_hojo:[easilyimpressed] Disgaea 2March 11, 2009
_i have a love/hate relationship with strategy RPG’s. on the one hand, i love the battle system. most RPG’s are turn based, and can be finished by doing nothing but the Fight command outside of bosses. SRPG’s require thought…it requires looking ahead…it requires effort…it requires strategy. hey, that’s a word in the genre. most SRPG battles will take anywhere from 15-40 minutes on your first. at least, they do for me. i check all the enemy stats and movement displays and map heights and shit. i love it. i love thinking. but that brings me to the “hate” aspect of SRPG’s…i like doing them right. it’s like when people reset in Fire Emblem games, because they messed up and lost a good unit. yes, it defeats the purpose of perma-loss, but i can completely understand it. sometimes when you finish a battle, you don’t pat yourself on the back and say “good job, me.” you slap yourself in the face and go “dude…you could’ve done that better.” and that’s the thing…you can ALWAYS do better.
_all of this is a set-up for why i love the Disgaea games. a lot of people that love Disgaea are just SRPG nuts, and love the fact that it has a 4 digit level system, as in, the highest level you can reach is LEVEL 9999. and with randomly generated battles in the endless Item World, it’s basically all tailor made for the people that love SRPG’s and hate things like story and character development and dialog. while i do enjoy Item World and battle random monsters on randomly generated fields, trying to solve random Geo Panel puzzles, that’s not what i really love about Disgaea. i don’t want to sink that much time into the game. if i’m not going to have a life, i’d rather not have a life where i play more than 1 game for the rest of time.
_no, what i love about Disgaea is much simpler than that. no joke, it’s the prize system from the hospital. for those not in the know, the Hospital is the place you go to between battles to revive and restore your characters HP and MP. obvious when stated, i know. anyways, when you revive characters and restore their various P’s, you can earn prizes from the hospital. these usually come in the form of fantastic equippable items. but the only way t get them would be to lose health and use tons of MP draining skills and getting your characters killed.
_so…why, do you ask, does that one seemingly simple feature make me love Disgaea so much? because by putting that in the game, it makes it so i never care if i’m clearing levels “the right way.” i never finish a stage and go “i could do that without getting half of my characters killed.” i simply go “god, i hope i heal enough to earn an item.” unlike other games, like say, Eternal Poison, where i was resetting and replaying maps for 3 hours to try and overkill every enemy on the map for extra money and items, Disgaea gave me a reason to not mind simply clearing stages. it sounds really dumb when said out loud, but the reason i like the Disgaea games so much is because of the way you heal your characters.
_anyways…with that out of the way, let’s actually reveal some of my impressions of Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, shall we?
_graphically, Disgaea 2 isn’t wowing anybody. i’m not going to go so far as to say “it looks like a PS1 game,” but it looks like it might be slightly do-able on the PS1 if some scrappy “Never say die” programmers were at the helm. maybe. probably not though. but it is an improvement over Disgaea 1. the animations seen during many special attacks are much better than the original. that’s…about it. it’s been a while since i played the original game, but i couldn’t really see any improvements anywhere else in this area.
_if you liked the soundtrack to Disgaea 1, then you’ll also enjoy this one. in fact, it all sounded so similar, that i swear that a lot of the songs here are from the original. but it has just as big of an OST as the first, so i can’t imagine that they can fit that much new music PLUS as much stuff from the first game as i swear was in there, so it must all just sound really similar. anyways, it’s pretty solid all-around. songs range from good upbeat j-pop that sound like an instrumental version of anime theme (Prinny My Love) to subdued wind-based arrangements (Lonely Rosely) to electronic battles themes (Cyber Dance). it’s all solid stuff and totally worth searching for onli…purchasing legally with slips of legal tender.
_writing…well, i’ve only got the most basic of endings for both games, but Disgaea just seemed infinitely better written. the characters were more charming, had more depth, they changed noticeably throughout the course of events in the game, the story was awesomely refreshing…just really good all around. Disgaea 2…didn’t have all of that. Adell, the main character, spends the whole game spouting off “i fight fair, i keep promises, that’s just my style!” and sounds like a tool throughout the entire game. his siblings are typical annoying siblings of the main character. the story has a surprise here and there, but is pretty predictable throughout, and in the end, boils down to your basic “guy and girl don’t get along, but reluctantly travel together and develop special feelings down there” plot. there’s not as much clever humor as in the original. compared to the original, the writing in Disgaea 2 is the worst part of the game.
_as far as gameplay is concerned, there hasn’t been too much changed, which is good. there’s a lot more Geo Panel use in the main story battles, more-so than i remember there being in Disgaea 1. by the time i got to the end, i was expecting Enemy Boosts an No Entry Geo Symbols all over every map i played. and there pretty much were. it made lots of fights pretty annoying, but nothing a little thinking couldn’t handle. even with those, i got through Disgaea 2 faster and easier than i did Disgaea 1. the stage designs and enemy placements were done pretty well. many an interesting strategy was used. as far as main story gameplay is concerned, i enjoyed Cursed Memories more than Hour of Darkness.
_so…i’ve done nothing but compare the two games, and now we get down to the end…i prefer Hour of Darkness over Cursed Memories. when it gets right down to it, i like to have experience a decent story with my gameplay, and i like the characters more. if i was going to play more Disgaea in a month, would i pop in 1 or 2? it’s a hard question to answer honestly, since i need to Complete both of them, and i’d most likely start with the first game, just to do it in order, giving Hour of Darkness a biased lead. i dunno. in the end, they’re both good. go play them.