Disgaea PC on Steam is the latest surprise from Nippon Ichi Software. The classic tactical JRPG saga goes back to its first instalment with a port for, as the title suggests, PC. Fans of the series have embraced this with open arms and will certainly get some new followers.
However, some people might be a bit disappointed with it and not only because of the initial framerate issues that have already been fixed. The game was announced as “not just a port”, but that’s what it is; a port of the PSP version of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.
The portable release called Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness included some extra content that this PC port includes, plus some achievements added to the mix. Some veteran followers probably expected more from them, though.
Long after the PSP port became available, Disgaea DS came out as a version for the Nintendo DS. Even with the slight downgrade in graphics, they made up with some special additions. Some of them minor, like taking advantage of the two screens to add some comedy relief in extra playthroughs with a Prinny commenting during the cutscenes. But the improvements were beyond that when it comes to comparing both portable rereleases.
Disgaea’s PSP port had additional content in form of hidden bosses, two of them from the, at the time, new Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. This is a very common practice for Nippon Ichi Software, as they love throwing characters from different game series together.
From PSP to DS, not only do we have Disgaea 2’s characters Adell and Rozalin becoming playable after defeating them, it also happens to Zetta, the badass overlord from Makai Kingdom. If that wasn’t enough another NPC, Pleinair, can join the party from the second playthrough onward. On the PSP port, the three new bosses are fought, but only join your party in the DS one.
With the boasting of this new PC port including improvements in the User Interface and keyboard-adapted controls, it still falls short to what some fans might have imagined. With the power this has to deliver, the game could’ve given the best of all three releases.
The graphics of the original PS2 game and all the extra unlockables and content from the latest instalments. The game is still greatly enjoyable, but it feels like a wasted opportunity, especially knowing Nippon Ichi Software. Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance was released merely a year ago, so cameos of one of two characters from that game in Disgaea PC wouldn’t have come as a shock.
A glimmer of hope beams on the community, however. This PC port might be a precedent for the whole Disgaea series, perhaps even the whole Nippon Ichi library, becoming available on Steam. If that’s the case, there’s going to be a lot of fans scratching their pockets, especially considering the massive amount of DLC characters the latest titles have.
Let’s just hope that this time, if it does happen, all of them are available, unlike the fiasco with Gig, Miabel and Dark Éclair in Disgaea 2’s PSP port. Of all of the characters, those three were only available on the Japanese version. Nippon Ichi Software of America gave a couple excuses as to why they couldn’t get them in, mostly mentioning glitches when trying to convert them to the North American release.
This issue with ports isn’t new at all, though this is truly the most recent to date. It appears that Japan has trouble getting their console games ported to PC without getting issues thrown all over them. One of the biggest disasters came from the release of Final Fantasy VII for Windows 95.
The requirements were really high for a machine using that OS, and while using more advanced versions of Windows might’ve helped, the game wasn’t designed for it. Aside from needing the most powerful machine Windows 95 could handle, it also required a specific codec that wasn’t anywhere in the disc.
If you didn’t have it, Full Motion Video scenes would probably desync in front of your eyes at best. Trying to use more modern systems would give you compatibility problems, crashes and rendering issues. Even if you had the chance to play it, you had to endure the MIDI-quality music.
Even the 2012 digital re-release has this problem with the music quality. Both versions can be fixed with fan-made mods, but some might wonder why developers aren’t doing anything to patch it. The upcoming FFVII remake means the other one’s not going to get fixed any time soon, though.
This doesn’t just happen when going from console to PC, though. Sometimes getting an old title to a newer, more powerful console gets similar results. Looking back to another Final Fantasy, this time FFV, there was a huge problem when it was finally brought to the PS1.
Aside from horrible translations that would make fans of the original cringe, the saving feature was prone to corrupt the files if you used soft resets. You were also forced to suffer through a butchered soundtrack, and unless you had the first model PS1 you couldn’t play the game. When a fan-translated version of the Super Famicom release is more trustworthy than an official port, you know developers have screwed up.
It’s true that sometimes fans are happy to be able to play a game they wanted to enjoy on a system they own. However it is also true that companies are prone to work in such a way their fanbases expect certain things from them, especially when a rerelease comes after such a long wait.
This could merely be a cash grab or a new step forward to, as previously said, release all of their library on Steam. If that’s the case, there’s going to be a huge number of players throwing hundreds of hours of free time leveling and reincarnating characters and dying at the hands of Baal.