NIS America has a reputation for making games with quirky characters and interesting situations, and Disgaea 2 doesn’t fall far from the family tree. I wish more than anything that I had the kind of time that needs to be devoted to a game like Disgaea, but honestly I need to leave my living room from time to time. There’s so much to do in this game, it can keep you playing for hundreds of hours. NIS seems to realize that the best way to get people playing a game is just make the level cap higher than most games even think of (standing at a whopping 9999), and that alone keeps people with their controller for days on end. It always feels like a grindfest to make sure you are ready to handle the next group of enemies and puzzles. The story focuses around a human named Adell who’s the only human left in his hometown. Everyone else has been turned into monsters by the evil Overlord Zenon, and Adell has made it his mission to defeat Zenon and bring his friends and family back to their original human form. His mother decides to help Adell by performing a summoning ritual to bring Zenon to him, only to accidentally bring forth the Overlord’s only daughter. As you can imagine, things get wacky from then on out.
The game hasn’t changed much from its predecessor as far as gameplay goes, keeping the turn based tile board RPG elements that made the game stand out in the Playstation 2 era. The addition of Geo Panels adds a layer (albeit small layer) of challenge to the combat to give something besides just beating enemies to death. The Geo Panels are on certain tiles of the battle maps and can do anything from increase attack, to send characters halfway across the map. None of these require too much thought though and can usually just be bulldozed through without having to stress over thinking every move through. There is also the item world, which is where every item in your inventory has its own world inside it with its own horde of enemies and items and for each floor cleared the item you went into gets a small stat boost. This allows you to level your characters up as well as get your favorite weapons boosted up to have an edge against your enemies.
Visually wise the game looks better than the original, and it even has a couple of fully animated cutscenes. The characters are still a little retro RPG looking, and the battle maps aren’t anything particularly special to look at. But the attacks that the characters perform are almost all explosive and over the top, the higher level moves you unlock are borderline planet destroying, and they’re all fun to watch. The game can be sped up and the attack scenes skipped, and that helps eliminate the line of repetitiveness that people can begin to feel after playing for a couple of hours. The music is all fun to listen to, and the only real complaint I have here is the Item world music. Each level had the same music over and over, and for a place I spent a majority of my time grinding my characters and getting better gear I would have preferred something different to listen to. Character voices aren’t too annoying, and having voice acted scenes is really a plus.
There really isn’t enough time for me to put into this game and be satisfied. The level cap is extremely high, and that alone can keep me playing for a long time. But even the inclusion of things like the Item world, which is a serious time add-on to your overall play time in the game just due to all the secrets you can find in it alone. There is also the Dark Senate, which can be used as a way to increase the choices in one of the shops in town or to unlock optional areas or special character types. You spend Mana, which is rewarded for killing monsters, to suggest certain topics to the senate and then can bribe them to join your side, and if no luck there and you’re powerful enough, just beat them into submission. Feel like your character’s not strong enough, even though he or she is a very high level? That’s ok, you can use the Senate to reincarnate your character from level one with a stat boost based on how much Mana you have to put into it. Disgaea 2 is a game that asks for a lot of time, but it’s so much fun to level up characters and see how powerful of a team you can actually make.
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