Disgaea 2
PlayStation 2
Reviewed: 08/17/2006

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness was the first game released in the US that called to Nippon Ichi Software the attention they most richly deserved. Yeah, there was this game, but the less said about it, the better. Anyways, the point is that thanks to Disgaea’s success, we now have almost more tactical RPGs than we know what to do with. And that includes the much anticipated sequel to the game that started it all, (Yeah, La Pucelle was made first, but it was localized after, so shut up.) Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories.

This time around players take control of Adell, the only uncursed human in a world where all the humans are, um, cursed. The curse is slowly turning the world’s inhabitants into demons, and erasing their memory of ever being human in the process. And so Adell has taken it upon himself to defeat the source of this curse, the nigh-invincible Overlord Zenon. However, after a botched summoning ritual, Adell is stuck with Zenon’s haughty, spoiled, and well-endowed daughter, Princess Rozalin, instead. Together, the two set off in search of Overlord Zenon. Hijinks ensue.

Screen Shot
The flute is a very popular instrument. Seriously, like half the people in this game play one.

Battles are much the same as in the original, save for a few improvements/additions. Combat is once again grid-based, much to the chagrine of circle enthusiasts everywhere. Special attacks and spells work just as before, as well. Characters gain weapon-based attacks as their skill with that weapon increases, spells increase in size and power as they level up, and so on. Geo panels also make a comeback, bringing with them a few new effects. A newcomer to this game is the Tower attack. One character can lift another character, which in turn can be lifted by another, and so on, until eventually one has a stack of up to ten characters to wreak havoc upon the masses.

Another feature fans should be delighted to see the return of is the Dark Assembly. New classes, stages, shop items, and other stuff can once again be unlocked through senate vote, aided by bribes and a few new items, such as chloroform, alcohol, and bombs, that each have various effects. And when players tire of bribery and bombing, running for senate is always an option. Senators also belong to different factions now, and influencing a single senator can sway the entire senate one way or another. Except for that White Dragon faction. They hate everyone, no matter what.

Of course, Disgaea wouldn’t be Disgaea without Item World, which has a whole bag of tricks waiting to bash players over the head, knocking them out and leaving them in the alley behind a bar with a missing kidney. Pirates, mysterious portals, and Prism Rangers are always lurking in the depths of even the most innocent looking Chocolate Bar, each providing various bonuses and items (except for the Prism Rangers. They seem to get lost a lot…). A new addition to Disgaea 2 is the judicial system. Subpoenas are issued to characters based on various “crimes” committed, such as having a high level, killing too much, or, in the case of a certain flying frog, merely existing. A dive into the Subpoena’s world is needed to find the Dark Court, however, and being found guilty of such crimes is by no means a bad thing. A number of perks come with being a felon, such a boost in experience gained and increased influence within the Dark Assembly. It’s possible to commit multiple “crimes” in order to increase the bonuses.

Screen Shot
“In retrospect,” said Prism Purple’s mother, 67, “I shouldn’t have gotten him that baton for his birthday…”

Visually, things haven’t changed much. The graphics are nearly identical to those found in the original, as well as nearly every other NIS game. This isn’t always a bad thing, mind, but players who are turned off by anything short of three dimensions would be well advised to look elsewhere. The music is also much the same style as its predecessor, but there were quite a number of tracks that I managed to never get sick of. The voice acting is also a step up, with almost no awkward-sounding characters.

Overall, Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories fails to disappoint. It provides an experience very similar to the original, while still deviating enough to feel, if not fresh, at least not old. New characters (including the incorrigible talking pimple), the return of some old ones (including the precocious Prinny Squad), and a deluge of other nifty additions combine to make a hodgepodge mess of awesome. There’s even a whole alternate universe, with a sun. An evil sun. How’s that for fancy?

-Quinton Alexander

Score Breakdown
Very Good
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Excellent
Story Great
Graphics Below Average
Sound/Music Good
Replay Value Very Good
The Verdict: 7