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Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days

Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified PolygameistRPGamer Staff
edited October 2009 in Staff Review Blogs
System: Sony PSP
Release Date: 09.08.2009
Description: The sequel to the highly acclaimed SRPG, Disgaea, returns on Sony's PSP with 4 all new chapters starring Axel. He's trying to be a rock star again for real! Disgaea 2: DHD also features new systems that were first used in Disgaea 3, such as Magichange and Throw & Receive!

09.01.09 A little history... I played Disgaea 1 and La Pucelle completely through. I've also played Disgaea 3 about half way through before putting it on the back burner for other, more important review projects at the time. I own just about every other spin off of the series, such as Phantom Brave and what not. However, these games generally take a bit of time to complete... so the rest of them sit in my backlog. This includes the PS2 version of Disgaea 2. Therefore, aside from what's been noted in the included documentation, I won't be able to readily point out the differences.

Started Chapter 1 today. Disgaea games are one of the few that can really get me to chuckle, and occasionally laugh, right out loud. D2 is no different. So far, battles are very similar to Disgaea 1. It's nice being able to play this in the palm of my hand. I'm also happy to report it doesn't look stretched out. That's always a concern for me when playing a PSP game originally designed for 4:3 aspect ratio.

09.10.09 Like most people, I had family in town for Labor Day. It's hard to play your PSP when family is in. They think its rude. I don't know why biggrin.gif At least we had a good time.

I'm on Chapter 4 right now. For the most part, this game plays like Disgaea 1 and 3, which I fully expected. There is a system where you can get felonies. The more felonies you have, the more things you unlock such as discounts from the store. To get a felony, you have to get a sopena and travel 'into' it using the item world. Battles are starting to ramp up in level, so a bit o' grinding is probably in order. Everything else from D1 from the geopanels to the item leveling are fully intact.

The story thus far is cheezy like the others, but it hasn't made me laugh as much. It's interesting how many parallels in the story and and the characters there is between this and D1.

09.15.09 I'm on Chapter 5. I haven't made much ground because I'm taking some time to level up some new characters. I guess I'm too easily tempted in looking into new classes and stuff. There definitely seems to be a larger selection of classes than D1. The story isn't really working as much for me as D1 or D3... but it's cute enough. The basic formula of having so much freedom to grow your team, characters and equipment the way you want, however, is quite addicting.

09.16.09 I knocked out a couple of chapters without going into item world. So, I'm about 15 hours in and I'm in Chapter 7 so far. Two words. Prinny bowling. Seriously. You gotta love Prinnies.

09.20.09 I spent the weekend in Chapter 8, and I haven't actually got through any of it. Let me explain.

The mobs took a jump in level. At the end of Ch 7, I swear they were level 23 or so. In the first board of this chapter, that jumps up to level 28. To make it more challenging, in Chapter 8, the game lets you know, quite clearly, that <span class="spoiler">I'll have to go through five battles in a row as my party tries to escape the clutches of the dark overlord.</span>. A quick survey of the first battle in Ch 8 showed me that I was NOT ready. So, I decided to grind in item world for levels and money (to buy better armor)

I must have spent at least four hours so far, and I'm still not felling like I'm ready. At this point, it's time to put on my exploitation hat and start doing those fun things us Disgaea fans do when we need levels fast...such as throwing enemies together to make higher level mobs, which give you buku experience when killed. Yeah... that sounds like a plan!

UPDATE: Yup...that's the ticket. Nothing like mobs twice yer level for buku XP. My level 26 fighter flew up to Level 33 with one kill. NIIIICCEE. Best part is, you don't really have to combine them right away. Wait until you wettle down their HPs. That way, you only got a weak tough mob to fight biggrin.gif

09.21.09 I had a three hour stretch to play games (which is a cherished rarity). I focused on leveling my characters in item world, especially those lower in level. I've heard people complain that healers are hard to level. Personally, I don't have too much of a problem getting those slackers (and others) caught up.... not once I found out what "Death Strike" means.

<span class="spoiler">Anyone who's played any Disgaea game knows there's colored tiles with geo-doohickeys somewhere on them which can give your party powerful buffs or debuffs. These range from double experience to lowered defense and the such. For some reason, I didn't know what "Deathstrike" meant. Perhaps it wasn't in the first game. At first, I thought it mean that if a character stood on it, that any blow they landed would kill an opponent. I was wrong. Dead wrong. Instead of killing the mob, my hero died instantly in the counter attack.

That's when the little wheels in my head started to spin, and I quickly figured out a way to exploit this new found knowledge to level my lv. 10 star mage (a reincarnated ice mage) and my level 20 priest. On the next board with some death strike tiles, I picked up 5 enemies (level 25 each) and threw them onto one death strike square. That left me with one mob at level 125. Then, I let my level 10 star mage hit him. INSTANT KILL. Instant 30 or so levels too!! My star mage went from being the lowest level to the highest level that fast.</span>

Let me tell you...fun for the whole family. I'm just about ready, now, to finally go through the daunting 5 round challenge of chapter 8.

09.24.09 My neck is killing me, which may be from too much laying down on couch to play PSP. Not sure. Anywho, I'm on Chapter 11 now. I ran across a couple of boards that were easy to exploit for some quick levels. <span class="spoiler">Etna joined our group</span> (at level 1 no less), but using some of those boards to my advantage, I quickly got her up near 40. I already find myself hating this chapter, as it has a bunch of geopanel puzzles you have to figure out to proceed. Some of the boards are just set up like mazes that just prolong the amount of time that it takes for me to get through the battle. /sigh.

09.28.09 Turns out I have some sort of Ju Ju disease that, among other things, makes it really painful to be on my back, where I like to do most of my PSP'ing. To be honest, I've been in enough pain, and on enough drugs, to not want to play much of anything. But, I've been putting in my time with Disgaea. I'm now at Chapter 12, and around 35 hours. I'm grinding up because, in true Disgaea form, enemy levels go up real fast in the last few chapters. Furthermore, I have to level up my weapons, because some of my characters are just underpowered. It doesn't help when some missions force you to fight mobs on Enemy Boost +50%. Ouchie! So, I'm grinding in item world again.

10.02.09 I'm up to 40 hours. This is a bit of milestone for me. I'm trying to push myself a bit harder in various parts of my life, and one of them is playing games for RPGamer. I know it sounds kinda silly, but it's really hard for me to get time to actually play games with my other responsibilities. At the same time, I really need to take time for gaming, not only to get reviews done with RPGamer, but because I've been suffering from high stress lately, mostly due to not relaxing enough. My goal is 40 hours / month, which is the length of a typical RPG. I started this game about a month ago, and I'm at 40 now, so I'm pretty happy. And, hopefully I should be done soon.

I'm on the fifth or sixth board of the 12th chapter. The enemy levels are increasing quite rapidly between board now. It jumped from level 70 to 82 or so on on board! Yesh! I've been focusing on a few characters, so I'm using them to 'tank' (Adell, Rozy and Etna). I have three mages I keep hanging back with 2 priestess for support. I was slowly working my way through that 'gates' of the castle (Ch 12 Board 5 or 6) when my psp battery kicked the bucket tonight.

What's really funny is that how the characters keep joking about this being the end of the game. It's pretty funny. I still don't think this Disgaea is as funny as the other two, but it's cute. I'm really hoping I don't have to grind more in item world. We'll see.

With any luck, I should be done with the main campaign by this weekend. (assuming there's not a chapter 13 which would undoubtedly cause me more grinding in item world). I'll spend some time with the Dark Hero Days bonus chapters, but I'm not sure if I'll get through it all before I just go ahead and do the review. Bonus content in Disgaea games tend to be extremely time consuming for little return.

One thing that always bothers me about Disgaea is that there's so many different cool characters you can make, plus there's a bunch of main characters they give you...but the more characters you have, the harder it is to raise their levels. Soooo... it's usually just easier to make as few as characters as possible, and dump most of them as you get the main characters through the story. Seems a shame because some of the different character classes and monsters in the creation mode really seems cool.

On one hand, I would like to explore all of the hidden content, classes, etc., that D2 has to offer, but on the other hand, I'm not really excited about the idea of playing for (literally) 100's of hours to get the necessary levels to get there.

10.06.09 I'm pretty much done. I've gone through some of the bonus content. However, as most of you know, it would take a major investment of time to go through ALL the bonus and extra content... and I need to get this review out. I will say, I am amazed at the sheer amount of content and gameplay they can fit into one UMD these days. This certainly blows away Gameboy games in that area smile.gif

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