Review by xsfenrirx

Reviewed: 10/07/03

A Precise Review / Existential Rant from an Semi Old School Gamer

First things first, the game.

STORY

As this is a game, which, like any art form, should provide some momentary escape from reality. Thus the field is set, and the determining factor would be The Story.
Disgaea takes quite a road rarely taken. The story's actually quite minimal in comparison to the time that one is ''required'' to spend to derive maximum satisfaction. Yet what story it does have does an excellent job of providing those of us who enjoy a quirky, light hearted story with much to be happy about. If you like parodies, cute anime ala Inuyasha, Escaflowne, FushigiYugi, or Ranma, I'm sure this game's sense of humor will not leave you unscathed.
There are quite a few scenes that genuinely cracked me up, including one pre battle parody that I would say was the funniest thing i've ever seen in a game, period.


GRAPHICS and SOUND EFFECTS

Ah yes the vanity of us all demands pretty things to see and pretty things to hear... does this game deliver on these points?
Well, the question should really be, when did you start playing games and why did you like them to begin with? If you're the type that always wanted 2D animation to make a comeback then this game is certainly for you. Whereas if you thought FF7 totally blew the old FF games out of the water this game's vanity will not impress you much, both in terms of graphics and sound effects. Everything's more or less retro, from the somewhat deformed characters, to the same 3 or 4 things that each class says over and over. Albeit how they can amusing, it gets old rather quickly.

GAMEPLAY/ UNIQUE POINTS

Here I shall give you a sense of what makes Disgaea its own game, and not someone else's step child.
Disgaea does go the extra mile to make itself distinct. In Item World we have the ability to divulge into each and every item, from a measly equivalent of the cheapest purchaseable tonic to the rarest weapons and armor. Here we also have unlimited potential for statistical growth in the Transmigration system. Geo Panels adds a more strategic element to the usual isometric playing field by adding such battle changing conditions as total Invincibility, to extra EXP and so on and so forth... There're still other interesting new features such as the ability to toss just about any friend or foe... Needless to say, if you've played just about every SRPG before, that does NOT mean you'll know what you're doing when you first start out in this game.
Also, as SRPGs are concerned, replay is a major issue. Trust me, this game does not disappoint when it comes to replay with its various endings and randomly generated item world dungeons and sidequests and.... you get the point.

COMPARISON

But is it better or worse than previous offerings of the genre? I'm going to compare this game to FF Tactics, which I loved.
It's different enough. The Geo Panels actually adds a new dimension to the same old formula and definitely peaked my interest during the story line battles. They're usually designed so that one actually has to do a bit of thinking before proceeding. The over leveling early is also less rampant than FFT. However, certain things did irk me, such as the various classes that are barely cosmetic change overs. After FF Tactics deep class system, I expected more. The important things though, is not really any particular gameplay element point to point, but the impression one has on the totality of the product. For that, I must say this game definitely kept my interest for a quite a long time. 170 or so hours later, I'm still playing. THAT is the bottom line. Is it better or worse than FFT? well I can definitely see it go either way. For me though, FFT's still on top, if only due to its more customizable characters.

The Final Rant

While I love games and SRPG's especially. I find the current trend that Disgaea displays somewhat troubling, thus the 7. Perhaps I'm simply troubled by my own insecurities when it comes to the love of games, yet I can't but help think that a game that COULD draw hundreds of hours of play to perfect (such as this one or FFX with that massive Sphere system) is a bit much...
For the past 50 hours I've been getting senses of Dejavu that i've seen the exact same Item world map before.
Of course no one forced me to do it, so it's my own damn fault. Upon furthur investigation I think I realize that what the game is doing is effectively tapping the pride of the human brain. In inducing us to say, oh but you COULD have better stuff, and your characters COULD be even stronger, it is suckering us to do more, spend more time! It's like a Casino in its ingenuity to attract the cattle like instincts of the masses. It's really quite amusing...

Why only a 7? because 6 is better than average, 8's great, and 7's lucky. Also I resent the 170 hours it has sucked away from my life. That's about the time that I could have wasted destroying the quality of living by other methods, such as having about 34,000 cigarettes. Mmmm sweet cancer.

So the conclusion of this interview is at hand. The Game is good! The Game is long! and I am a cow!

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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