Review by SaintAjora

Reviewed: 11/29/03

The Prince of Darknesss may rule, but it needs a serious meeting with advisors

Disgaea is one of the more interesting games to come out for the PS2. What I heard about it made me want it as soon as possible. And we got just days after it came out in the U.S. While the game is very good, it is far from perfect.

Graphics 7: Let's get the flaws out of the way. Often for talking scenes you will see large still portraits of the people talking over the battle map or castle depending on where the scene takes place. This can turn off people who prefer more animation to go with talking scenes. Also the sprites may be too small for some people. However the graphics do look very good despite that. The still images of the characters are quite detailed. And the map graphics
are easy on the eyes and the sprites are some of the better looking sprites I've seen.

Story 9: The story is extremely good. The fact it pulled at my emotions is a good sign. The characters have a lot of character growth. And the plot combines several different story elements into a fresh package. One major flaw may be the fact some of the growth is very predictable when you think about it.

Music 9: The music is one of the best aspects to the game. For one thing the tunes often feel perfect at the times they are used. True some of the tunes are a bit weak and can get old as you level up, but over all the music is very good.

Gameplay 7: Let's start with the good. You can do things like create a pupil. You can learn the skills your pupil has. You can start off as one class and reincarnate into another class. You can set up several attacks then execute all of them at once. If you do so, you can end up getting a combo bonus to damage if everyone attacks the same enemy in a row. Finally it is possible for people directly next to the attacker to join in with the attack as long as the enemy can be targeted by single range attacks. This will result in seeing two through four pictures pop up together and a very neat looking team attack. Finally you can visit the item world to improve your items and do various things at the Dark Assembly to effect the game.

The game offers plenty of sidequests and optional stuff to do for those who are interested. Many of these can lead to different endings. You can spend hours just doing the sidequests in the game. Which can be good for those who want to play a game for a long time. Your max level can
also be extremely high. Which gives players who like goals
that take a long time to earn happy.

Now for the bad. In general the game can be tedious. No one gains any exp unless the said person kills an enemy himself or as part of a team attack. And it can take quite a bit of time to gain exp. So you may be forced to fight several battles just to get anything. This sort of kills the desire to customize members during normal gameplay as
it is much faster to just make people pure classes and level up their skills.

Many times you are forced to level up. This can annoy some and quite frankly the sidequests often seem to be case of level up your characters a lot until you can beat the boss. How much will depend on the player, but for players who do not like having to stop to level up this can easily turn them off to the game.

The Geo Panels flat out are one of the worst ideas I've ever seen. Except for a few rare cases the only strategy involved with them is destroy them. 70% of the time they are only there to help the enemy not you. It's just another obstacle and is really not much different from killing the annoying helper who keeps casting a stat increasing spell on the enemy. The game claims them as a huge part of the strategy, but I myself see them as an annoyance.

Finally the only difference between higher level versions of a class more often than not is being slightly better in leveling up a weapon and the colors of their sprite. This can feel like a rip-off to those expecting a real good variety in each class line. However this in of itself isn't that bad of a flaw. Although sometimes I think the lower level versions of classes look better.

Over all 7: In general despite its flaws, Disgaea is probably one of the better games I've played. I recommend it to anyone who does not mind still images used over animation. And I recommend it to those who have patience for a system that may require quite a bit of their time. Especially if you decide to a bunch of the sidequest.

To Rent or Buy: I'd recommend buying it, but you probably should rent it if you're not sure.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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