Reviewed: October 7, 2009
Released: September 8, 2009
It seems that I have come full circle with NIS’ newest release in the famed Disgaea series. NIS returns with a re-release of Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days for the PlayStation Portable. Originally on the PlayStation 2 back in 2006, Disgaea 2 makes a welcome addition and port to the PSP library.
For anyone who has played the original version, then you’re already well aware of the storyline, but for those of you who may have forgotten or are fairly new to this quirky series I’ll enlighten you. The story revolves around Adell, the only human left in Veldime, and his quest to destroy Overlord Zenon, the God of All Overlords, who is responsible for his world’s current demonic state.
Unlike most tactical RPGs, Disgaea 2 comes with an almost inexhaustible amount of gameplay to get wrapped up in. The series defines the word “hardcore” in the gaming industry and has still continued to hold that mantra while everything else has faded to the ways of the casual gamer.
Disgaea 2 is a tactical role playing game so battle gameplay takes place on a map divided into a square grid. The player controls a squad of humanoid units and monsters, which each occupy a single square of the grid and do combat with a group of enemies. Depending on the character and attack selected, the player will be able to deal damage to a specific enemy unit or a designated region of the map. Combat ends when all enemy units or all of the player's units are destroyed.
Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days pleasantly has a few new features. First off is the PSP exclusive Axel chapters where you get to play as the former”Dark Hero.” Also new to this port is the Magichange system and the Level Spheres in the Item World. The Magichange system for those of you haven’t played Disgaea 3, allows you to morph monsters into weapons in which a partner can use to execute a strong technical attack. To do this they must be assigned to the same group with the ally, and the change is temporary. After two turns the monster disappears from battle. Each monster becomes only a specific sort of weapon, such as prinnies becoming guns.
Gameplay hasn’t changed much besides the new additions so if you’re familiar with any of the Disgaea title then there isn’t much to explain. There is so much to learn in this complex and deep title. I could probably right a small book on all the stuff this title has to offer, but seeing how certain individuals already have I’ll leave it to them.
The main hub for Disgaea 2 is Adell’s home town of Holt for which everything in Disgaea 2 is done. Here you can heal your party, buy new items, access the Item World, listen to and select music for the Item World and take part in the Dark Assembly. There is also a handy Record Shop that that keeps track of your progress for everything.
While Disgaea 2 is a huge undertaking and will give players countless hours of gameplay, one thing sets this title and series apart from its competitors… a sense of humor. There is a lot of quirky storytelling involved with this title, including a love interest of the weirdest kind. A large part of the reason I like this title is because of the story and NIS does an amazing job.
Graphically, Disgaea 2 is pretty good, especially for a port from the PS2. The details of the environments are really good. This should come as no surprise as several PS2 titles have transferred rather well to the PSP, the first Disgaea being one of them. The character models are great, the static hand drawn images during conversations are beautiful as ever and the text is easy to read on the PSP’s screen. I couldn’t ask for more.
Disgaea features the same style of zany music that can be found in the Disgaea series. The voice acting is pretty cool and thankfully the Japanese voice track is intact. You can listen to it in English as well, but something’s are always better in their native language.
Value wise, Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days soars with flying colors. There is so much available to do in this title that it is truly mind blowing. Disgaea 2 features the same 9,999 level cap that that the other titles offer, so get ready to reach god status. There are even multiple endings to be had but good luck finding them all. Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days retails for around $30 dollars at most retailers.
All in all I found Disgaea 2 to be simply amazing. This being my second experience with the series had made me wonder why I have not picked up the previous titles. There is so much that this $30 dollar title offers that you would be crazy not to pick up this title at the soonest opportunity. I highly recommend this title to any fan of the series or for anyone looking for a long and challenging experience.