Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance is an excellent Japanese turn-based role playing game. The deep battle mechanics define it as one of the most original strategic role-playing games, rivalling the Fire Emblem franchise and Final Fantasy Tactics in content. The cast is entertaining as a parody of cliched character tropes of Japanese animation, even considering the cringeworthy dialogue and in-game sprites.
The game’s narrative feels ripped straight out of a Japanese Shounen animation. Players take control of a group of demons each with a vendetta against the supreme evil being, the Void Dark and his army. The Void Dark invades nearby netherworlds in his quest for world domination, with the demon overlord Seraphina and her world being one of the few surviving towns.
The Disgaea series has always been known for its self-reflective humour but there were moments in Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance that made me genuinely laugh. There’s a playful charm to everything in the game – from tutorials informing players of one of the game’s several mechanics, to an item description of a flower-decorated bow, poking fun at the idea that it was made by a group of middle-aged men.
This charm is further highlighted by the game’s diverse soundtrack. Songs can differ from sombre blues dictating the arrival of a character’s backstory; hyper-Japanese pop music visualising the tense adrenaline created by planning your characters’ actions; to the soothing sounds of the hub-world tune ballad. The game’s opening cinematic captures the tone of the game by merging the Japanese rock-inspired soundtrack with medium and long shots of the main party standing at the Void Dark’s castle gates, prepared to fight.