Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness Review
What can be said about the Disgaea series? There are some who love the quirky nature of the game and can lose track of the hours they put into it. But there are also those who are turned off by the level grinding you can expect to find in the series. Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness not only returns to the original trio and their storyline but makes some changes to the gameplay mechanics. Change is good. Right? There’s only one real way to find out as we review the newest installment to the Disgaea series.
Before I even get into discussing the many things that Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness has to offer, I want to point out one of the things that will likely play a somewhat important role in whether you pick this game up or not. As with any entry you’d find in the series, one of the main draws to the game is the countless hours one can spend just grinding. Some people, like myself, can enjoy putting the extra hours into leveling my favorite characters to 9999 as well as boosting my weapons/accessories. But there will be those who rather not spend any extra time straying from the main storyline. While you don’t really have to grind at any point (it’s recommended that you do at some points), there are things you can miss out on by not taking advantage of it.
Though the stories are not the main reason a lot of fans enjoy this series, they do help to make journey from the beginning of the game to the big finale more enjoyable. The first Disgaea game had one of my favorite stories in the series, so I had high hopes that the continuation of the journey of Laharl and his vassals would bring some of that charm that got me hooked on the series. Sadly, I felt that it wasn’t quite up to what we find in the previous entries. This isn’t really a bad thing, but it did leave me wishing for more humor and answers. Parts felt like they were either rushed or just skipped over. An example would be how one episode is dedicated to the change in the physical appearance of Laharl and Etna. While we are given a reason for the change and do learn that they are reverted back to normal at its end, we don’t really see how it affects other demons. Also, the inclusion of some characters and how they tie into the trio just felt tacked on.
Taking place after the events of the first Disgaea, Disgaea D2 follows the original cast as Laharl sets off to prove to the denizens of the Netherworld that he is the rightful Overlord as well as uncover some odd mysteries going on. Along his journey, he will run into some familiar faces as well as new characters. Overall, I hate to say that I did not fall in love with all of the new characters. At most, I just liked them and used them enough to get though the stages in which I could use their special skills or hear the little conversations that would pop up. This isn’t to say that they are unlikable. It’s just that I really had trouble bringing myself to care for a character that didn’t appear to have much personality or seemed to have been just added without much background information. One example, without spoiling it much, is the ever-so-compliant Barbara. She follows the orders of one of the opposing group of demons to a fault, never complaining or even questioning why.
If you’ve played any of the other entries in the Disgaea series, you’ll have a grasp on the basics of the gameplay. For each episode, you have to beat all the enemies on the current stage to unlock the next. Some stages will play host to a small cutscene that advance the story. During the stages, you select the character you want to leave the base to attack an enemy. Depending on the range of movement and your attack range as well as the location of the closest enemy, you can queue an attack. Otherwise, you can use one of the other characters you select from the base to throw your attacking character closer. In previous entries, you were only able to throw in a straight line. Luckily, Disgaea D2 gives you a wider range that is not limited to just straight lines. Once you have your characters (you’re only allowed ten out at one time including ones killed) in position and ready to attack, you can either press START or the Triangle button to perform the attacks so that you can rework your plans in case a target is killed before one of the characters can attack it or end your turn. Rinse and repeat until you clear the stage.