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Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness Review


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On 01/07/2014 at 12:00 PM by Chris Yarger

In a complicated world of wacky demons, you sometimes feel right at home.
RECOMMENDATION:

A must have for anyone who is a fun of strategic games with an anime twist.

I would love to say that I’m a huge fan of the Disgaea series, however, I’ve never played a single title within the saga until Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness. If there was ever a game to make me fall in love with a series though; it would be this game. I entered this lengthy saga with my mind wide open, and I fell in love with a punishing and grindy game that continually made me go back for more. This colorful adventure (colorful in more ways than just its palette, I assure you) proves that a deep combat system coupled with childish and quirky humor can be crafted into something beautiful that will entertain for hours on end.

The game starts as many RPGs do: a small problem arises, and a bumbling hero sets off to fix the error. The difference here is that the hero, Laharl, is the new Overlord in the Netherworld, and his problem is that his fellow demons aren’t respecting him as their Supreme Ruler and Overlord. As the tale goes on, Laharl and his merry band of demons go on numerous wacky adventures that twist and turn the story and present the characters in unique fashions and scenarios. Even when Laharl wakes up as a female version of himself early in the adventure, the game still finds a way to take itself seriously while poking fun at the characters.

I must admit, I was hesitant at first about the story simply because it’s a direct sequel to Disgaea 2 on PlayStation 2. Fortune, however, was in my favor, for the developers who worked on this game made it possible to jump right in without making me feel like I missed out by not playing the previous game.

The world of Disgaea D2: Brighter Darkness, is as the title sounds, set in a brightly colored and wonderfully animated Netherworld. Brighter Darkness features ten episodes that showcase various points of the Netherworld as well as brief glimpse of the heavenly world of Celestia. The central area is the home castle of Laharl, where the player can converse with the entire party to build up Friendship Status as well as purchase items, visit the Dojo to customize how a party member’s stats level, accept missions, pass bills for more items or cash, and even tweak the settings of the game via the Cheat Shop (which more or less offers various give/take scenarios)! While it felt overwhelming at first, everything fell together quickly and came quite naturally in a short amount of time.

The story and the worlds aren’t what enthralled me the most, though. The best part of D2: Brighter Darkness was the depth of the battle system and the amount of flexibility it gives to the player. The battles play out on a grid system like any other strategy RPG, but the mechanics to strike enemies with unique combo attacks and protect allies are absolutely phenomenal. There are also numerous classes to discover and level, as well as countless versions of monsters for you to create and use at your disposal. And speaking of monsters, you can also mount them or stack your characters to form a massive tower, which also treats the player to unique moves and actions accordingly. The flow of battle is broken up occasionally with small snippets of dialogue amongst your four primary party members with the occasional boss chirping in with his/her own opinions. There are also so many skills and different types of magic for the player to utilize that I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of seeing them all, and I’ve been playing for well over sixty hours!

There is also a plethora of items at the player’s disposal for every character, with each class having different ranks ranging from Normal to Legendary. Weapons can be used with any class, as long as that certain character has enough weapon proficiency to utilize the weapon effectively. If you need to find new items you either can’t afford or don’t have access to yet, you can enter the Item World, which provides valuable experience to your party through continual battles and also lets you get grandiose items not available in the weapon shop. Be warned though, the multi-colored grids that often accompany the Item World are extremely treacherous and punishing.

Once you finish the main storyline, you are able to open up the full experience of the game. With LoC (Land of Carnage) and Rasetsu Modes, you can reincarnate your characters and absorb enemy stats, allowing you to reach uber levels beyond the 9999 threshold. You’re also able complete miscellaneous side quests to unlock new characters, most of which are imports from the other games in the series, without much reasoning to explain their appearances. The game also offers optional bosses, most of which require countless hours of grinding and stat absorption before you even to stand a chance. It’s a massive post-game that makes grinding time well spent, despite the monotony.

Despite my blooming love for this game and inevitably, the series as a whole, not all was well in the world of Disgaea 2: Brighter Darkness, for I found a problem so severe that I was damn near unable to finish the game. After some thorough research, I discovered that the digital download versions of the game come with a harsh glitch that often induces game freezes. I honestly can’t count the amount of hours I lost due to this issue. I pin-pointed the cause of the freezing, which was brought on by using special character skills and magic, forcing me to play strictly melee classes throughout most of the game. However, I also found the auto-save feature in the settings menu which not only saved my sanity, but also seemed to halt the freezing problem. Luckily I persevered, because if I had quit early on, I would’ve missed one hell of a great game.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

mothman

01/07/2014 at 02:13 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

One day I shall play through and finish a Disgaea game. I have both the PS2 and PSP versions of the first game plus the second game on PS2 and Disgaea 3 on PS3.

I like throwing Prinnies though.  :)

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/07/2014 at 02:35 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

This was the first Disgaea game I've ever played.

Upon beating it and roaming the post-game endlessly, I went out and bought Disgaea 4 and I'm currently hunting for Disgaea 3.

Aboboisdaman

01/07/2014 at 04:12 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

Great review Chris! I never could get into this series. WAYYYYYYYYY too much grinding for me. My brother loves it though. I wish I would have known you needed Disgaea 3. I had that game at one point... Frown

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/07/2014 at 04:14 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I'll tell ya Bro, this game has astounded me in so many ways. I never expected to like a game like this initially, but I absolutely loved it from the start! There were a few frustrating moments, but I can't wait to delve further into the series!

And no worries about D3, I'm sure I'll be able to find one soon enough!

Matt Snee Staff Writer

01/07/2014 at 06:49 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

damn dude, this game has turned you into a Disgaea addict.  Next thing you know you'll be out on the street selling your body for experience points.  It's a sad, sad world.  Tongue Out

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/09/2014 at 11:05 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

I may or may not have already sold my body for XP a few times...

Jamie Alston Review Writer

01/07/2014 at 09:25 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

This game sound like it's both pleasure and pain. I'd love to play it, but I already know I won't have the time to really get into it. Good write up though.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/09/2014 at 11:05 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

It was one hell of a time-sink, but it never really felt like it

SanAndreas

01/08/2014 at 12:29 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

The Disgaea games are SRPG porn. Not in the sexual sense, but they take every SRPG mechanic you can think of and crank it up to 11. I have Disgaea 4 myself. Maybe I should pick this one up too.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/09/2014 at 11:06 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

I have yet to play Disgaea 4 (although I did pick it up), but I've heard a lot of different things in regards to how the mechanics were changed for the better. If you do happen to pick this game up, let me know if you notice any major differences!

asrealasitgets

01/08/2014 at 01:39 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

I'm afraid of these types of games. Being pulled in by the gravity that is grinding is my kryptonite. 

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/09/2014 at 11:07 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

The main story line didn't require TOO much grinding, but the post-game has been an endless grind it seems!

leeradical42

01/09/2014 at 08:37 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

Disgea series is a awesome but complex world it took me three years to be Disgea hour of darkness and im currently working on Disgea 2 and one of the main reasons i want a ps3 is for this and Ar Tonelica series.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/09/2014 at 11:08 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

It definitely took me a while to figure everything out. But as I stated above, it really came to me naturally, and I didn't have to do TOO much research

KnightDriver

01/12/2014 at 04:18 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I have a few Disgaea games and need to get to them. One of my favorite genres. This one sounds like more of the same awesomeness. I can't wait to get started.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/13/2014 at 07:24 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

It was a great game! I've been an NIS addict ever since I started playing this game! I'm kind of glad we had another game by NIS in our queue to review Wink

BrokenH

01/12/2014 at 06:32 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

To me Laharl is the best Disgaea protagonist/anti-hero out of them all. I also adore Fione and Etna so it's why any wacky misadventures dealing with them give me mirthful nostalgia! Wink

Chris Yarger Community Manager

01/13/2014 at 07:25 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

Larharl was a great character! What's really surprising me is how often he is being used in other titles by NIS. I just found out that he has a cameo in Guided Fate Paradox, which I'm currently working on reviewing now.

xDarthKiLLx

03/10/2014 at 12:46 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

i haven't played a good SRPG since D4: A Promise Unforgotten came out.  I'm gonna check this out.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

03/10/2014 at 05:55 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

This was a pretty solid title, and from what I've read online from other players, there have been a lot of different overhauls and changes from Disgaea 4 to Disgaea D2. If you do pick it up by chance, get back to me and let me know if you notice anything in particular!

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