Wednesday, October 9, 2013

S&S Review: Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness

Title: Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness
Format: PS3
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Price: $49.99
ESRB Rating:

Disgaea D2 brings together three of the series' best characters back together for another endless romp of  grinding, looting, and leveling that we've all come to love.

Story and Presentation:
Some may say that the Disgaea series has been on a downward spiral since they started introducing new characters to the franchise.  The immediate reaction to the original casts' return is pretty great, and the writing has returned back to it's original form.  The snappy, witty, and overall amusing banter between the three characters is fantastic, and it's a big part of the game's overall charm.  The voice cast is perfect, and it sounds like every actor is having a good time.  The visuals in the game are a mixed bag, it's not taxing even half of the PS3's power, but it does feature tons of vibrant colors and characters that create an intriguing world and atmosphere.  There's no denying that the series has reused many of the same assets and resources from previous games, but any fan of the countless games will be used to this.  Disgaea has always held a distinct and unique art style that is never compared to another in the genre, and D2 is proof of just that.  The music is the weakest component in the presentation, but that doesn't make it awful, it's just not as strong as I would have hoped.  You start to here a lot of the same tunes pretty quickly in the game, and it can get pretty repetitious on your ears.  It's not as strong of a score as Time and Eternity, but luckily it's a better overall game than it though.
Core Gameplay:
At it' core, Disgaea D2 is a tactical turn based RPG, that is presented at an isometric view.  The previous games have done this well, and D2 brings some of the finest combat yet.  If you've never played this type of game before, it will take a lot of time to get used to the vast number of options and mechanics at your disposal.  RPG's lately have become a lot more streamlined and focused, but D2 sticks to a complex system that may turn some people off.  This makes learning the game's ins and outs tough, but extremely rewarding in the end.  The key to winning is still grinding and mixing your multiple classes into a winning formula, but you have some new features that make battles a bit more engaging.  You now have the ability to use the monsters in your class as mounts, this makes your monsters actually useful for a change.  Your mounted character can still use all of his or her's attacks and abilities, and both the mount and the rider gains XP.  This makes leveling up new human characters  painless.  The new Demon Dojo is another great addition, which lets you accelerate the growth of a certain stat of a character as they level up.  The more you use the Dojo, the higher it's level grows as well, increasing the benefits it nets you.  These combinations mixed with a number of minor improvements make finding the "perfect" crew even more impossible to ignore.  You can blow through the story in 40 hours if you wish, but the endless number of randomly generated dungeons can easily extend your playthrough.

Final Thoughts: 
With a new game+ mode and a level cap of 9999, this is pure fan service to any fan of the genre.  Disgaea D2 features new refined gameplay, with some new welcomed additions as well.  Although the visuals aren't groundbreaking, I still see this as one of best turn based RPGs of the year.
S&S Rating: 8.5/10
@whatsPlay

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