By: Uma Smith
One of the most popular RPG strategy-type game series with an anime style and goofy sense of humor is once again making its appearance onto the PlayStation 3. The featured overlord and star of Disgaea named Laharl is back in Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness. Even though it’s been a decade since the original cast of characters set foot in their strategic journey, D2 takes place right after the original Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. Are players still receptive to this new PlayStation 3 title or is this game doomed to live out its days in… “darkness?”
You’ll be able jump straight into the game with ease and finesse as the control scheme feels both refined and streamlined. Typically, a strategy RPG like this potentially suffers from mass overload due to the overwhelming number of menu screens to sift through. In the case of Disgaea D2, the menu system is quite organized and does not have a lot of convoluted options to confuse the heck out of you. With the movement of the cursor being very responsive, getting down and dirty (in a good way, that is) with Disgaea D2 is a definite possibility.
As expected based on the previous games coming from this very series, Disgaea D2 appears top notch in terms of beauty and appeal. Although the environments can look somewhat archaic, the characters themselves are well designed with an anime style while the colors jump out of the screen with various flavors to sweeten the view.
If you love J-pop, then you’re in luck as Disgaea D2‘s soundtrack will provide you with a wealth of auditory enjoyment. The tunes fit perfectly with the overall theme while the sound effects offer an exciting and dynamic impression throughout the gaming action. The English voice acting does have the potential of annoying some players. Luckily, however, there is a Japanese option that you can select, which I highly recommend, especially for anime fans.
The story behind Disgaea D2 involves a young demon named Laharl, who finally becomes the Overlord of the Netherworld. However, a group of demons called the Krichevskoy Faction have opposed this and want to take control of the throne. To make matters worse, the Celestial Flowers have appeared and began to multiply rapidly, thereby affecting the Netherworld. As a result, Laharl, his friend named Etna and an angel assassin named Flonne must work together to regain control.
Disgaea D2 plays out in a turn-based fashion where combat is laid out in an isometric, grid-based map. Each player will make their move and attack each other accordingly. As you progress further in the game, you’ll be given many opportunities to level up, ultimately changing your characters to possess better skill sets and powers. There are also new classes to unlock, which you can get your character to change into.
Your characters will work together as they attack their enemies. In particular, they’ll be able to cast magic on each other, perform a team attack, and execute combos. On top of that, if they happen to stand right next to each other at the end of a turn, their friendship stats go up. This becomes relevant since reaching a new level of friendship will increase the synergy between involved characters. The higher the number of hearts you have, the more impact your characters can leave in terms of attack or healing spell. This specific feature really keeps players engaged with the game since it forces them to reconsider whether they should spread out or keep their characters bunched together.
A notable inclusion to Disgaea D2 is the mounted attack system where your character gets to ride on a monster. This becomes quite a spectacle since you can utilize this for a special powerful attack. The great thing about this is that both characters gain XP individually from such mounted attacks. Therefore, they can each execute their own sets of skills and magic. As a result, playing with this type of system makes the gaming experience entertaining and amusing. Plus, you can dismount at any time you wish.
Replay value is very high in the world of Disgaea D2. Both the story and content will keep you hooked to its gameplay for more than 100 hours, especially when the worlds will randomly generate with each playthrough. Disgaea D2 also caters to players that don’t possess that much patience with the level-up system with the inclusion of the Cheat Shop. Here, players can modify certain aspects including the amount of EXP and/or skill that you can gain. In retrospect, this game really gives a lot to its audience in terms of freedom and autonomy.
Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness definitely is a “brighter” star amongst the titles within both the series as well as the RPG strategy genre. If you enjoy these types of games, then you absolutely must pick this one up for your PlayStation 3!