By William Haderlie / March 1st, 2017
The first game in the series had already introduced mainstays such as the Item World and the Geo Panels, things that have changed the entire SRPG genre forever. But those systems were much improved in the sequel to make them even more complex (but not complicated), and also more fun. In addition, the sequel allows you to mess with your characters even more and makes learning and transferring abilities quite a bit more streamlined and fun. Even if you could create godly characters in the first game, this game allows you far more freedom in how you developed those characters and therefore even more hours of building and grinding. If I remember correctly, this was the first game on my PlayStation 2 that I reached over 1000 hours on my save file. You can pretty much spend as much time on this game as you want to; it’s almost endless the variety of ways which you can approach it. Much like the series would eventually become, defeating the story is really only the first part of the game. Part two involves getting to level 9999 (the first time), and then you can enter the real late game. Since I’ve already gone through that all before, I limited myself to only completing the story for review purposes. Otherwise you wouldn’t see this review for another year. That being said, I do admit that this title is not going to get erased off of my PC any time soon. Playing it this much has only whet my appetite to get back into this game world.
While the game was already something that I was on board with and happy to be playing again, the question remained how the port would be handled. As I already hinted at previously, the game’s port is an improvement on the Disgaea PC port. Once again they gave some keyboard and mouse support, but to be honest it still felt weird to control an SRPG in that fashion, so I still opted to use an XBox 360 controller instead. Just like in my Phantom Brave PC review, that choice of controller worked for the better and for the worse. To the developer’s credit, that controller mapped to the game’s controls perfectly right away. What didn’t work out so well wass that horrible D-pad on the 360 controller. But that is not the fault of the developers; that has always been a Microsoft issue that they have never made a good D-pad (other than that ridiculously expensive special edition XBox One controller). You can also just use the analogue stick, but the grid-based nature of the SRPG games always lends itself better to the D-pad controls. There are also graphics options added to the PC version and it can go all the way up to a 1080p display resolution, a wonderful addition to the game. As you can see in the screenshots for the game, the original PS2 textures look a little muddy and old, but all the menus and the visual novel style story scenes look absolutely amazing. That alone would make this version of the game the definitive experience, even if they didn’t also add the three new characters and all the content from the PSP version.
Like in the PSP version of Disgaea 2, you can gain new characters from other NIS titles by engaging in the Summoning Experiments of Adell’s precocious little sister. The apple definitely did not fall very far from the tree when it came to his mother and his sister. You will also be able to gain other new characters through the method that was originally part of the PlayStation 2 version, but that does not become available until much later in the game. With the Summoning Experiments, you can engage in those right off the bat, even though they have a Bonus Rank of 20. That means that even at level one you can gain many new characters to join you throughout the story, and you can also play with the Bonus Rank (only once each stage) to gain some potentially powerful weapons for free. Yes, it is a bit game breaking, but that is what the Disgaea series is all about. You aren’t merely supposed to defeat these games. You are supposed to break them over your knee and cheat your way to godhood.
The one thing about this title that I would have liked to see improved would be the old PlayStation 2 character models, but that would involve quite a bit of effort and therefore expense. Really, I’m just happy to have a modern console version that I can invest many hundreds (maybe even thousands) of hours into. The translation and localization still remains spot on after all these years and you have the options of playing with the English or Japanese dialogue, a wonderful thing that NIS has always been great at. I did not experience a single crash or hiccup in my playtime with the game, and looking at the general Steam reviews it seems like the issues that plagued Disgaea PC are not present in this one. So it looks like a new generation of gamers, or people who did not own a PlayStation 2 (or PlayStation Portable), will have a chance to fall in love with this title now. And I highly recommend that they do. If you can get into this series, there is simply no better bang for your buck in gaming. Sure, hours played is not everything if it is not something that you enjoy playing, but this is really fun and has a lot more going on than simple grinding, and all for $19.99 MSRP. I now own this game on three different platforms, and I could not be happier about that. There are really only a couple games that I’ve ever played more than this one, and I hope that some new fans will find their way into the Disgaea love train.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
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