Short and sweet (and cheap, too), this game will satisfy fans of the series. Everyone else: rent first.
You know, when I heard that the newest Disgaea game would be an adventure game instead of a strategy RPG like the rest, the first thing that came to mind was: "This is gonna be a short game, isn't it?" First thing that confirmed that for me was the price - $20 for a new release? On UMD? Compared to other PSP games, that's pretty cheap.
Needless to say, I bought it. And I'm still playing.
And it's still funny as hell.
Laharl survived an "assassination" (though he obviously doesn't know the meaning of the word, as his vassals will quickly point out) and immediately blames the Prinny Squad (everyone's favorite chew toy). One prinny travels to the past to prevent it from happening.
As always, the writing is excellent, with many laugh-out-loud moments every few minutes (but hell, it's a Disgaea game - that's to be expected). There's also multiple endings (about 14, I think), some of 'em tying into other games made by NIS. Many references to other games abound, though, so unless you've played every single game by that company (or at least those that have been localized), you probably won't be able to get most of it.
So yeah, limited audience, but it's still good.
You read a lot of text. Sometimes there's multiple choices. If you've played an interactive novel before, you know the drill.
...Okay, I'm over-simplifying here. Basically, you control the soul of a prinny that can possess any character in the game (as long as they're right next to the character they're currently possessing, of course). While possessing characters, you are sometimes given the choice to control their actions via mind control. Sometimes, this changes the course of the story. Most of the time, it's gut-bustingly hilarious.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of repetition here. The main shtick here is that if the prinny takes too long and the "assassination" happens, you start over from a certain point in time, only with clues written on your diary as to how to proceed. What this means is you'll be reading the same bits of dialogue over and over again until you figure out how to properly proceed throughout the game. The auto-skip function helps out a bit, but you have to be careful not to have it too long or you could miss the chance to possess another character in time for a mind control.
Music is mostly taken from other games, though it has a few new tunes. Standard Disgaea fare - good, but nothing new for those who played the first and third games.
Voice acting... well, I haven't heard the original Japanese dub, but the English one's pretty good. The actress who formerly played Rita Repulsa does a good job of bringing Laharl to life again, though for the rest of the characters your mileage may vary. Personally, I find it to be well done (even the extreme campiness of Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth!), though I still wish they'd have kept the original Etna voice actress from the PS2 version of Disgaea (this one's good, but it's not the same).
7/10, but only for lack of new music. If you don't care about that, though, then 9/10.
This game is not for everybody. If you're familiar with the NIS-verse (especially Disgaea 1 and 3) and all its quirks, then at $20 for the UMD it's a steal. Otherwise, I'd give it a rental first.