Developer Nippon Ichi (creator of Phantom Brave, Makai Kingdom, and La Pucelle: Tactics) strikes yet again, promising a sequel to the huge cult hit, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. We use the term “huge” loosely here, since it really was only popular in certain circles. The highly-anticipated (though still relatively obscure) sequel, Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories promises some key improvements to one of the games that helped revive the Tactical RPG genre.
The new and old features will unite in Disgaea 2, rearing a cast filled with old favorite, yet is still going to feature some cameo appearances (Etna is a definite shoo-in, reprising a main character role, but that doesn’t mean Laharl, Flonne, are being left out!). NIS claims Disgaea has retained all of the depth, charm, and tactical ingenuity that made it so devilishly enjoyable the first time around, retaining the demon-based comedy of the original. The deviously-dark human presented in Hour of Darkness survives, becoming an even more integral part of the game with the arrival of the Dark Court. Under the Gavel’s guidance, players are encouraged to perform their most dastardly deeds yet, by being rewarded for their evil actions. If you don’t live up to what you boast to be, you may be called to court and be shamed for being found innocent. Other, less-fun, crimes are focused on stat-based offenses, and other charges such as having too many male or female students, killing too many enemies/allies, and too high of a weapon mastery. The Dark Assembly is back in session as well, so players can make their bids on special game conditions. But don’t count on bribery bailing you out all the time. Assembly members may show up inebriated (and since they’re under the influence, they won’t listen to your influence), or just sleep through the whole session. Be wary, however; Disgaea’s dangers stem from it’s “anything can happen” system of gameplay, so don’t count out loads of random surprises.
Nippon Ichi kept their ears to the ground for player feedback and have delivered, promising a new 3D environment complete with animated sprites and anime cutscenes. Players will also be able to continue the practice of picking up, stacking and tossing party members, with the improvement of being able to combine stacked characters’ abilities to launch devastating attack combos (but characters are unable to use magic or other abilities, keeping things balanced). While these “Towers” are a highly effective strategy that allow for varying mobility, especially since they can be thrown, and are a juggernaut when on the offensive, using them too often can get you declared a coward, a punishable offense in the Dark Court. The “Catch” command has also been added, allowing players to heave items across the board to another party member that isn’t holding anything, similar to that of Phantom Brave. Puzzle fans can rejoice, as well, since the geopanels emerge in battle yet again, but this time around, monsters can tote them around and drop them in new places in efforts to trip your party up. Lastly, the technological advanced have reached the Netherworld, as party members gain the ability to call in help—be it a powerful ally, the Dark Court, or even pizza—via cell phone. The summons doesn’t work immediately, and the player may have to sit tight for a few turns but it’s another unique concept nonetheless.
As an added bonus to the game, Nippon Ichi Software of America will be releasing a stuffed, cuddly version of the perfectly blow-up-able Prinny (the exploding penguins from the original Disgaea) to their online store on November 11. The plush will stand in at about 8.5 inches tall and be equipped with a usable, detachable pouch that Prinnies like to keep knives and other sorts of fun weapons in during the game. Pictures of the plushy are available from NIS America.
Disgaea 2 is slated to hit stores August, later this year. Check back here at Mygamer for a full review later this year.