Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless aims to be a return to form for the series
Early last week, RPG Site had the chance to sit down with NIS America and get our hands-on with a number of upcoming titles from the companies' catalog - chief among them being Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless, the latest title in the long-running series. While Disgaea 6 landed to mixed reception from both critics and fans alike, the company aims to re-right the ship with Disgaea 7 - at least, based on the in-development build we had a chance to preview..
Part of this task is being accomplished by listening to fan feedback about some of the changes the company had introduced in Disgaea 6. First and foremost, auto-battle has been rebalanced - and can only be utilized after a stage has already been cleared, meaning that players will no longer be able to have the entire game play itself from beginning to end. Instead, it's used as a tool to enable players to more easily manage grinding sessions - assuming that they have the resources to spend for it.
Secondly - while we didn't have the chance to demo the system ourselves - the addition of new features such as Item Reincarnation aims to add more depth to the gameplay loop, whereas Disgaea 6 attempted to streamline the series formula perhaps more than was necessary. PlayStation and PC versions of the game will, also, be available at launch this time around; the timed exclusivity that the previous release faced won't be repeated, meaning that every Disgaea fan will be able to play their preferred version of the game at launch, rather than having to wait for it to come to their platform of choice.
To illustrate the former point, after a few stages to get ourselves acquainted with the game's mechanics, we had the opportunity to face our first boss battle, as well as to utilize the game's all-new Jumbification feature. To put things mildly, the game does expect you to either memorize its systems, engage with its side content, and more. Despite how well I'd managed against the stages leading up to the finale of the chapter, I was very swiftly beaten into submission by the boss - with the NIS America representatives quick to mention that not only was I far from the only one to have fallen victim to the boss, but even that its inclusion in the preview session was intentional - to directly illustrate that for longtime fans, Disgaea 7 won't be holding any punches, and that its gameplay is very much a return to form after the experiments of Disgaea 6.
In short; Disgaea 7 feels like a proper follow-up to the likes of Disgaea 4 and 5, and with the way NIS America showcased it - almost like an apology for Disgaea 6. Complete with the series director being present to answer any questions directly! Since we'd recently had the chance to interview him over email I didn't ask him any pressing questions about the upcoming release, but I did ask about the state of Steam Deck compatibility - whether that will be ready for launch, if it's even a target, etc. For the record - nothing has been set in stone just yet.
Like with any preview of a possibly hundreds of hours long RPG, it was hard to get a read for just how fresh Disgaea 7 will feel across the span of a full playthrough - but the session did ultimately accomplish what it set out to do, and that was to assure me that it's a Disgaea game, for Disgaea fans. If you found yourself disappointed by Disgaea 6, hopefully, Disgaea 7 will have done enough to right the ship that you'll manage to come away from the game happy with the state of the series in 2023. I'm feeling confident that most players will; though, of course, we'll have to wait until the full game's release later this October to get a real indication of how things will truly hash out.