Few franchises can get away with feeling this similar from version to version, but Disgaea is just that deep, requiring you to understand and exploit character stats, equipment attributes, and class abilities at a level most modern RPGs have abandoned in the name of accessibility. Disgaea 5’s many new and tweaked gameplay features hit way more often than they miss, and together with its distinctive brand of campy fun and some subtle but welcome visual improvements, they make this one of the better Disgaeas.
Disgaea is like an old oak: its sturdy trunk and roots persist even as its leaves change color, fall off, and sprout anew. Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance doesn’t take any risks with the series’ bread and butter turn-based tactical combat – I’m still having a blast tossing explosive penguins and grinding late into the night to create the most perfectly customized cast of demonic misfits I can manage. It’s those new metaphorical leaves that give each new Disgaea its unique flavor though, and Disgaea 5’s many new branches succeed in keeping the formula fresh, even if they don’t all improve on the systems they’re replacing.