Review by Demerson

Reviewed: 08/30/03

One of the greatest SRPGs ever!

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, recently localized in the US by Atlus, has to be one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and probably the greatest SRPG in existence. Admittedly, it will probably only appeal to the hardcore players of this genre, but anyone who is looking for a great, engaging and deep game will find Disgaea to be top of its class.

The graphics are a combination of old-school 2D artwork, which will definitely appeal to the older veterans of this genre. This artwork is mixed with beautiful 3D terrains and flashy battle effects. For people like me who prefer this type of ''old-school'' textures, the combination between the 2D and 3D is a godsend.

If you're also looking for a game that will be worth your $50, then this is also the game to get. While the main quest will usually last around 40 hours or so, at that point, you've just begun to build a powerful army. With 9999 levels, 255 weapon mastery levels, and over 100 skills, this is definitely a game that will keep you occupied for a long while. To justify gaining these staggering levels, there are a slew of hidden maps, extra bosses, and plenty of hard-to-find items to acquire.

With the mention of items, I'll talk about the Item Worlds. A truly unique feature of this game, you have the ability to go inside of your items and actually improve them. Inside your items there's a world all on it's own with residents living inside there. You can defeat these residents to improve that item's level. Some items also contain special residents, which if beaten, will give your item special abilities. Every level in the Item World is a random map too, so it'll never be quite the same, and you'll practically never tire of strengthening you items.

While the story of the game seems to take a back seat to the combat aspect, it's still pretty engaging and light-hearted. You play as the Prince of the Netherworld, Laharal. You've been asleep for two years and now you've awoken to find out that your father, the Overlord, has died. Knowing this, you set out on your journey to subjugate all the demons who are vying for control of the Netherworld.

To anyone who enjoys RPGs in the vein of Final Fantasy: Tactics and SRPGs in general, you really don't want to pass up this game. For all purists out there, the game actually has dual language soundtracks, so you can either switch to English voice acting or the original Japanese soundtrack. The English soundtrack also uses the song ''The Invasion From Within'', by punk band Tsunami Bomb and this song compliments the attitude of the game rather nicely.

Kudos to Atlus for bringing over one of the finest RPGs ever.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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