Review by cuccoo

Reviewed: 09/02/03

Disgaea has set a new standard for TacticalRPG

I've played this game for 4 days straight and just finished it tonight. My timer shows 26 hours, but there are a few hours not counted due to reloads.

Mini review:

Graphic
Gameplay graphic is nice and clean. Nothing too flashy but good looking.
Since this is budget game, cutscenes are very simple replying mostly on static artworks and good voice acting (I played with JP voice on, but I heard the English is not bad either). Despite having limited budget, I must say the presentation is very well done, certainly capture the anime spirit.

Sound/Music
Like I've said the Japanese voices are very good, at least its sounds just like in anime. They got the expression right, and this is quite important because the graphic side doesnt show much in the cutscenes. Also, many scenes are very very funny because they got the voice tones and expressions right. Music is awesome. i mean majority of the tracks are very memorable. There are only two tracks that I find tedious. Overall, I love it. Words cant explain music, so I suggest you listen to it yourself.

Story
Good. I would say this better than 90% of rpgs out there. The plot is stupid and simple but the humor and character development are good stuff. I actually get to like Lahar and his companions as the game progresses. Also pacing is excellent. You get to see some progression/cutscene every 1-2 battles. I also like the idea of breaking it to chapters. Just like tv series anime, you just cant wait to see the next chapter/episode.

Gameplay
Best of its kind. I would say this is light years better than FFT or TO. The turns are faster. There are also geo panel, combo attack, and group attack which improve the tactical part of the game. Great interface.
1. Enemies move together, and you can actually issue multiple command and execute all of them at the end of the turn. You still can execute one move at a time, if you need to do so.
2. I dont think front attack or back attack is taken into consideration here. So, there is no need to set up that lame ''which direction should you face'' at the end of every turn for every character. This helps improve the speed and get rid of tedious part at the same time. Excellent.

Character management is very simple. When you level up, you dont have to allocate point on things like skill and all that. All you need to do is pick the class and equipments. Anything else you get from level up, you get it automatically. Character building becomes a lot easier and more enjoyable. Transmigration is just class changing system. For main characters they dont change class but they get stronger each time you transmigrate them. There are not many classes, but monster characters make up for the missing human classes.

Geo panels add strategy. Its quite complex to explain this thing. Basically geo panels are color tile that can add status to whoever stands on it. It can be positive or negative effects. Destroying the triangle on the panels can cause massive combo if you got the setting right. Combo is good at hurting people on the panels and it gives lots of bonus at the end of the battle.

You can have 10 units on the map but I rarely do this because I like quick battle and I want to finish the story mode quickly. So halfway into the game I basically use only 2 guy. Lahar and my user created Shadow Ninja. At the last 5 levels or so, these characters are like 10 levels below the enemies yet they can win easily. I think its because ninja is way overpowered. It can dodge 90% of enemies attacks. So you can just use it as a meat shield and let Lahar cast his ultimate skill which is very devastating. Maybe I'll use all 10 in item world, but definitely not in the main game.

Fixed maps (main storyline). There are many good maps however the difficulty is a bit erratic. One level can be very hard but the next one can be a lot easier than the previous map. Also, I can beat this game by using only 2 characters for the second half of the game (I can probably do it from the start, but I was experimenting early in the game). Also, there is only one objective: eliminate all enemies (well there is one map where you can just escape...). I think other kind of objectives would make the game more tactical. For example, dont let certain character die, survive certain number of rounds, kill specific character, etc.

Item world. I havent explore much yet. Basically its a random map and random battle generator. Unlike normal maps, there maps are usually covered with geo panels, so you can a bunch of fun stuff. Once you are done with the battles, your item got leveled up. You can also capture monsters that has the key to the perks of the item. Once you capture them, you can transfer the perk to other items. Basically its just item customization. The main game requires you to spend only like 15 minutes with item world, so if you dont like it you can easily skip this part. But if you dont like this one then the game has little replay value. I think this is one part where I spend my time with now that I've finished the game. The main maps are fun but they never change and I got sick of them after playing it 5-6 times while leveling up.

I rate this game A- because of the unbalanced main storyline maps and lack of diverse objectives. So its like 9.5 but I just give it a 10. This game is not perfect but it the best TacticalRPG out there. Other than that, I like everything else. To me, it sets a new standard for Tactical RPG.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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