Disgaea D2: Like Slipping Back Into A Comfortable Pair Of Socks

By Thomas . September 25, 2013 . 6:03pm

This year marked the 20th anniversary of Nippon Ichi Software (NIS), and to celebrate they launched a few new games, one of which is Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness. Disgaea has always been NIS’ bread and butter, currently being one of the company’s main franchises, and the franchise they’re best known for in the west. D2 brings us back to the original game that started it all, for a fun trip down memory lane.

 

Being a direct sequel to the original Disgaea, the game picks up right after the original with Laharl becoming the Overlord, and having Etna and now fallen angel Flonne, by his side. Life should be smooth sailing for our main trio seeing as the central conflict of claiming the throne is over, but as it turns out, trouble is just starting. Even though Laharl has claimed the throne and title of Overlord, it seems that most of the demons in the netherworld are still loyal to his father, King Krichevskoy, and find Laharl an ill suited replacement, or just flat out don’t even know who Laharl is. It looks like Laharl will have to start flexing his muscles again to put everyone back in their place, a task constantly undermined by Etna and Flonne for hilarious results.

 

Disgaea D2 still has all the charm and comedic timing of the original Hour of Darkness, with lots of humor focused on our favorite Prince turned Overlord. It seems it is not easy to be Laharl. One of his plans for greater recognition in the first chapter of the game involves the building of statues of himself to be placed all around the Netherworld. Too bad that all the statues have incredibly odd-looking faces, but Etna and Flonne say there’s no need to worry, since the hair antennae on the statues are all that matter anyway. Later, we see one statue is also a fountain and the water comes out of the crotch area. Laharl screams, “What!? It looks like I’m pissing my pants!” while Etna and Flonne remark how the monsters seem to like the fountain—as a line of them are using Laharl’s crotch fountain to fill up their water bottles.

 

This is the kind of humor you can expect out of D2; crude, over-the-top, and a large majority of it makes Laharl the butt of the joke. The chemistry between the main trio remains intact and as fun as ever, and there’s plenty of it to go around. From the story, to talking in the castle hub, even talking in the midst of battle, there’s lots of interaction between our cast of loveable demonic misfits. Perhaps the biggest change up in the roster is the introduction of Sicily—an angel trainee, who may or may not, be the daughter of King Krichevskoy.

 

Initially Sicily is just another thorn in Laharl’s side, she shows up unannounced (via the mail no less) in Laharl’s castle, and tries to take the title of Overlord. Not standing for this, of course, Laharl and crew chase her down. How can an angel even dream of being the Overlord of the netherworld!? Following Flonne’s… uh, kind words (and a flogging at her hands), she decides to follow Laharl, and begins to call him “Big Brother”.

 

Story aside, there’s plenty to do and see in the game, but boy oh boy, is it a grind fest. The Disgaea franchise has always prided itself on the sheer amount of content it has, and D2 is no different. Just about everything is customizable. It’s actually quite absurd, and I don’t even know if I can even scratch the surface of all the content.

 

From the return of the Dark Assembly, where you can make characters, evolve your characters, set battle conditions, to the way you can change how you walk and jump around your castle, and even customize the looks of your party’s sprites. To customizing your gear you have and using the Item World, where you can dive into a long chain of battles through examining said gear. There’s a lot of meat here outside of the main story’s battles. And if that’s not enough, you can always redo any of the story-based battles over and over again to your heart’s content. You can even change a bunch of small little things in the menus, such as what the save icon will look like on your Playstation 3, and set up if you want auto-save or manual save. You can of course pick between Japanese and English audio, and change the combat speed, too.

 

The simplest way to put it is to say that Disgaea D2 bombards the player with as many options as possible, both big and small. I think it will be impossible to ever have two play-throughs that are exactly the same.

 

The animations in the battles are just as over-the-top and hectic as the humor, and often time’s fun to watch as characters go flying across the screen unleashing all hell. That said, for those who get tired of the flashy animations, you can skip them by pressing triangle. The story segments can be skipped as well with triangle, so getting a Game Over won’t force you to sit through all that talk again, and you can get right back into the fight.

 

The fighting being the main core of the game is as intuitive and fleshed out as ever. Long term Disgaea fans will feel right at home, with geo panels, combination moves, lifting and throwing—as well as mounting, using Prinnies as suicide bombers… the list goes on.

 

On top of the large amount of customization and grinding, and the over-the-top humor and battle animations, there are the sprites, which are gorgeous. It is to be expected from NIS now, but the sprites in D2 are beautiful, and look great no matter what angle you see them from. Having missed out on Disgaea 3 and Disgaea 4, I was just in awe at how good the sprites were, and how fluid they looked moving around. The over-all aesthetics of the game are top notch. The portraits of the story sections are large and take up a good chunk of the screen. They show plenty of emotion and have the charm of veteran NIS character designer, Takehito Harada.  The environments don’t fare as well as the characters and art design, but get the job done and look fine, if not a little basic and barren. Regardless, Disgaea D2 is easy on the eyes all the same.

 

Disgaea D2 delivers on all the staples that the franchise is known for, and offers its long time fans a second adventure with the original trio that started the franchise over ten years ago. It’s a fun—or maybe I should say funny—grind fest with hundreds of hours of content to keep completionists happy.

 

Food for Thought:

 

1. I found myself debating over whether or not players who missed out on the first Disgaea could enjoy this direct sequel. I think for the most part new players can still jump in, but they will be missing out on a lot. Players who experienced the first game will enjoy D2 the most. And really considering how many versions of the first Disgaea there is—two print versions on the PS2, Afternoon of Darkness; the enhanced PSP port, and even an DS port—there are plenty of ways to acquire the first game even ten years later.

 

2. I personally didn’t like the Opening for Disgaea D2. I found the animation nice, but the song never managed to grow on me. I also felt that the song didn’t match the animation on the screen very well.

 

3. I used the Flonne icon as my save icon, and I also implemented the auto-save feature as well.

 

4, The new male healer is a total trap, and I kinda dig it.

 

5. As someone who sat out previous Disgaea titles this generation, I felt at home again with D2. It might have to do with revisiting the original cast, but ether way, Disgaea D2 might be a good title to get you back into Disgaea if the previous entries on the PS3 have not interested you as much.


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  • konsama

    It sounds really fun, and while i loved the Disgaea sequels, they never compared story-wise and especially comically-based to the first one. Glad that is back.

    I wonder if we’ll see more of Gordon, or maybe the return of Mid-boss, cuz i can’t even remember his name. kekeke

    • Dansar

      I really hope they aren’t DLC, but this is NIS.

    • Tiredman

      Agreed. I am seriously hoping that they do come back, and their English voice actors too. The acting of the first game was top notch and sold the game big time.

  • r0gamer940

    Love food for thought #4. Just saw a pic of the priest and its a preaty nice trap

  • RichyGaming

    I don’t know if I’ll be buying this game. I still haven’t gotten used to Laharl’s English VA, there were a few scenes where I felt it didn’t fit his character from the sound of his VA. But that’s not the only reason I’m not getting it. But at any rate I’ll wait until I hear more things about this game since it’s not even out yet. Gotta give it a chance, dood.

    • Raze

      Rebel Prinny

      You’ll not get your salary if you’re not buying this game….

    • Zero_Destiny

      I like Barbara Goodson’s portrayal as Laharl myself. The voice of Rita Repulsa, just so perfect. ha ha

      But to each their own, everyone has their opinions. :) There’s always the Japanese audio if you want, although, I dunno about the other reasons. lol

      • RichyGaming

        Well, yeah. There’s always the option for JP audio instead. But I like both, I just didn’t get used to Laharl’s VA. Tough luck I guess lol.
        I really do like Barbara Goodson’s way of VAing for Laharl, though. I can’t imagine any other voice actor who can pull off Laharl except Mona Marshall (I believe this VA did Roger from Star Ocean 3, Kite from Dot Hack, Young Bobobobo, Terriermon, etc). But I think the best performance was on the first Disgaea game. I’m only saying because imo Laharl gave more cold emotions. I understand he’s changed but the JP VA still somewhat makes him talk that way. In comparison to Disgaea 2, 3, and 4, it didn’t feel the same. I’m not gonna give out spoilers so I’m just gonna say his mischievous way of doing things sound more goofy than usual.

        • Zero_Destiny

          I see, I see. Well it’s all good, sounds like you enjoy the subtleties in Kaori Mizuhashi’s performances in the later games.

        • GibbRS

          If you’re worried that Laharl will be a really nice guy in DD2, don’t be. He’s pretty similar to how it was in the middle of Disgaea 1 in DD2. If you liked Disgaea 1, you’ll really like Disgaea D2. I finished the Japanese version and loved every minute of it.

  • Dark Zerato

    NIS should turn Laharl into a part-timer at McDonald in the next game.

    • r0gamer940

      you mean McRonald’s right?

      • Dark Zerato

        I think it’s MgRonald.

        • http://s1.zetaboards.com/Espada_of_Alexandria/index/ konpon568

          Nope, it’s McReagan.

          • Ramengeddon

            you’re totally out of the loop here lol

  • Magnumsally

    exciting

  • Kitestwinblades

    This game alone will make my October xD I cant wait!

    • GibbRS

      Just October? :P

  • Sangaz

    yep, the new trap healer was a great addition. This will be the first game I’ve actually used the male healer class.

  • xAtKx

    This game will easily make my backlog unplayable for months.

  • Suriel Cruz

    I’m counting the days till I got my hands on Disgaea D2, literally on my PSN ID status. xD As for DLC… I really want to play with Adell and Lilliel from The Guided Fate Paradox. Hopefully the 1st DLC Characters will release the same day the game release. ^ ^

    • Zero_Destiny

      I’m really excited about the Phantom Brave DLC. That’s still one of my favorite NIS titles, the sprites they get in D2 look great.

      • DesmaX

        Too bad they left Gig for the last wave… oh well

        • komiko12

          What?! Gig’s is the last batch?
          I was waiting for Marjoly… :/

          • DesmaX

            The last batch should be, according to the trophy list (NISA just left all of the trophies on start… Wonder if they’ll release them sooner), Gig – Nisa – Plume

  • WyattEpp

    Sounds great! But…you haven’t played Disgaea 4. What. What are you doing, you need to do that. Like, last year. (It’s good.)

    • MrTyrant

      It’s amazing and one of my NIS top games but maybe he is waiting for the vita version that is coming the next year.

      • Zero_Destiny

        lol It’s more like I just skipped the initial release. I was even thinking of buying it for all the goodies, but didn’t have the money. Then I never really got around to buying it later and just moved on to some other games or happenings in my life. It’s happened a lot more often for me now that I’m older. ^^;

        I keep hearing good things, I might have to buy the PSV release some time in the future, could be a blessing in disguise.

  • MrTyrant

    The release date it’s two days before my birthday, I think it’s good gift. I also want to buy Beyond Two Souls that is going to be released the same day, right?

  • Xaltmas

    I will buy this, if only for Etna.

  • http://shadious.tumblr.com/ Vince

    Front page:

    “I’m getting a really flat vibe from you two.”

  • DesmaX

    “and set up if you want auto-save or manual save.”
    Honestly, I just can’t believe that it’s so hard to find a JRPG with auto-save function these days… Glad NIS finally decided to do it.

    Day 1 for me

  • https://twitter.com/BinksFrost Binks5

    oh man i forgot i need to go pre-order this

  • KuroNathan

    “As someone who sat out previous Disgaea titles this generation”

    Aww really Thomas? You missed out on Disgaea 4 which is the game I consider the best out of the entire disgaea series in terms of gameplay, story, and humor. You should really go and check that one out.

    • Zero_Destiny

      I guess I really should get around to it. ^^; lol Everyone keeps telling me how good it is.

      • GibbRS

        Disgaea 4 was my second favorite behind Disgaea 1… well until Disgaea D2 came out (in Japan). Like Kuro stated, the gameplay is amazingly polished and enjoyable.

  • Shady Shariest

    ugh… Save my fund and buy this for halfies from U.K or 1 month of WoW… -_-’

  • SlickRoach

    Disgaea D2 and Pokémon X & Y coming out within a few days of each other? R.I.P. fall college semester. Impatiently awaiting my premium edition in the mail in the upcoming weeks.

  • Cody

    I always use Flonne as my save.

  • Punny Fuzz

    I wonder if Barbara Goodson will also be voicing Femharl?
    In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard her actual female voice before.

    • http://shadious.tumblr.com/ Vince

      She did voiced the leading female character in the dub of Tekkaman Blade; Star Summers.

  • Rockman

    Great article, can’t wait to get the game LE.

  • ZekeFreek

    I’m kind of disturbed by the sheer number of people who skipped 3 and 4…

  • http://s932.photobucket.com/ usagi_san

    Still need to pick up the first, but the direct sequel is looking really good. The series just continues to look aesthetically pleasing as well; the core gameplay never needs to make any drastic changes, just a tweak here and there and we are good to go.

  • ChiffonCake

    How’s the editing of the translation? Some pre-release screenshots made it look kind of iffy, and I was wondering if they had fixed that or not.

  • ChiffonCake

    How’s the editing of the translation? Some pre-release screenshots made it look kind of iffy, and I was wondering if they had fixed that or not.

  • Brimfyre

    Decisions!!!!
    I’ve bought and played every Disgaea at launch but I would seriously rather play this on the Vita. SRPGS are well suited for the traveling lifestyle handhelds afford. If only it had remote play!

    Or with my luck this would be the only NIS game that won’t be ported to Vita. Curses, I’ll just get it.

  • Croix Zapp

    Oh my! New addition to party!

  • Croix Zapp

    Knowing i can only play this on my vita in 2-3 years time make me sad =/

  • GibbRS

    One of my favorite features of DD2 is the dude in the courtyard with the cheat menu. You can set the enemy level as a menu option, instead of voting it up or down a dozen times in the Dark Council. You can also turn on or off things like the assist attacks (which I really dislike).

    The assist attacks are goofy because you’ll attack some really tough enemy with one of your tough dudes, and some weak character will jump in all “Hey I can help too!” then attacks the tough enemy for 0 damage, getting slaughtered with a counter attack. It happened so many times before I figured out you could turn it off.

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