Review by onyxvenom

Reviewed: 07/20/04

Disgaea leaves a mediocre mark on the tactical rpg legacy

Disgaea, is, in a word, unique. It is a fantasy-stype tactical game with rpg elements, much like Final Fantasy Tactics. In fact, almost too much like it. As a whole, Disgaea is fun initially, but becomes very monotonous in the end, with it's playability artificially expanded by what I like to call "purdy large numbers". More on that later. On to the Review!

Graphics:
The game's graphics are largely unspectacular. Screen shots are colorful and bold, yet the game takes little to no advantage of the playstation 2's rare hardware power. Set isometrically from a bird's eye view, (exactly like FFT) the graphics even seem at a Playstation 1 level. The battle animations are initially impressive, but the fact is that they are the only thing that impresses. Competing with such graphical master pieces as the Final Fantasy Series on the Playstation 2, the game disapoints and fails to set individuals into any alternate world, which is one of the main purposes of the game.

Score: 3/10

Story:
The story, is half-baked at best. You are the son of the Netherworld's overlord, who died by consuming a black pretzel. Your quest is to become the overlord, aided by a dimwitted angel trainee, as well as a back stabbing vassal. Sounds Out There? It Is. The charm of the story definitely lies in its humor, which no doubt many will appreciate their first time through. The story itself is however very childish, and for the most part, extrememly linear. Contrasting this is the game's dreaded sexual inuendos, such as Laharl's weakness to big breasted women and the dreaded item "horse wiener". At first they are worth a laugh, but in the end, they just seem grossly out of place in the bubblegum ho-hum story.

Score:2/10

Gameplay:
One would expect gameplay to be the game's strongest point, but even here, Disgaea clearly disapoints. Your basic classes exist, such as mages, warriors and the like. You fight battle, and there are several ways to defeat enemies, such as by magic or attack techniques. There are 5 weapons, including axes, swords, spears, fists and bows, that, depending on your mastery level, give you special attacks that you can pound the enemy with. Alternately, you can lift characters up and propell them to the other side of the gaming board in a single turn. There are also such novelties as geostones, which, depending on their placement and coloring, can hamper or aid your game progress. However novel these ideas seem, they become old very quickly. You are stuck in a castle the whole game, and have little freedom in exploration. The game itself is fairly short, with 13 chapters, each with about 4 game tables. You can however enter items to power them up, or lobby the dark assembly to pass bills. The item world is repetitive, and is more of a nuisence. Added to this is the bizzare statistics the game presents. You can reach level 9999 in the game, and have several million points in your vital stats such as atttack, defense and the like. The problem for this is that reaching said level takes incredibly long, yielding little reward and is simply a way of extending gameplay a la Diablo II, going through the same game with slighly stronger enemies and more numbers.

Score: 4/10

Sound/Music:
The Music of the game is cooky, and bizarre, fitting the game's story and overall appearance well. There are only few tracks, and several become repetitive soon, but they are well-spread across the game and a few are slightly memorable. The sound however is anything but memorable, with individual characters shouting off the same attack line every single time. Several people even chose to avoid certain character classes because their voices are so incredibly aggravating.

Score: 4/10

Overall: Disgaea follows in Final Fantasy Tactic's foot steps, and includes several novel game features. However, the gameplay is dry, graphics are certainly unimpressive, and the game simply gets old fast. I'm not saying the game will not appeal to anyone, but overall, will yield little long-term interest from most players. The truth is that much of the gameplay is stretched out by mindless and repetitive tasks. Leveling up items is fun initially, but having to go through 100's of levels just for each item is ridiculous. The high numbers of the game yield little long-term value, and become more of a nuisance and unbalance the game immensely.

Speaking of unbalance, a word should be said also about character classes. Initial classes become obsolete at the advent of such classes as the ninja and also the majins. While the game features an element called transmigration, where one can take a character class and change it into a new one, the problem is that the new charcter starts off at level 1, with up to 95% of the stats of the previous class. A respectactable concept, however, the problem is that it is neither needed nor advantageous through most of the game. In fact, leveling can become a drug, where one most endure the same map and enemies ad nauseum just to become strong enough for the next map.

Thank you for reading this review.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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