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  1. Developer: Nippon Ichi Software Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software Platform: PlayStation 3 Release Date: October 8, 2013 ESRB: T for Teen A download code was provided by the publisher for this review Disgaea has always been sort of an odd series for me. When I played Disgaea: Hour of Darkness all those years ago, I was enthralled, at the time thinking that this quirky little game might very well be one of the best games ever made. However, as time went on, and I began to lose interest in Nippon Ichi and its flagship series; Disgaea 2 failed to interest me, and the company's other SRPG offerings were not the most enjoyable experiences for me (with the exception being Soul Nomad & The World Eaters)... and eventually I paid only the smallest amount of attention to the newest Nippon Ichi announcements. So, when Nippon Ichi announced Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness, a direct sequel to the first Disgaea game, I took notice. A new game with some of my favorite... 'protagonists' ever, and with updated mechanics? Needless to say, I was pretty excited, but such a sequel has lofty goals it must reach in the eyes of fans. How bright does Disgaea D2 shine in its darkness? As stated above, Disgaea D2 continues the story of the original Disgaea starring Laharl, Etna, and Flonne. A few years have passed since the events of the original Disgaea, and Laharl has taken the position of Overlord of the Netherworld... but it seems that no one really noticed that, much to the young demon's frustration. He and his vassals begin to right this grievous wrong by erecting statues around the Netherworld to show the demons Laharl's greatness. Overall, the plot does well enough for itself, with a few overarching themes to add a cohesiveness to the separate episodes. While the story is full of humor, there are a few more serious moments to make the plot more meaningful, and these are done well enough to not really disrupt anything else in the game. Of course, there's also a bunch of different endings to uncover, though most of these are joke endings that you get from failing specific battles. Also, Disgaea D2 does something I did not expect, but is also something that is a credit to the game itself: There are a surprising small amount of cameos from the first game. Instead, this sequel relies on building a new cast of supporting characters that shine in a different way than the original's, and also dodge the bullet of how to actually incorporate those older characters into the new storyline. Many players also play the Disgaea games for its deep gameplay and mechanics, and Disgaea D2 will not disappoint fans in that regard. Lifting and throwing, Geo Panels and Effects, the Item Sea, and more are still in full force in this game, with all of the upgrades from previous iterations. Some maps even seem like puzzles with the Geo Effects, and the stage is less about killing all the enemies and more about surviving the overwhelming effects until you can remove the harmful Geo Spheres, and it's a very nice change of pace. Also, the Item Sea is as expansive as any other Item World is, complete with Pirate Ships you can navigate to get further within each item's sea. Two new gameplay mechanics make a debut in Disgaea D2 that add even more depth to your strategy, as well as even make it easier for your to grind and make it through the game. The first is that you can now Mount Monster units. Mounting a monster unit gives the rider and monster new abilities (which progress as the two units spend more time together) and other benefits. These new skills tend to be quite powerful (provided that both units are properly leveled), and it's a very viable strategy to have hurt or squishier units mount a monster unit, as only the monster will take damage from an attack. The other new mechanic is the Cheat Shop. There, you can tweak the amount of EXP or HL you get, or turn on and off multiple other modes. The Cheat Shop makes it incredibly easy to level up your units: Since you can change the amount of experience you get, and can up the monsters' levels, it makes it far easier than ever before to level (and even over-level) for the game's story. Many more options unlock after beating the main story as well, still making it a viable option for the post-game. Since grinding has always been a part of the series, seeing a mechanic that lowers the amount you have to grind to progress is a refreshing sight, especially if you're not fond of the Item Sea. The graphics and soundtrack are also great. All of the sprites are very well drawn and detailed, and look great even when up-close. The skill animations are of course over the top and great looking, as well. The soundtrack consists of some remixed tunes from the original Disgaea as well as some new tracks, and they fit well on the maps and in the cutscenes alike. However, this sequel isn't without its flaws. Unfortunately, Disgaea D2 has a few glitches that freeze up the game, most notable and common of which being when an enemy Witch uses a Fire spell. I've had the game lock up on me on multiple occasions, almost always in the middle of a skill activation, which led me to skipping battle animations when I didn't need to watch it for the skill library completion. It's also likely that the freezing up only happens in the digital version, and a fair amount of people never come across errors at all, though it can be frustrating when one of these freezes do happen. The other major problem is with the final boss battle itself. Whereas most of the game progresses its difficulty at a steady pace, the final boss itself is incredibly difficult, with a powerful Evility and a hard hitting attack with crazy range. It's a very tough battle to get through without an overleveled party (or some really great gear), and is a very difficult final hurdle to overcome. Is Disgaea D2 the sequel to the original that fans were expecting? Well, yes. We get to the main characters of the first Disgaea in a new game, with a good plot to work through. Also, the inclusion of mechanics old and new ensure a new experience for even the seasoned Disgaea veteran, and the usual over-abundance of post-game content will keep players occupied for hundreds of hours if they decide to tackle it. This is a Disgaea game through and through, and a worthy purchase for any Disgaea or SRPG fan. Pros: + Story is entertaining enough to keep you playing + Gameplay mechanics are deep and complex, but also simple enough to grasp the basics of + Cheat Shop makes it easy to grind, making the game more accessible to a new crowd Cons: - Glitches and freezing sometimes crop up, leading to frustration - Final boss is not challenging, but rather overpowered and cheap Overall Score: 9.0 (out of 10) Fantastic Despite a few hiccups, Disgaea D2 is a Strategy RPG that's well worth playing, and even a good starting point for those new to the series.
  2. Disgaea fans: Did you realize the SRPG series has just reached its 10th anniversary? Seriously! It was in 2003 that Disgaea: Hour of Darkness originally launched on PS2 in North America and Japan. Now we're finally coming up on Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness which brings back classic characters for a new story. To help celebrate the anniversary, NIS America has revealed a special edition. Here's what can be found in the Disgaea 2 Limited Edition: 2 small figures of Etna and Flonne 5 collectible cards Collector's box Copy of game Hardcover artbook Soundtrack The price for this package is $85. Of course, if you want to spend more then you can buy the bundle of Limited Edition with strategy guide for $105. Those who simply want the game can pick up Disgaea D2 for $50 when it launches on October 8th for PS3.
  3. Kezins

    Best Disgaea D2 Trailer So Far

    It's in Japanese but it really shows the game off and has me excited! http://youtube.com/watch?v=WMEue8n6WkI
  4. Marcus Estrada

    Disgaea 1 and 2 Making Way to PSN

    If you have never played 2003's Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, then you're not alone. Although the game was quite loved, it initially squeaked by with a small print run. Eventually, it became less rare but it has been years since then. Similarly, Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories in 2006 had a larger audience, but still skipped some SRPG radars. If you just never got around to finding a copy then NIS is set to make your day. They have announced that both the first and second games in the series are coming to PSN. Although both games have had ports to various systems such as PSP and DS, this may be a way some prefer to nab them. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness will be available on this Tuesday (tomorrow!). Then you'll be given a lone week to push through the game as Disgaea 2 will arrive the following week on the 22nd. Both PS2 Classics are priced at $10. Do you like the Disgaea series?
  5. When we first saw Wonderbook crash and burn during Sony's E3 press conference earlier this year, I'm sure much of the gaming world wrote it off as just another bad idea that Sony would be sweeping under the table in the next few months. I still have my doubts about the thing, but have to admit I became slightly more interested in the idea when I saw the trailer for Diggs Nightcrawler. It certainly could have just been all the puns being thrown at me, or it could have been the slightly more mature aspects of a crime noir book starring a freaking inch worm. I'm not quite sure at this point, but at least the trailer got me to thinking, "What if the Wonderbook isn't just for kids? Where can Sony go to really get an audience?" Atlus Is King When It Comes To Storytelling I was trying to figure out just who could make the Wonderbook a must-buy peripheral when the obvious brick hit me in the form of Persona 4 Arena. Don't mistake this purely for a fighting game, because it clearly isn't. The fighting is just there to move the story along. If the Persona series can translate so well into a fighting game, who's to say they couldn't do the same with a point-and-click adventure? They already have the perfect Wonderbook setup with the Persona Compendium (I'll talk about this more in a bit) The main problem however is the gameplay aspect of it all. I couldn't find a good image of the Persona Compendium, so here is Margaret holding it. My answer to this lies in Persona 3 Portable. Unlike the Playstation 2 version of the game, P3P required the player to interact with different static points in the game world instead of walking around as the player. If they could apply this same setup to monster fights, then I see no reason why it shouldn't exist. While Atlus doesn't pull the biggest sales numbers, its hard to argue against the niche following that they do pull in. The people that buy the Persona games would kill for a more expanded Universe. Just look at the sales for P4G. Imagine what that fan base could do for the Wonderbook. A Freaking Tactics Game (Come On!) Come on people, this should have been done years ago! What goes into the usual tactics game? A lot of talking, menus, and grid based combat with intense unit management. Games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea would work perfectly with the Wonderbook's setup and show off the peripheral's neat little gimmicks. Maybe even games like X-COM could make an appearance. Why couldn't a Valkyria Chronicles battle take place on this? The game's grid based combat would fold out of the book and spread across the floor, you would point towards where you wanted them to go, yadda yadda yadda. We all know how it works. Stuff like this was even teased during the original Move demonstrations all those years ago. Nothing ever came of it, but the Wonderbook would be perfect for it. Turning the book around to get a better look at your enemies or to follow characters that have gone behind barriers, I don't care how it gets done but the Wonderbook needs a game like this. Instead of just showing off a bunch of books with waggle function they really need to start showing off games that make use of the book gimmick instead. Just Think Of The Collector's Editions I mentioned the Persona Compendium earlier, and for good reason. I'm sure you've all seen the Wonderbook peripheral itself. Its just a large black book with an AR image inside it. Not really something that would make people want to buy it. But with the recent announcements of the Journey art book and the Persona 4 Solid Gold Edition it all hit me. You see, the Persona 4 Solid Gold Edition sold out in as quickly as two days after it was announced. There are still a few places you can get them, but they aren't going to hold out for much longer. People are pretty crazy when it comes to collector's editions, so why shouldn't Wonderbook have them too? Great. Now I want one of these. Sure it wouldn't be anything special, but wouldn't a Persona Wonderbook game be even better if it came with a book cover that resembled the Persona Compendium held by Elizabeth and Margaret in Persona 3 and 4? Now let's move on to the Journey artbook. In the book you'll find AR images spruced about, just like what you'll find in the Wonderbook. You point a special camera at the image and bam, an animated scene will appear. The Wonderbook could take this one step further and add in interactive artbooks to their different collector's editions. I'm not entirely sure how this would work but I'd imagine it would be things like model viewers and special scenes from the game. ------------------------------ Of course, everything I just talked about is wishful thinking on my part. The Wonderbook still has a long road ahead if it ever hopes to be taken as a serious peripheral in the eyes of Playstation gamers. But if Diggs Nightcrawler has proven anything, it shows that the Wonderbook at least has a chance. As always, thanks for reading.
  6. Everyone loves murdering with something they've made themselves. While Disgaea Dimension 2 doesn't quite offer that experience, you can at least have the chance at naming a few weapons. Six weapons, one of each conventional non-monster-type weapon, are up to be named: a sword, axe, bow, staff, spear, and gun. There are even pictures of each, in the gallery below! The event is on the site for Disgaea Dimension 2, which means it's all in Japanese. Oh, you don't know Japanese? Man, don't even worry, you know I've always got your back. When you go to the main page, click on Special. Along the left side under Contents, there is a link with "NEW!" beside it. Click on that and it'll take you to the page where you can see all the weapons. The first box is for your name (which, they assure, can be a pseudonym) and then the weapon name boxes. The order is Sword, Spear, Bow, Gun, Ax, and Staff. The big text box is for, in 200 characters, a message to Disgaea D2, so... you know, whatever. They're not super picky, as the pseudonym is the only required one, so you can name whichever weapons you want and ignore the ones you don't care about. I don't necessarily have any suggestions, but I will definitely be offended if none are named after me. This contest runs until November 30th, and I think the winners are going to be announced on December 14th. Nippon Ichi will be releasing Disgaea D2 itself to Japan on March 20, 2013, where we in the West may or may not see it. They brought over Disgaea Infinite and the Prinny games, though, so it's probably a pretty safe bet. Check out the weapons below!
  7. Marshall Henderson

    Disgaea Dimension 2 to Have Limited Edition

    Project D did not turn out to be something dirty, Nippon revealed. Instead, it's a new Disgaea game! Disgaea was pretty popular, at least within the very broad audience into niche SRPGs from the early 2000s with a deeply Japanese absurdist sense of humor. In fact, it got a few sequels and spin-offs, including Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? and Disgaea Infinite. None of those were really directly related to the first game, though, doing the familiar Final Fantasy or Bruce/Evan Almighty route to sequeling, where the following stories are just in the same "family." No longer is that the case. Disgaea Dimension 2 is a direct sequel to Disgaea, starring Laharl, Etna, and Flonne, and features an all new quest. It's, as to be expected for the series, an SRPG of the tactics subgenre. "Cradle Over" by Minori Chihara will be the opening song for the game, which may or may not be like Cradle 2 the Grave. As for the limited edition, that comes with a hard cover art book, two CD OST, Niitengo figures of Etna and Flonne, and the game itself. This, for the low, low price of 10,800 yen, or $136. The game itself is around 7,140 yen, or $90. Pretty pricey, but that's a difference in the economy, not an overpriced game. Get your economics mind right! This'll be on the PlayStation 3 on March 20th in Japan, and... some time after that if it comes to the US of A.