Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice (PS3)

Okay, first off … best opening sequence to a video game … ever! The “Evil Academy Theme Song” or what ever it’s called is to cute, so catchy, so charmingly animated that for the weeks upon weeks when I played the game I just let it play at startup because I was that in love with it. Moving on …

As we all know, I love Disgaea, and as long as they keep making them I will keep playing them. Absence of Justice follows Mao and some other characters, including the super cute Raspberyl above, as they try to defeat Mao’s father, who is Overlord, both of this Netherworld and the school that Mao attends. The school is subject to some kind of Bizarro World-esque system where Honors Students never go to class, etc. It’s confusing and tedious, as is the entire plot of this game with the exception, quite possibly, of Salvatore the Magnificent (part of the mispronounced Diez Gentlemen) and the post-game plot, which is quite funny for the most part. Also … there seems to be some none-too-subtle racism directed again Mexicans, but perhaps that’s just me being too sensitive (I don’t think so).

However awful the plot may be and however tedious the plot levels are (and they are), everything else in the game is such a freakish improvement over the previous games that I can barely contain my happiness. They have new classes (like Cheerleader, cutest class ever) and new monsters, plus the leveling system has been moved around to actually make you use the points you accrue doing various things, which is a nice step forward. They’ve also introduced “Fun Weapons” which, unless leveled very carefully, are weaker than normal weapons, but possess special characteristics that are hilariously useful. Even item world is a colossal step up from the previous two games and the game feels tiered properly, in the sense that it takes a while to get the point where you feel like you’re just out and out level grinding. Magichange is something new to the game, where monsters can become weapons, but it’s useless to me since you end up sacrificing a good monster character to get a three-turn use weapon. Not my thing.

Gender issues? A standard part of the review, for those who haven’t read one of mine yet, and I will say yes. While the princess character is wonderfully far from being too princess-ey, the way the female characters are handled in the game frosts me. As an awesome girl gamer I like to have all womyn teams, because they’re cuter and more radical than boy teams. Ahem. But the “female” version of human classes, with rare exception, are never able to naturally (by level) learn the highest level weapon move that their male counterparts learn. I was so angered by this, that I had to jump through hoops to get moves that the “man” version of the same character got through basic leveling, that I ended up being pretty offended. Shame on you NIS! Shame!

Like all new games this one has a bunch of downloadable stuff, like levels, characters, monster classes, and the like. I wanted Plenair so I “bought” her, but I honestly think it’s lame not to be sold a full game, that’s my philosophy. Cheap on your part NIS, but you got me with Plenair, I was weak … eventually I ended up buying my all the downloadable content when it went on sale and I will say this: the Dragon monster class kicks butt!

Reviewed 11/08/09

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