Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited Game Poster Image
Complex strategy game has captivating play, edgy content.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to follow directions and pay close attention to the storyline in order to help solve puzzles and navigate to the correct areas throughout the game. In addition, the battle sequences require rigorous strategy, requiring players to hone their critical thinking skills. While there are limited tutorials to help players develop their plans in battle, the omission of hand holding provides a larger sense of accomplishment when you successfully execute your tactics. But the learning curve is steep, and not all players will dedicate themselves to discovering everything this game has to offer. Still, dedicated strategy fans will love the depth and challenge that Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited provides over hundreds of hours of play.

Positive Messages

The central character decides to take a stand and work with a group of friends to save the planet. Although there's a bit of edge and snarkiness, overall it leaves a positive lasting impression because there's genuine heart to the characters and story line. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players are on the good side of the good-versus-evil plot in this game, and all team members are strong-willed, hardworking allies who strive to prove that anyone can overcome obstacles of any size.

Ease of Play

By their nature, strategy role-playing games are complex. Players unfamiliar with this genre or franchise will need to invest several hours to be fully prepared to take down opponents. You'll also explore environments and solve increasingly difficult puzzles. It's not a simple pick-up-and-play title, but players willing to invest the time should be able to conquer its many challenges.

Violence

Frequent battles are presented more as chess-like strategy games than senseless onslaughts of violence. Players and opponents methodically place their characters around a board and then watch as attack animations display the results of each turn -- so violence feels slightly detached from player interaction. But there are slashing and shrieking sounds, slow-motion visual effects, and other flourishes to highlight character injuries. There's also a brief animated sequence (outside of regular gameplay) in which a character gets impaled, followed by the camera displaying the shadowed reflection of blood splattering.

Sex

Some female characters with exposed cleavage. Suggestive comments in dialogue, with references to "perverts," "sexual harassment," and a female character's chest as being "so flat, they use your chest to measure if a shelf is straight!"

Language

Swearing in dialogue includes the words "s--t" and "ass."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

During one story sequence, characters talk about a substance that can "make you feel like you can fly." Although characters talk about inhaling the substance, it's a rather ambiguous discussion -- until one of the characters pipes in and says, "Just say no, kids! Bad! Bad drugs!"

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Disgaea 4: A Promise Revealed is a strategy role-playing game in which players team up with a group of allies to take on an evil force in the underworld. Players engage in turn-based combat where battles play out like a board game. The focus is more on the required strategy elements than the violence itself, although there are combat animations that include slow-motion flourishes and other effects (screaming sounds, for example). Parents also need to know that there's sexually suggestive material (female characters with exposed cleavage, references to "perverts" and "sexual harassment") and coarse language ("s--t," "ass"). In addition, there's one story sequence in which characters discuss an unknown substance that "makes you feel like you can fly." During this scene, one character says, "Just say no, kids ... Bad drugs!"

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What's it about?

In DISGAEA 4: A PROMISE REVISITED, players begin the game in Hell. Literally. The story starts off in the bowels of the underworld (referred to in the game as Hades), where Valvatorez, the central character, plugs away at his menial 9-to-5 job. That is, until he learns of a government plot for the mass extinction of a group of Hades dwellers known as Prinnies. Thus begins a long and winding adventure for Valvatorez and several allies who join him along the way. As players progress, they discover that there's an even more enormous plot of destruction underway, and time is running out before the entire planet -- and beyond -- will face certain doom.

Is it any good?

Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited won't be for everyone. It has a bizarre, twisting storyline that seems almost purposefully intended to confuse anyone who tries to follow along. It also has a very complex turn-based battle system, and it's not uncommon to spend half an hour or more on some of the more difficult battles, making it appealing only to players who are willing to invest a significant amount of time and focus.

That said, for those who fit that description, Disgaea 4 delivers wholeheartedly. This title is a gem among a dying genre, and anyone who wants to truly get lost in a captivating tale will appreciate all the effort put into every aspect of this game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether or not the impact of violent content in Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited is lessened by the detached nature of the battles. Do you think this game focuses more on the violence or the complex strategy involved during combat?

  • When the odds are stacked against you -- in this game and in life -- how do you react? Do you fight back against these odds (either literally or figuratively), or do you run away?

Game details

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