the camera, (Square) and then touch the top left of Touch Screen or rear Touch Pad will show the battle field from above. You can disable the rear Touch Pad if you find yourself accidentally hitting it and just want rid of it. I find it odd that you can use the button controls for pretty much everything in the game, but when you go to save, you have to use the Touch Screen to select the save slot, but that's a Vita thing and not a function of the game.

As I said before, I wasn't a fan of Disgaea when it first came out, but I have really enjoyed Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention. The storyline is intriguing and the characters are simply adorable. I recommend anyone with an interest in strategy RPGs pick up Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention today and give it a try. It is quite a lot of fun and will keep you entertained for hours.


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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