Disgaea 7: Vows Of The Virtueless Review – An Excellent Offering

Disgaea 7: Vows Of The Virtueless Review

Disgaea games are pure quicksand. You might think you’re playing an approachable turn-based strategy RPG. But you’ll be up to your armpits in the muck before you know it. Indeed, I need to tread carefully, lest I get lost in 2000 words of systems-based minutiae. Instead, let’s approach Disgaea 7 within the scope of the whole series. After all, there’s really not much to compare a Disgaea game to besides other entries in the same franchise. For example, what’s this one about, anyway?

Vows of the Virtueless takes place in an Edo-style Netherworld that’s fallen to decay. As usual, our protagonist is a reluctant hero incapable of expressing sincere emotion. Fuji (the reluctant hero) and Pirilika (the fan-girl with a full heart and a bursting wallet) must team up to restore Hinomoto to its former glory. If you’ve played other Disgaea games, you’re already familiar with the major plot beats. Disgaea 7 doesn’t tread new ground. Honestly, I’d be weirded out if they tried to do so. Thankfully little things like the dialogue make up any potential deficiencies.

Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless Review

Like all good Disgaea games, the dialogue in Vows of the Virtueless is horny, violent, and weird. Characters slip into innuendo at the drop of a hat. They resort to physical force as a solution to most of their problems. Every encounter is ridiculously unhinged. But there’s also a bit of heart sprinkled in. The touching moments feel a bit clichéd, but that’s okay. The story doesn’t linger on any of these moments. The stumbling blocks are minimized as a result. I’m not invested in the plot either way. No, I’m here for the sucking black hole that is the mechanics.

Systems of Infinite Depth

I’ll try and keep this brief. Disgaea 7 has a lot of nested systems to uncover. Beyond the standard item dungeons, you can now perform item reincarnation. Now both characters and items can restart at level one with some stats carried over. Jumbification lets a character become Godzilla-sized, unlocking boosted stats and incredible attack range. Hell Mode lets certain characters access special moves they normally couldn’t. The hospital now uses a gachapon system that rewards you the more healing you pay for. There’s even a Ranked mode for online battles. All of this is on top of the dozen or more systems that have been carried over from previous games.

All of this is to say that Disgaea 7 is two separate games. There’s the main campaign, which you can finish in 15 or 20 hours. And then there’s the post-game. My conservative guess is around ten times that much time? It can’t possibly be less, not since they changed how auto-battles work. It used to be you could use Demonic Intelligence to set up a perfect auto-battle loop, something that could run forever. Now, that same system uses currency. Either they’ve actually nerfed this entry, or there’s a new, more efficient power-building technique waiting further down the road.

Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless Review

That said, even if a couple of systems have been de-fanged, Disgaea 7 is still enormous. Most of the systems from 6 and beyond are still in place, for example. The Juice Bar, Item World, The Senate system, the Squads, Evilities, the Innocent Farm, and the IW research teams are all still in place. You have a host of options for tackling the many post-game challenges that lurk beyond the campaign. Of course, the endgame still suffers from the same problems, as well.

Strike First or Die

While the main game is a strategy RPG, the endgame takes a slightly different form. Battles become a sort of quickdraw competition. If you can’t kill an enemy in a single strike, they will surely do the same thing to you. Every turn is spent positioning yourself for maximum damage output and efficiency. Anyone still on the map within range of an opponent is almost certainly dead. This provides its own entertaining challenge, yes. But it’s not exactly a strategy RPG any longer.

In fact, a lot of Disgaea 7 will feel familiar to fans of the series. In a sense, this iterative form of progress is perfect. If you want more Disgaea, you’ve been rewarded with an infinite harvest. This is how the whole series has evolved. Each new entry makes some slight changes and improvements while retaining the molten core that is the essential Disgaea experience. In other words, if you’re hoping for drastic changes with this entry, you’re out of luck.

Like the rest of the series, Disgaea 7 is a massive game. The combat and progression systems boast near-infinite depth. The writing is snappy and fun, the music is catchy, and the art style is extremely anime. On the other hand, those infinite systems are downright impenetrable. You need a very particular focus to wade through so many menus. And the grind is still monumental, no matter what sneaky tricks you employ. For fans of the series, Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless is a series highlight. To all the new players, I say: Welcome! This will either be a joyless slog or the start of a brand new addiction.

***A PS5 code was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Cool new features
  • Tons of deep systems
  • Fun writing

The Bad

  • Prepare to grind
  • Endgame is brutal
  • Very familiar plot beats