Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention Review

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Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention

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Funny, charming and challenging, the Vita version of this quirky SRPG series is totally compelling. Vita needs more games like this.

We like

  • The humour, characters and school setting
  • Combat is strategic and immersive thanks to an abundance of options
  • Customising your character is totally addictive

We dislike

  • Tutorial doesn't really help out noobs. Some will find it hard to get into.

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(continued from previous page) ...outside of combat to make sure your characters are equipped properly.

On the surface, combat is quite basic. You pick your character, move him to a square on the grid and then choose how you want him to attack from a list of options. You then take turns with the rest of your group, before the enemy turns on you. Each time you attack, or get hit, your health drains and the last team standing wins. It’s a concept that developers have been using since the 1980s, but Disgaea 3 still proves that it’s a winning formula thanks to the multitude of combat options and some impressively designed grids that require thought and strategy to complete.

As well as all the standard attacking moves there’s another layer of strategy added with the inclusion of Geo-blocks, which can have a positive or negative effect on your characters or the enemy. You can stack these blocks to reach certain areas, create stepping stones, and cause huge hit point damage to a group of enemies.

Team attacks can also be triggered by placing your teammates next to each other on the grid, while skills can be combined when you use two characters to hit the same enemy with a special skill. The tactical options are immense and part of the fun of Disgaea is spending time prior to your turn working out the best way to attack and then adapting your tactics based on the enemy's moves.


Presentation is impressive with a slick anime style and a well-cast selection of voice actors who do well to inject some personality into the characters. The Evil Academy too is fun to explore with dozens of NPCs to interact with and lots to get involved in outside of combat, including the addictive Homeroom mode where you can perform tasks to affect battle performance and make such requests as asking that the school store gets stocked with better items.

Indeed, Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention is a game jam-packed with options, items and interactions. While the cast are funny and charming, the gameplay is challenging and immersive. If you’re into SRPGs and yet to try the Disgaea series, this is an excellent starting point, and being able to bring it on the move with PS Vita is an added bonus.

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