Installments in a series are going to have a lot in common. This is especially true when each game is centered around people who would probably be perfect villains in other properties. Lines between entries may blur at the edges. This is especially true with Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance. Someone might come into this strategic JRPG after playing Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten and swear they’re experiencing deja vu.
Don’t worry. It’s not you, it’s the games.
The similarities between the two Disgaea protagonists begins with their appearance. Killia has a black, blue and crimson color scheme. His hair is spiked, he has a scarf trailing behind him and he’s an intimidating figure. Valvatorez has a similarly aggressive stance, though he is a little more formal, slimmer and perhaps a little less mature in comparison. However, they share a hairstyle, signature tones and are even posed in a similar stance in official art. The two could be brothers.
The commonalities are more than skin deep. The share comical and serious personality traits. Each has a fixation with food as a means of maintaining their strength. Since Killia goes through so many calories, he’s always eating in general. Valvatorez is a vampire who has forsaken consumption of blood in favor of sardines. On the more meaningful side, both men have a love that was lost, and the grief over the woman left behind is a major motive for their makeup.
Seraphina and Vulcanus are another situation where players may swear they’re seeing doubles. The leading ladies of the fourth and fifth Disgaea games look like long lost sisters too. They have the same hair color (pink), keep their long hair pulled back in a ponytail, wear the same sort of outfit (skimpy) and have designs that feature lots of feminine accents like butterflies, bows and hearts. The fanservice force is strong with these folks.
Their personalities aren’t as analogous as Killia’s and Valvatorez, but Seraphina and Vulcanus still have a lot in common. Both are attracted to their respective games’ heroes, to the extent that they’d follow and perhaps make personal sacrifices for each of them. Both are fond of the finer things in life, with Vulcanus’ official title being the Angel of Avarice and Seraphina’s role as a spoiled Princess Overlord. Each has a certain effect on male characters as well. Seraphina is a succubus who can use Dazzling Eyes on her male enemies and a number of her skills, like Heart Ensemble and Cryo Heartbreaker, deal with her charms. Meanwhile, Vulcanus’ Angel Glitter Evility makes all male characters next to her on the field 20% stronger.
There’s one final thing to keep in mind when going through your first playthrough of Disgaea 5. Every installment seems to keep with a theme. The original Disgaea was about finding your own place in the world. Disgaea 2 covered the struggle of searching for power without succumbing to it. Disgaea 3 went into identity and whether a title defines an individual. Disgaea 4 had a political bent. With Disgaea 5, we’re seeing a story that again has political overtones, dealing with the recourse of refugees and nature of revenge.
Typically, NIS spaces out such thoughts. The first and third Disgaea games focus on defining oneself, but the second games acts as a buffer between them. Angels play prominent roles in both the first and fourth game, but there are two installments where Celestia isn’t as important in between. The similar natures of the fourth and fifth games may leave people feeling nostalgic. Whether this is appreciated by the player or not will be left up to personal preferences.
It’s something to keep in mind as you gear up to play Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance. Maybe you’ll pick up on some other shared character traits and story similarities that weren’t discussed here once you attempt to get back at Void Dark for bringing down all the Netherworlds on October 6, 2015..