Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days

Nippon Ichi Software’s Disgaea: Hour of Darkness made quite a splash in the tactical RPG subgenre with its deep and addictive gameplay systems, and naturally received a sequel on the PlayStation 2 entitled Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. The first game would receive a port to the PlayStation Portable with new features, Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, as would its sequel in the form of Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days, which, like its predecessor port on the handheld system, features new significant content, and is a solid port overall.

Gameplay in the second Disgaea game is largely the same as in the PlayStation 2 version (a full review with detailed explanation of its mechanics can be found at my review of Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories), and is generally solid, although there is some grinding necessary that can somewhat bog down both Adell and Axel Modes, with enemies in the new latter mode being of higher levels if the player completes Adell Mode first and imports data to the extra mode. The lengthy spell animations at times can also somewhat bog down the game, though mercifully, players can turn them off to make battles go by faster. Ultimately, the gameplay in Disgaea 2 helps the game more than hurts, and is in some ways an improvement, what with characters such as healers now receiving experience when they heal characters.

Control is also solid, with a general linear structure and easy menu system, along with the PSP’s built-in sleep mode, although like in original Disgaea, micromanaging characters, especially if the player wishes to have at least one character of every class, can be somewhat tedious, given the lack of an “Equip Best” option.

Like its predecessor, Disgaea 2 features a solid humorous story, with a likeable cast of characters, and pretty much all the story characters having some involvement in the central plot all the way towards the end of the game. The added Axel mode also adds decent backstory, with a solid translation that only has a few minor errors, to boot, and ultimately, the plot is a good driving factor throughout the game and reasonable reward for beating the tougher fights.

Tenpei Sato returns to compose the sequel’s soundtrack, with plenty of catchy humorous tracks, alongside solid voice acting with only one voice in Axel Mode sounding miscast. The visuals are a slightly touched-up version of those in the first Disgaea, with good character sprites, animations, and scenery, although the environs have pixelated textures when seen close-up. Ultimately, a nice-sounding and looking game.

Finally, the second Disgaea can be fairly lengthy, what especially with the addition of Axel Mode and the grinding necessary at times, with plenty of lasting appeal, to boot, with well more than a hundred hours’ worth of gameplay. In the end, Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days improves upon an already great game, what especially with its solid gameplay systems, story, music, and graphics. It does have some flaws such as the tedium of micromanagement and grinding at times, but is definitely sure to satisfy fans of the tactical RPG subgenre and Disgaea fanatics.

The Good:
+Solid Disgaea gameplay.
+Great story and translation.
+Good music, voice acting, and graphics.
+Plenty lasting appeal.

The Bad:
-Some grinding necessary.
-Micromanaging characters can be tedious.

The Bottom Line:
A solid port.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: PlayStation Portable
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 7/10
Story: 10/10
Music/Sound: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Localization: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Moderate
Playing Time: 100+ Hours

Overall: 9/10

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