Disgaea 2 (Import)
PlayStation 2
Reviewed: 06/19/2006

Three years after its release, the game that put Nippon Ichi on the map has been given sequel treatment. Upon playing Disgaea 2, those who loved the original are sure to be just as delighted this time around as they were when they first handled Disgaea.

After an entertaining intro anime lets players see the characters, the game begins telling a story centered around a new main character, Adel. Zenon, the local overlord, has cursed Adel’s land, turning everyone into demonlike creatures (his zombie dad and three-eyed mom, for example) except for our hero. When Adel’s mom tries to magically summon Zenon to what would presumably become a festive pistol whipping, she ends up getting his hot daughter, Rosalyn. Good deal for Adel, but this does nothing to remove the curse on his hood, so he and Rosalyn set out to find Zenon themselves.

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“Beech! I am not feeling sick right now, but if I am later, you will go to the store and get me some NyQuil!”

On their way, they’ll encounter many familiar faces from the original Disgaea as well as a host of new and equally loveable characters. Much of the first game’s lovability came from its wacky characters and interesting presentation, and Disgaea 2 keeps the tradition very much alive. The storytelling is just as entertaining, and the style is totally NIS signature. Disgaea 2 is a true story sequel, and players will find out which was the real ending to Disgaea.

Veterens of the first title will feel right at home with Disgaea 2‘s battle system, as it’s almost exactly the same. There are some great additions, though, that make Disgaea 2 welcomingly familiar, yet give it a bit of freshening up. The best improvement could actually be viewed as a “fix” from the original’s system, because this time around, if players set up a complex combo attack that kills the enemy before everyone has attacked, the characters that have not acted will get their actions back, rather than be stuck doing nothing for the round, as was the case previously. As one example of a new battle feature, when in a stack, it’s now possible to perform new combos with every team member in said stack, which look cool and provide good damage.

Things outside battle make up even bigger modifications. The Dark Assembly has returned and now has more features, including a court system. With this, a character might be accused of a crime and have to appear in court. Countless parents are proven wrong here, because if found guilty, rewards are in store, since crime does pay. Conversely, if found not guilty, punishement awaits, which could include being turned into a prinny for a time. New things players can do with the council itself include getting them drugged up and even joining the council. How’s that for awesome?

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Adel is faced with the inhuman task of getting his mack on while ridding his hood of rival gangstas. Represent.

The Item World is back, and packing a new threat: powerful friggin’ pirates. If by chance the Adel and company come across these theives, much more than friendly swashbuckling will ensue; they’ll be thrashed and their stuff will be ganked. What sucks this time around is that people who didn’t completely dig the Item World the first time will be somewhat more forced to go through more of it in Disgaea 2. Want more convictions in court, for example? Great, go obtain a certain level in the Item World first. Advertisers and such will surely say things like “look at all these gameplay hours,” when this game hits the states, but don’t be fooled; a lot of it is just fluff and forced Item World time. Adding some replay value are the game’s multiple endings (like 10 of them) and optional bosses.

Graphics and music are fine, and the game very much looks and sounds like its elder. Many music tracks and sound effects from the original were recycled, and sprites are once again the name of the game in terms of visuals. With so much of it taking place outdoors this time, the game seems more colorful now. Artwork for each character is splendid, and the Japanese voice cast does a great job.

Disgaea 2 is a very worthy sequel, and does about everything one could expect from a second effort. Fans of the first will love it, while those who were turned off should stay that way. It tells a new story while still preserving the style of the beloved original, brings back favorite characters while avoiding total fanservice, makes an old battle system more attractive with new features, and overall delivers a very satisfying experience. Time wasted in the Item world does hurt for those who didn’t fall in love with it the first time, but that flaw is pretty well overshadowed by the game’s strengths.

-Heath Hindman

Score Breakdown
Very Good
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Great
Story Very Good
Graphics Below Average
Sound/Music Average
Replay Value Very Good
The Verdict: Very Good