Disgaea Infinite, released June 8th for PSP, is a visual novel starring the cast of characters from the Disgaea universe. Instead of tactical battles between demons, humans, Prinnies and monsters, the story centers around an alleged assassination attempt at Laharl’s castle. You play as a Prinny who has been accused of attempting to kill Prince Laharl with an explosive device and it’s your job to find out what really happened. Lucky for you, before the incident happened, you found Tick-tock, a timepiece with the ability to warp you back to a set point in time and gives you the ability to manipulate other people’s decisions. Using your new-found abilities, you must find out what caused the explosion and stop it from happening or else Laharl will punish you by cutting your salary…or worse.
As with most visual novels, there is not a lot of action to be found; so, the challenge doesn’t come from skill, but from critical thinking. The story is all told via dialogue with full voice acting and features characters from all three Disgaea games, though they aren’t all necessarily in the same capacities as their respective titles. You start your playthrough in Laharl’s room, but once Tick Tock is activated, your spirit leaves your body and can follow other characters around the rest of the area. So, instead of being stuck just following around the Prinny, you get a chance to move from person to person, altering history in order to keep everyone safe.
The story is very lighthearted and, if you make good decisions, it only takes a couple hours to complete a playthrough. However, the game has 13 different endings; so, you can easily get enjoyment out of multiple playthroughs. In one playthrough, you may save everyone and stop the assassination, but perhaps in the next, you end up kidnapped and treated as a science experiment. The game can go in a wide variety of directions based on the choices you make, and the ability to autoskip previously read text can save you some time if you get tired of reading the same dialogue over and over again.
In order to help you keep track of who is where during the game, you are given a “Time Table” that shows which characters are in which rooms at certain times, but even with its help, it can still be confusing trying to figure out where you haven’t gone yet. As you explore the castle and interact with the characters, more of the table is filled out, helping you plan where you need to go to find other endings and dialogue choices.
Disgaea Infinite re-uses a lot of art and music from previous titles in the series; so, if you are a fan, you will enjoy the references and cameos. The characters are all represented with the standard character art used in the previous Disgaea games, and the few times action sequences are shown, it uses the sprites from the games as well. The game also features some of the best music from the previous games as well. As you unlock endings, you will also get access to a bonus art gallery, which while a neat touch, doesn’t add a whole lot to the game.
The game would be even better if it were longer, but at $19.99, the title is a good buy for people who enjoy both Disgaea and other visual novels like Phoenix Wright. The fact that the game is all dialogue also lends itself to being played on the go and put in sleep mode when necessary, just like keeping your place with a bookmark. Don’t expect anything groundbreaking from the title, but enjoy it for what it is: a silly, electronic choose-your-own-adventure novel.
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