Disgaea D2: A brighter darkness

Obscure as it is, the Disgaea series has done fairly well for itself outside Japan, and rightly so. For new players to the series Disgaea D2 for the playstation 3 is a fine place to start off, but for veterans the formula can start to feel a little bit stale.

Story

The story continues Laharl’s quest to be recognised as the overlord of the underworld, which obviously requires a firm hand and absolute ruination of anyone who stands in his way MUAHAHAHA! *ahem* starting out with his “loyal” vassal Etna and the fallen angel Flonne, they set out to do.. well not very much except argue with people actually. full of sexual tension and people being completely oblivious to said tension and just ridiculous situations after one another, the whimsy of it all wrap a rather sinister situation with a cutesy candy like coating which is not for all tastes I’ll admit. Prinny’s being the best example, being souls of the dead who have sinned in life, being forced to serve demons to earn their way back into heaven… whilst trapped in the body of an exploding peg-legged penguin. Not wanting to get into too many spoilers while the story does evolve don’t expect anything past minor escapism

Aesthetics

While it may seem low budget, the game, like many from NIS has gone with 2D illustrations in a 3D world. The sprites are colourful and well detailed enough that it’s easy to miss certain things. The problems with this however is that it can create a quite jarring experience with the actual landscapes themselves when you get into the battles, with some of the textures looking lazy and clunky beside the crisp clean character art and animation. Even this is further hurt by the GEO zones in the game which then cover the landscape in a colour with area effects, which, help gameplay but make the visuals suffer. The music though, is brilliant, catchy tunes which will get stuck in your head FOREVER, a good game to play around Halloween where they try to make the music fun but ever so slightly creepy!

Gameplay

Coming down to the crux of it, Disgaea is a grind, and I love it! being a tactics game there’s plenty of time to sit and calculate for all the armchair generals out there who just aren’t feeling up to that real time attention drain. The mechanics are easy to pick up so long as you’re willing to read, a lot. The story being text based and all the instruction being the same can be a burden, but this is helped by the main hub a little bit. Giving you a small overworld to walk around , they have taken the pick up and play attitude by having you warp to battlegrounds rather than explore the world making it great for short stints if you don’t have time for a behemoth gaming session.
all your characters grow with battle and healing meaning you fell a bit of an investment in them especially as you get to create them yourself. while you have your three main characters very quickly it becomes a case that you won’t even need to take them out into battle if you’d prefer not to, relying solely on your created characters and monsters, and as you fight more, you unlock more. The creation system is simple on the surface but can get very deep if you are willing to go that far into it.

With joint attacks and the ability to throw your teammates as bombs there are plenty of ways that keep the combat interesting, but, unless you are a fan of tactics games, it can get old very quickly.

 

Final thoughts

A charming game with a lot of nice touches and for the completionist in people there’s a lot to sink your teeth into. If you’ve never tried a tactics game before it’s a good starting point especially with the ability to replay maps you’ve completed immediately if you need to get used to a new mechanic they’ve introduced. Veterans will have a lot to play with, with the dark assembly and item world systems that get introduced here but casual gamers may find that the game is just too repetitive to make it the whole way through the game.

Overall 7/10

 

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