Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness Review
In this age of backlogs, next-gen consoles, and Humble Bundles, sinking 100+ hours into a game seems unprecedented. Some might balk at this kind of investment, but Nippon Ichi’s Disgaea series has reveled in its replayability, trading in your time for absolute immersion. Now that Disgaea D2 is here, should you pay a visit to the Overlord of the Netherworld?
Serving as a direct sequel to the original Disgaea on the PlayStation 2, Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness chronicles the life of the Overlord Laharl and his dealings in the Netherworld. It’s not for everybody — anime cliches abound and proceedings often feel random for the sake of being random. The overly dramatic English dub doesn’t help things either, though this is quickly remedied with the Japanese language option. However, fans of slice-of-life anime series will be right at home with its off-kilter tone, and the episodic content of the game makes it easy to digest.
But don’t be fooled: Disgaea D2 is anything but easygoing. Those who have yet to play a Disgaea title should know that there is a steep learning curve to Disgaea D2. Keeping with the series tradition, battles can last anywhere from a couple of minutes to a good hour, with multiple characters, menus, and variables to keep track of. Even fans of strategy-RPGs will be overwhelmed with the amount of options available, and will no doubt be shocked at its hour of tutorials.
Almost everything from the past 10 years of Disgaea games is implemented, including an Apprentice system that allows you to pass on abilities, Geo Panels that affect the landscape, and a leveling system that stretches to four digits. It’s a lot to keep track of, but those who “click” with the gameplay will find a rewarding system that offers plenty to tinker around with during the 40+ hour story mode.
And therein lies the fun of Disgaea D2. The sheer depth of the game allows for a level of flexibility not seen in many other games today (NIS games notwithstanding). Your army isn’t just a bunch of nameless rank and files: it’s your army, built down to the tiniest piece of armor. Some may see it as a pile of numbers, but those who have sunk the time and energy into it see it as something more: mastery.
Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness caters to a very specific group of gamers, but it also does an excellent job at it. Those who are into power leveling and slam-dunking Prinnies: You no doubt had this preordered ages ago.
Everybody else should give it a shot. Who knows — it might make an addict out of you too.
Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness is an investment: One that pays off in the form of replayability.