Disgaea 5 is a video game drunk on itself

And the Switch version is the perfect place to have a tipple. 

Ten billion damage points. Let's say that out loud. 10,000,000,000 damage points.

It's a goal of sorts in Disgaea 5, rewarded with a trophy when you dish out such a nuclear amount of punishment, but in truth Disgaea works so well because you can always set your own goals. Train up an army of Prinnies, min/max your squad to your heart's content or grind a single character all the way to level 9999. Or just idly tinker away at a lavish hotbed of systems.

Say you want to see that one and all those zeroes pop from the fresh corpse of some poor demon. First you might want to send a character to the Strategy Assembly where they can lobby to hog all the XP so you can quicken your journey through the levels. Or maybe head to the cheat shop to ramp up the XP that's doled out. Disgaea 5 is a game that's always mischievously inviting you to break it.

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You'll want to make sure you've got the right Evilities equipped, and see that any weaponry has some buff Innocents to help your cause. Why not go to the Item World, while you're at it, where you can dive into any item in Disgaea's vast armoury and conquer a randomly generated dungeon in order to level it up. Grind, grind, delicious grind all the way.

Then, when all's been ground to near-perfection, set up your party, mindful of any stat-altering geo-panels in play and positioning team members in order to get the best possible buffs. Want to make a tower of some of your finest warriors in an attempt to soften up the enemy? Knock yourself out, kid.

Oh, and best make sure you've eaten a half-decent stat-boosting curry beforehand too.

Disgaea's a curiously warped anomaly of a strategy RPG that's drunk on its own systems, merrily staggering along its own path for coming up to 15 years now. If you've ever sampled some of this 100 proof madness before and found it not to your taste, then Disgaea 5 - which has just come out on Nintendo's Switch in a Complete Edition that bundles together the base game that released on PlayStation 4 in 2015 and all the subsequent DLC - is unlikely to sway you. Bar the relatively minor new Revenge system and a slight visual overhaul, nothing's really changed.

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Make the mistake of sitting through one of Disgaea's cut-scenes and you'd be excused for flinging your Switch out the window - its story is dreadful, its characters are all jerks and it's only saved by its own barminess, really, or the fact the skip button is never too far away - and there's a dusty vintage to its visuals. The character art is cute enough - and scrubs up nicely on the Switch in either portable or docked mode - but the backdrops don't seem too far removed from the series' PS2 origins, and Disgaea 5 often looks like it'd be more at home on a gently humming CRT. It's a slightly archaic, often painfully eccentric game, in other words, and one that greedily demands dozens of hours of your time.

But it's also one where those hours can pass by in a delirious blur. If you've a taste for the grind or you've been curious about the series before, your interest piqued by those vocally tipsy on Disgaea's brilliance, this is as good a time as any to get involved. The Nintendo Switch's portability is a boon for a game that , and while there's no significant evolution from what's gone before this is most definitely the best that Disgaea's ever been. It's bright, it's bold and it runs impossibly deep, a candy-fuelled machine that crunches numbers until they shoot all the way up. It's a machine that's sometimes abstruse, although it's one that's always inviting you to tinker with it, getting your hands sticky with all that sugary goodness.

Disgaea 5 is the kind of game that could set you up for life, basically, a silly strategy game that boasts some serious hooks and near-unfathomable depths. It's found a new and fitting home on Nintendo's Switch, and now's as good a time as any to get stuck in. The journey to 10,000,000,000 damage points starts here.

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About the author

Martin Robinson

Martin Robinson

Features and Reviews Editor

Martin is Eurogamer's features and reviews editor. He has a Gradius 2 arcade board and likes to play racing games with special boots and gloves on.

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