Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days

Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days Review for PSP

On: PSPPS2

The PSP version adds all new story chapters with a new main character, Axel, adding even more replay value to the already feature-packed title.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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Novices beware: this is an acquired taste.
Novices beware: this is an acquired taste.

Novices beware: this is an acquired taste.

If this wasn't enough, each and every item in the game, from chewing gum to swords, can be levelled by entering the object through the Item World. Here, randomly generated floors make up each level of the dungeon, and for every floor cleared the item's level increases by one. It's a lengthy procedure, but the payoffs can be huge. A new feature of the sequel also allows characters to receive felonies – considered a great honour in the demon world – which have numerous benefits to a character's development. Ultimately, Disgaea boils down to creating the perfect army, and this takes a very long time. It's a deep, deep game, with endless character development and near infinite replayability.

The script is as sharp and witty as always, with comical dialogue and frequent non-diegetic comments that really speak to the core audience. When Adell and his cronies enter a particularly dangerous area known as the Murderer's Vault for example, a schizophrenic, French speaking frog by the name of Tink (who is just as entertaining as his description would allude to) cautiously remarks that 'monsters of level 100 can be found in the area!'. Another time, a character asks Adell why he is human, suggesting that it's because "he's the main character". Like the original, Dark Hero Days will have players laughing out loud, if not at the gags, then the sheer bizarreness of it all.

Despite the great dialogue and humour, the overall plot lives in the shadow of both Disgaea and Disgaea 3, possibly as a result of a sub-par protagonist. Where the original Disgaea's Prince Laharl was obnoxious, rude and arrogant in the best possible way, Adell suffers from "clichéd RPG hero syndrome", an unfortunate disease that makes him spurt pretentious nonsense about truth, trust and justice every five seconds. He carries the narrative competently enough, but lacks a certain pizazz that the anti-heroes of Disgaea 1 and 3 bring to the table. Fans will be pleased to see the return of the scantily clad demon Etna, however, who brings a much needed injection of "badass" to the often overly sentimental plot.

Niggling narrative gripes aside, Dark Hero Days is still the definitive Disgaea 2 experience, and improves on the original in several significant ways. Firstly, the game includes all new Axel chapters, which follow the fading celebrity Axel's ongoing disagreement with his director. The core gameplay has also been improved with the addition of Disgaea 3's Magichange mechanic, which allows ally monsters to be turned into ranged weapons. As well as all this – and pointing out the slightly obvious – the game is portable, and the quaint 2D visuals have never looked better than on the PSP's widescreen.

Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days sees the unashamedly hardcore strategy game return to the PSP in style. Fans of the original might be distressed to discover recycled character sprites, attack animations and music, but the experience never feels stale. Those that have played Disgaea 2 on the PS2 a few years back might be enticed by the new Axel chapters, and the Disgaea 3 mechanics spruce up the strategy nicely. For newcomers to the series, Dark Hero Days is as good a starting point as any; offering the most comprehensive Disgaea experience to date. Whatever category you happen to fall into, though, be prepared to sacrifice all of your free time; Dark Hero Days is a bottomless pit of gameplay that will command your attention from start to finish.

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Kid_Niki's Avatar

Kid_Niki

Hard core game's will love this SRPG , i have it and it's long tricky (not hard) and loads of fun , first off the magichange is sweet and heres a tip cheat and play axel mode first , this will let you play adel mode with magichange, since you have one play thu you'll be unlocking hidden stuff right off and since axel mode is only 4 stages its fast and easy p.s dont leave axel holding anything before the final fight with laharl and others like pirate maps because you wont get them in the play over , any way it took me days of play to unlock everything not cuz its hard just cuz this game is long and will have final fantasy SRPG fans thinking twice , the DLC's on the PSN are worth the 2.99 plus two of the Best DLC's are free , this is a must play for hard core gamers and the jokes about hardcore gamers is soo funny ("champloo") this game is soo good i bought my first gamer shirt "prinny squad" and im 30.. you must play this game its epic...
Posted 22:08 on 19 February 2010
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ SexyJams

In concept yes, you can play it as simply or as complicated as you feel comfortable. But you're obviously reward accordingly.
Posted 16:24 on 28 January 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Almost like Bayonetta's combat system then?
Posted 15:53 on 28 January 2010
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

It's not really complicated, you've got a character(s), you jump in a dungeon, you've got Vandal Hearts-esque gameplay where you're set up on a 'board of tiles' and then move your party members accordingly and unleash attacks you've unlocked by levelling them up.

Therein lies your depth, e.g. Prinnys can pick each other up and throw each other so can move more squares than just one Prinny can, other characters have AoE attacks that hit a certain pattern/number of squares, and you can build your party out of lots of different character 'types', some good up front, others good at casting etc.

Then there's even more depth in that if you get an item, e.g. Short Sword, it has its own Item Dungeon which, if you work though it, adds stats to your sword to turn if from, say, a regular Short Sword with +3 Atk into a Yoshisuna which boosts almost all your stats by thousands.
Posted 15:53 on 28 January 2010
IndoorHeroes's Avatar

IndoorHeroes

Mmmm this cup of tea is quite delicious!
Posted 15:46 on 28 January 2010
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ SexyJams

It's entirely possible to ignore most of the levels of complexity and just play the game like you would, say, FFTactics. But the complexity is there if you want it.

You never ever have to go into the item world after the introduction to it. You can almost ignore geo panels or at least the more complex mechanics around them. You can ignore the Dark Assembly and never Reincarnate any of your characters or attempt to pass any promotion exams. The levels of complexity are entirely under your control.
Posted 15:46 on 28 January 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Yeah I'm with IndoorHeroes, it sounds extremely complicated.
Almost unapproachable.
Posted 15:30 on 28 January 2010
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

It didn't mention Prinnys either, that's almost like not mentioning Lara in a Tomb Raider review. All is forgiven as Etna got a mention and I thought the warnings about 9999 level caps and Item Levelling gave a fair expectation of the gameplay that is expected here.

I also learned what non-diegetic meant.

As a Disgaea fan, I'm happy enough with Hour of Darkness and Cursed Memories (Disgaea 1 and 2) on my PS2. Strangely, I haven't finished either :) And as a Disgaea fan, I can't recommend this highly enough if you've got a PSP and like hardcore tactical sprite-based grinding, simply because it has Disgaea in the title.
Posted 15:13 on 28 January 2010
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ IndoorHeroes

The review didn't even mention half of the strategy involved in Disgaea, glossed firmly over how geo panels work which in itself is virtually it's own game within a game. Or that the item world contains specialists that you have to defeat to increase the stats of the item at which point you can move the specialists between items to create more powerful stuff.

It truly is masterful.
Posted 14:20 on 28 January 2010
IndoorHeroes's Avatar

IndoorHeroes

Sounds bloody complicated. Looks like my PUSP is destined for another week of dust collecting paper weight duty.
Posted 14:12 on 28 January 2010
Endless's Avatar

Endless

Whenever i see a review of a Disgaea (or any nippon ichi) game i can't help but chuckle at how much an explanation of the gameplay depth must boggle the minds of someone new to the series. hehe.
Posted 14:01 on 28 January 2010

Game Stats

Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days
8
Out of 10
Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days
  • Deep and infinitely playable
  • Humorous plot and great dialogue
  • Might be intimidating to first-timers
  • Recycled graphics and sound
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 05/02/2010
Platforms: PSP , PS2
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Publisher: Koei
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 300 1
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