Most strategy RPGs make players focus on their tactics, since they have to adapt once a key character is lost or an enemy's special ability destroys their team. Disgaea 6 is different: If the player chooses, every battle can be completed by an automation system. Where's the fun in that? Well, what sets this franchise apart are the in-depth out-of-combat training systems present in the Netherworld. Disgaea goes beyond the familiar upgrading of skills and equipment to include mechanics such as a separate dungeon crawl challenge to improve the effectiveness of items. There's also a voting system called the Dark Assembly, where demon senators vote on initiatives such as improving the items offered in the general store or increasing the amount of EXP (experience points) a character can earn in the next battle. There's often so much to do outside of combat that the actual combat sometimes takes a back seat -- which is a pleasant surprise.
Unfortunately, though, the story takes a back seat to the training systems as well. It's not horrible, but it's definitely not the best, either. It tends to lay into jokes harder than other games would dare to, and some moments feel like its poking the player on the shoulder, constantly reminding them that it's funny. But there are more moments where the game is genuinely hilarious. Overall, though, the best part of Disgaea 6 is the flexibility it gives the player. If you choose to auto-battle during every encounter, so be it. If you wish to skip out-of-combat training because it's too confusing, that's OK too. This, along with the ability to skip all cutscenes and tutorials, is rare and very much appreciated. Hilariously, the ability to simply visit the cheat shop to speed up the advancement of your party is presented in-game as a totally commonplace feature. When all of the unique training mechanics work together, you're saved from the mid-game monotony that sometimes affects these kinds of games, and other SRPGs should take notes.