Review by Foley

Reviewed: 09/05/03

Refreshing, addictive, and above all else, FUN!

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is a refreshingly fun strategy RPG in which you take control of the Demon Prince Laharl, whose father, the Overlord of the Underworld, passed away. You must partake on a journey to take over the throne and become the new ruler.

Gameplay 10/10
Disgaea is a strategy RPer's dream game. There are literally hundreds of classes, including, Warriors, Mages, demons, angels, and monsters. And if you get so far and decide that you didn't pick the right class for that specific character, you can actually go back and alter said character so that they become a different class.

Combat is your standard turn based system, you tell you troops what to do, they do it, then the enemy gets they're chance to attack you. Simple right? Wrong. Aside from that, there are Geopanels, stones and panels on the map that alter your characters and the enemies. You can either move the Geostones around so that they favor you, or destroy the stones to inflict massive combos on your enemies. At fist the Geo system might seem a bit intimidating, but after a little bit of time, you'll get used to it.

As for difficulty, it really all depends on how you want to play the game. If you try to rush through it, and never replay levels to strengthen your character, then you might have a hard time. But if you go back and take time to level your army up, then the game can get pitifully easy. That's the one problem I have with the game, just a bit of training on the side, and you can breeze through the game like it's nothing.

The controls are magnificent. Opening menus, and assigning moves and attacks for you party couldn't be easier. You can even manipulate the camera with a simple push of the shoulder buttons.

Yep, there's very few flaws in the gameplay, and the few that do exist are so small it's easy to overlook them. A definite 10 for gameplay.

Story - 10/10
The story is relatively simple, yet enjoyable nonetheless. You play as the Demon Prince, who has slept for the past two years, missing his fathers death, and his best opportunity to take the throne. Now you must traverse the Underworld defeating all who oppose you so that you may take your rightful place as ruler. Sure it’s not the most remarkable story in the world, but it’s fun, and even more important its funny! If this game doesn’t make you laugh at least a few times, then my friend, you need help. The interaction between the characters is done beautifully, and I can’t help but smile when I think of the relationships that these characters have. There aren’t too many main characters in the storyline, which would normally upset me, as I am a person who absolutely loves games with lots of characters, however, the few main players in this game are illustrated so remarkably, that I can’t complain.

Graphics - 8/10
In my own opinion, the graphics are a definite 10, I only put the 8 here because I know lots of people will disagree with me. The characters are all hand drawn sprites, no computer animation here! Yet even though it doesn’t have all the wow that you find in games that use CGI, the movements and illustrations are so smooth that I can’t help but love them. Don’t let the fact that the game is hand drawn turn you away from it.

Sound- 9/10
Ok, I’m not a big sound fanatic, I don’t have a real taste in music, and bad voice acting doesn’t bother me. But this games sounds are beautiful, the voice acting is really remarkable (Is it just me, or is Laharl’s voice actor the same guy who did the main character on the anime FLCL?), and the music is awesome as well. I only gave this a 9 because I don’t really know music too well, and I very well could be wrong.

Playtime-
Disgaea is by no means a short game. The back of the cartridge promises at least forty hours of gameplay, and if you take the time to level up and do all the other fun things in the game, I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes anywhere from 80 to 100 hours to complete.

Replayability- 10/10
The game isn’t just good for being replayed, it is meant to be replayed. After you complete it for the first time, you get New Game +, where you can go through and play the game all over again. Remember, there are multiple endings, so you’re definitely not getting the whole deal just playing the game once.

Final Recommendation -
If you have the game already, good for you! If you don’t have the game go buy it… now.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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