Review by PhantasyHUmar
"A terrific sequel and a terrific game in it's own right."
Now, everyone knows that sequels are always harder than the original. If the sequel is the same thing, it's not good, because it's nothing new. So, a lot of game companies go in a completely different direction and end up changing the entire game. (A good example of this is the Jak and Daxter series. Jak 2 was such a different game from the original, it barely felt like a sequel.) Disgaea 2 is Nippon Ichi's first sequel, and I can faithfully say they did it well.
Gameplay - 10/10
Gameplay is what makes the game what it is, so we'll start here. The gameplay in Disgaea 2 is wonderful. They scrapped the free-movement system seen in Phantom Brave and Makai Kingdom, and brought back the grid, and I welcome it. The grid brings the gameplay together well. It makes lining up attacks easier, it looks and feels cleaner, and it makes moving around simpler. Most of the gameplay, in fact, feels like Disgaea. Still, there are enough changes to merit the 50 dollar price tag. One of the changes I love is in the Dark Assembly. They gave it a pretty decent overhaul, and gave it more details, without making it so intricate you stray away in fear. You get mana the same way you did in Disgaea, and you pass bills similarly. They upgraded the voting system, though. Apart from just bribing and having them vote, you can use different strategies, from calling senators up before the voting to sway their votes or having them be drunk or asleep. Drunkenness makes them lose focus and not always vote how they would, (someone with "Total Opposition" may vote "Aye," despite their hatred of you) while sleeping senator's votes aren't counted. Apart from the voting, you can pass bills to unlock classes, and even have the main character, Adell, become a senator himself. The battles play out similarly, but there are more classes, skills, geo effects, etc. The stats can still reach absurdly high numbers and you can still level up items. Specialists have new varieties, including multiple-stat specialists, such as the "sniper" (ATK and HIT). There seem to be more levels, and there's even a new world of sorts, changing all the levels to make them even more challenging. There's so much to name, but I don't want to risk an even bigger wall of text, so just keep in mind that this isn't even everything.
Story - 8/10
The story's premise is that your world's humans have been changed into demons by an Overlord named "Zenon." When your mother attempts to summon him, his daughter is mistakenly summoned. Your character, Adell, promises to take her to her father (and says he will destroy him), but she has other plans. She's luring him into a trap to kill him. After a ton of sentimental stuff, she starts forming a conscience and then the story takes a ton of twists. It's good, and it's got a good amount of jokes, so you should enjoy it. Also, it doesn't follow up the original Disgaea in a way that you need to have played it to understand the story, so even people new to the series can understand and enjoy the story.
Graphics - 9/10
The graphics in the game are sprite-based, despite being a 3D game, similarly to other Nippon Ichi games. The sprites seem the be crisper and more well done than in previous games. They also have beautiful CG mugshots and still images for conversations, etc. However, if you feel 3D models effect gameplay in some way, this game isn't for you. If you have an open mind, you should enjoy the graphics, they are well done.
Sound - 9/10
Not all that much to say here. There are some good songs, the sounds seem to fit and the voice acting, for the most part, won't make your ears bleed, not even english dubbed version. (No Canary here :D)
Considering I still play Disgaea and I got it in early '04, I can tell you for sure these games have terrific replay value. There's never a point where you're 'done,' so you can just keep going, unless you manage to get bored. If power-levelling isn't your thing then maybe you won't get two years out of the game, but at the very least, 125 hours.
Overall, Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories is both a terrific sequel for veteran Disgaea players and a great game for new players, and the game has no dependence on you having played the first game. It has great gameplay, graphics, a good storyline, and it'll keep you busy for quite a while. I give the game a 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/01/06
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