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.

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8Out of 10
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It's not a looker, but it's incredibly deep.
It's not a looker, but it's incredibly deep.

It's not a looker, but it's incredibly deep.

If you suspect that you might be what the games industry has affectionately labelled a 'casual gamer', stop reading; I'm afraid this game just isn't for you. A frightening combination of statistics, attributes and menu screens glued together with anime visuals and a ludicrous narrative make the Disgaea series very much exclusive to the core club. Still reading? Good, then like me you're a fan of niche Japanese titles, and can handle the complexities of a deep and intricate role playing experience. Dark Hero Days is the PSP remake of Disgaea 2 which hit the Playstation 2 back in 2006, complete with all new missions and features brought over from Disgaea 3.

The game takes place in the once prosperous world of Veldime, where a powerful Overlord by the name of Zenon appeared and placed a curse on the entire human population, gradually consuming their consciousness and turning them into demons. The only person left unaffected by the curse is a young man named Adell, who promises to find Zenon and defeat him in order to save his family. Using a powerful summoning spell, Adell's mother attempts to summon Zenon, but ends up summoning his cherished daughter Rozalin instead. Alongside the spoilt Rozalin, Adell and his rag tag army embark on a quest to find Zenon, and lift the curse.

Those that have played a Disgaea game before, PSP or otherwise, will know exactly what to expect from Dark Hero Days, which rigidly follows the formula set by its predecessors. Missions are undertaken from a central hub, which in the case of Disgaea 2 takes the form of Adell's hometown, Holt. From this hub players can manage and arrange their army, create new characters in the Dark Assembly, shop for better equipment and heal their dishevelled characters at the Netherworld Hospital. The hub is your board room, strategy office and headquarters all rolled into one.

The main bulk of the gameplay, however, takes place on the battlefield: an isometric grid where characters can be moved around like little animated chess pieces. The player takes it in turns with the enemy to dish out commands with the intention of defeating the opposition. Simple enough in theory, but the game offers such a vast array of strategic options that things can quickly get confusing. Each character has a move range, which determines how far they can move around the grid. Once positioned within appropriate range of an enemy, the character can use magic, a special attack, items, lift or throw an enemy or ally, defend or simply attack. In addition to this, characters can team up for joint attacks, and objects known as geo symbols affect the properties of the environment itself. The scope for strategy is consequently immense, and each mission can be approached in numerous ways.

Your army starts off with a modest five members: Adell, Rozalin, a warrior, a magician and a Cleric (read: healer). The Dark Assembly gives players the option to expand by creating characters from a further fourteen classes. Only some of these are available from the start, with new classes unlocked by meeting certain requirements. The Ninja class, for example, requires level five Sword and Fist mastery, whilst unlocking the Beastmaster requires that you capture a monster. Each class has six sub classes that improve on base stats and aptitude (how well statistics improve with each level), and each character can be levelled to a staggering 9999 - for anybody with that kind of time on their hands.

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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
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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: 354 62
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