Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness review
After ten years of waiting. Nippon Ichi Software have brought back Laharl, Etna and Flonne from the first Disgaea game, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, for Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness, a direct sequel to their previous game. Disgaea D2 picks up where the first game left off. Laharl is the new Overlord of the Netherworld, Etna is still his vassal and Flonne is still a fallen angel.
The game’s story is split into two parts. The first part is focused on the fact that many demons still don’t accept Laharl as the new Overlord and when Laharl decides to have Etna and her Prinny squad place statues of himself around the Netherworld, demons that were loyal to his father, King Krichevskoy are outrages with them believing Laharl is not fit for the throne. The second part of the story is that Yuie flowers, a flower which only grows in Celestia, the home of angels, are beginning to grow in the Netherworld.
What makes the story interesting is how it plays out. The game is split into ten episodes, each episode have their own story which links in with the main story. Many of the episodes have comedic elements to them for example you meet Sicily, Laharl’s supposed sister who is an angel for the first time after she posted herself to Laharl’s castle and Laharl being transformed into a woman.
Combat in Disgaea D2 is a bit hit or miss. Fans of series will enjoy it as it feels familiar while newcomers might not like the fact that combat requires a large amount of level grinding. Combat in the game takes place on stages, a battle map where you and your team face off against a number of enemies.
When playing through the game, I found the greatest challenge in combat were the stages themselves. The reason why I say the stages are the greatest challenge is because of how they are laid out and the effect tiles which litter nearly every stage. These effect tiles which are created by geo symbols create various effects which can either hamper or help you in combat. Some effects include swapping hp/sp, increasing/decreasing stats, no entry and invincibility. Due to these geo symbols and tiles I was finding myself using strategy while in combat, trying to find what was the most effective way of winning the battle or the quickest way to get rid of a geo symbol that was causing me trouble.
Combat itself is pretty straight forward turn based combat. You can bring out your characters and move X number of spaces on the stage and attack, use a special skill, lift an ally/enemy or defend. Once you have everything setup you execute your moves and end your turn.
While combat is fun and requires strategy there is a turnoff in the form of grinding. If you want to do well in the game you better be prepared to grind a few levels in the “item world”. Grinding can be a very time consuming experience especially when you want to level up a newly created character from level one.
I would also like to point out that there is no major failure state in combat. If all your party members die you are simply transported back to the castle where you have to heal your fallen allies.
One of the most notable features of Disgaea D2 is the ability to create characters that fight alongside the main characters. Character creation allows you to create a wide variety of both humans and monsters. If you think your team would benefit from more healers you can make a healer or if you think you need do more damage you can make a melee or ranged damage class. As you play through the game you do unlock new characters to make, so if there is one specific human or monster you want you will have to play through the game until you defeat it in battle.
While there are a large number of characters, there isn’t a lot of customisation on the character you pick. You have male/female options for human characters and a choice of 4 colours. There are other options that are mainly for fighting which include capability, weapon mastery and personality, but these are mostly for how your character performs in combat. For example the thief character has a personality which makes a treasure chest appear every time she kills an enemy.
There are two other main features in the game which are called: Dark Assembly and cheat shop. In Dark Assembly you call the senate in an attempt to add bonuses or put more powerful items in the shop. To get your way you need to force senators to back you by bribing or putting opposing senators to sleep so they don’t vote. In the cheat shop you can adjust the rewards you get in battle. You can increase the amount of experience you gain, but do this you need to lower another option which might be the amount of HL (money) you get. Cheat shop is a nice feature and effective for when you need to power level.
The characters in Disgaea D2 are the most enjoyable part of the game as they are a source of the games comedy. The traits of the main three are similar to the traits they showed in the first game. Laharl is full of himself and can’t understand why other demons won’t accept him as Overlord, Etna is condescending to Laharl with her openly disagreeing with him in front of his enemies, and Flonne still acts like an angel who believes in love even though she is now a fallen angel. The way the three main characters play of each other in the game is brilliant and shows just how well the game was written. You see this in action right from the start when both Laharl and Etna accidently destroying Flonne’s garden.
The new characters are just as interesting with Sicily being just as good as the other three, from her not knowing how demons think to how she tries to become overlord by attempting to trade the tile for cookies. This leads to one of favourite Flonne lines “Being the overlord or cookies… Hmm… That’s a tough decision, isn’t it?”
For those wondering about how game sounds in English, the English dub is solid with all the voice actors doing a great job of hitting the comedic tone of the game.
In terms of technical issues, the game only has one major issue that is the game did cause my PlayStation 3 to lock up on three occasions. The issues happened during a special attack cutscene. NIS America did provide me with a temporary solution and they have stated they are looking at fixing the issue. This issue didn’t overly damage my experience of the game.
Disgaea D2 is an enjoyable game with challenging strategic combat and comedy focused script. Fans of franchise will have no problem enjoying this game, but non fans might be put off by the amount of grinding the game requires.
Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness Information
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America (Europe and North America)
Genre: Strategy RPG
Platform: PlayStation 3
Length: 30+ hours
Release date: out now
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.