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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: NIS America
Developed by: Nippon Ichi Software
Genre: SRPG
Players: 1
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: August 26, 2008
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

Everyone remembers there days in high school, whether they were being bullied, excelled at sports, pulled all nighters studying for a midterm and/or final or simply slacked off during the whole four years. In the case of the students at Evil Academy, they are literally in hell. Evil Academy, placed in the center of the underworld, plays host to an ever-expanding multitude of campuses within a campus. In our world, good students excelled and went on to bigger and better things, however at Evil Academy, the top students actually don't do any homework or show up to class.

There have been several students who have wanted to take out revenge on school personnel, and this where our protagonist comes into play. You begin Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice as Mao, an honor student out to take revenge on the dean of the Academy, while becoming the number #1 Honor Student and obtaining the title of Hero within a semester at Evil Academy. What makes the Mao vs. the Dean situation interesting is the fact that the dean, known as the Overlord, is Mao's father. Mao is seeking revenge due to a heinous act where his father stepped on his videogames, destroying millions of hour’s worth of game saves. After you learn all about Mao and what he is attempting to do, he sets out to research the characteristics of a true “hero” (justice and love), only to be stumped by the fact that demons don’t understand those qualities. So he sets out for help to speed up the hero transformation process, which leads him into contact with a Fake Hero known as Almaz, which he ultimately enslaves.

I'm sure many newcomers are tripping out over the plot of this game, but the fact of the matter is Nippon Ichi Software has always used "off the wall" plots within their Disgaea series, keeping the action interesting and complex at the same time. Though much hasn't really changed in the realm of gameplay mechanics, the fact of the matter is that this game series has always had a wealth of content and features to justify the length of the game. However, with the first installment on the Playstation 3 for the series, a few new features have been added to enhance the gameplay.

Absence of Justice now employs a complex Classroom system known as Geo Blocks and a Class World. With the Geo Blocks, you have a greater control over how your character learns new skills and deal’s damage to enemies. It’s very common in Absence of Justice to see a series of same-colored blocks stacked on top of one another. When these situations occur, you won’t have the ability to lift the stack of blocks, however you can destroy the stack by tossing another block of similar color on top of the stack, or next to. By doing this, will inflict damage on the enemies standing on top of the blocks, while at the same time filling your “bonus gage”.

In regards to the “class world”, it operates in a similar fashion to the “item world”, but differs in the sense that you enter randomly-generated dungeons within one of your party members. As you progress deeper and deeper into the dungeons, your character levels up, allowing him/her to gain new abilities. These feature alone, adds hours of additional gameplay to the game, giving gamers new areas to traverse and new abilities to utilize. Traversing these randomly-generated dungeons aren’t required to complete the game, but for those who are trying to reach level 9,999, it’s something to keep in mind.

To help push the gameplay along and build the connection between the gamer and the characters, Absence of Justice features solid voice work. Nippon Ichi invested some time into the dubbing process of the voiceovers in order for the comedic aspects within the gameplay to come across solidly. The voice work also ties into the visuals because conversations between characters are displayed via visual stills, similar to Tales of Symphonia, which ends up playing a greater importance on the dialog.

Another excellent aspect to the sound within Absence of Justice is the immersive soundtrack, which the game boasts. You can easily tell that the composer, Tenpei Sato, truly loves making music a memorable instance within videogames. All the vocal-performed songs are sung in Japanese are mix into a pot of music-based only tunes. Whether you are in a heated battle, or simply roaming the world, the music fits each and every moment perfectly. My favorite track within the game has to be "Wanderer's Poem," which features some of the best amazing acoustic guitar work and some fine Wild ARMs-esque whistling within the background.

If this game were to have been released during the days of the Playstation 2 console, it would be praised for its visual presentation and attention to atmospheric perspective, but within the next-gen realm, this isn't the case. The visuals are top-notch for a 2D game set within a 3D world, however after experiencing visual delights like Metal Gear Solid 4 and even Tales of Vesperia, the aspiration of a fully 3D world isn't that hard to request. Touching on the visual stills used during character interactions, they are hand-drawn and rather detail themselves, utilizing several different stills for each character, to help convey different emotions. However, for those who aren’t gaming in high definition, there is a visual setback in regards to reading on-screen text. It is still readable on a standard definition television, but the text seems a bit blurred.

The only other issue that could be argued about the visual presentation would be the use of the camera. The camera is too limited in providing angles for clear views of the action taking place on the screen. There are a total of four angles, set at three different heights, which are fine, but when the action gets intense and dozens upon dozens of Geo Blocks are on the screen, said limitation can be harmful to the game character view.

Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, just like its predecessors, is an engulfing experience to see and play, often times having you lose track of time. With solid visuals, engulfing storyline and humorous moments around every turn, Disgaea 3 is an SRPG that's worth every single penny spent on it.


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