Laharl, Etna and Flonne are back in the latest from NIS America that offers many refinements to appeal to new gamers to the franchise but also includes that addictive, over-the-top, never-ending game-play that veterans alike have come to love. You play as the demon Laharl as he embarks on a journey to become the new overlord. However, there are demons in the Netherworld that aren’t fully convinced that Laharl has what it takes to take over for Lord Krichevskoy and this starts an adventure that has many twists and turns that will leave you laughing at the insanity. Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness is also the true sequel to Disgaea: Hour of Darkness for the Playstation 2, released in 2003.
NIS America are known for their excellent translations and humour; Disgaea D2 is no different. This game is well written for the most part, and the banter between the characters is well done. However, there are some cases that the humour comes off as rather cheesy, and the over-the-top nature has you thinking “Seriously?”. For example, in the fourth chapter, you are chasing down a musical idol and you meet some demons that are gathered around the artists merchandise. One of the enemy demons purchases an ice cream bar that the artist had taken a bite of, which prompts interaction with Laharl and company. The single line that sticks out to me and had me thinking “Did they really just write that?” was when the demon proceeds to say that he hadn’t eaten any cold foods for several weeks, preparing for when he would acquire that ice cream bar!
Laharl and company are beautifully drawn sprites and accompanied by beautiful back drops . The game is primarily done in a 2D fashion with a 3D twist, with it most noticeable in the battle sequences. There is no disputing that the game is a beautiful sight; however, there are glitches that litter the battles specifically that have the potential to cause an immense amount of frustration, and that really isn’t a beautiful thing. While playing the game, I was taking part in the endless item world – an area used to upgrade weapons, armour and such – and while using certain moves, I experienced freezes and outright crashes. There are abilities that aren’t affected but at the same time, there are abilities that are essentially “Game Stoppers”. The moves that I have experienced this issue with has been Love Knuckle, Prinny Raid, and when an enemy would use Fire, although the latter seemed to be random. This causes executing special moves to mimic a game of minesweeper in that you never actually knew which ability would crash your game and cause you to restart your adventure. My advice, save as often as possible and carry a stress ball for when you are taking part in the item world, and are forty floors in.
For the new comers to this franchise, the game can be a bit overwhelming. There is so much content that is thrown at you that you can access that – for me at least – became confusing and left me forgetting what certain options did all the time. I had to backtrack towards the tutorials many times. But rest assured as it is rather easy to learn once you understand the basics of it and at the end of the day, the developers have really done a great job in making sure that there was a lot to do that would keep you busy for potentially months!
The music is well done for the most part, and is quite pleasant. However, the music falls victim to one of Disgaea’s very own features in that in places such as the endless Item World, the music became repetitive. The voice overs however were well done, and there are battle cries that are very humorous. For me personally, there was a character – I believe it was the Monk class – that has a very random battle cry that had me cracking up almost all the time. The interaction between characters during the main plot-line was very well done but there were times when I thought the emotion fell a bit flat. I felt that things weren’t said in the way that they should have been, given the situation. The reactions seemed a bit off but there were times when everything was perfect, making the immersion an enjoyable experience that left you giggling.
Disgaea D2 is a truly silly experience where the story isn’t a very serious one when compared to other JRPG’s like the Tales of franchise. Enemies have special abilities in battle – known as “Evilty” – that require some strategy in trying to conquer them but isn’t something that will have you scratching your head, wondering how do I do this. As mentioned, there is an endless Item World that is used to upgrade weapons and armour which is the truly addictive part. Disgaea D2 has many little surprises inside, from the character creation which makes one almost nostalgic for the D&D days to a sudden and surprising change to Laharl that left me – jaw dropped – thinking “What in the hell is going on here!?”.
This review was based from a PSN Code of Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness provided by NIS America