Review by Neophoton
"Sequels don't always do better..."
but this one does! The wonderful and deranged world of Disgaea returns for another smash hit in the SRPG genre. Loaded with tons of extra content, I'm pretty certain you won't be setting this game down for quite some time.
Everything is settled in Laharl's story (sorry kids), but there's a running muck in another world known as Veldime. Overlord Zenon is spreading his curse around Veldime, slowly turning humans into monsters. Although he's turned all into monsters, he's missed but one
You take the role of Adell, the sole human in Veldime. Unlike Laharl, he's a tad more for honor and promises. After assisting Adell's mother in a summoning ritual, you find yourself with not Zenon, but his arrogant daughter Rozalin. Due to the contract in summoning rituals, the two are bound together, much to each other's dismay.
Rozalin finds herself with foiled attempts to kill Adell in order to break the contract, even dragging her friend in the scheme. However, she struggles to successfully kill the sole human, eventually forgetting her schemes altogether and working with the necktie-boy.
All while that's happening, Etna from the first Disgaea, decides to quit her job as Laharl's vassal and has plans of her own. Much like Overlords wanting to off Zenon for his title, Etna wishes to change from her title of Demon Lord (well, she hacked the system to change it to Beauty Queen, to be exact ) to said title of God of All Overlords to outdo Laharl in spite.
It's not an over-the-top plot, but enough to keep a player interested. I felt the first one kept the plot a tad more interesting due to all the people demanding to get the title of Overlord, but then this title doesn't involve the entire cast of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. The plot for Cursed Memories is enough to get you by.
Disgaea was never known for its graphics, but then they were pretty nice to begin with. Sure, the backgrounds in 3D look like PSone era graphics, but then it's an SRPG. The sprite work is where it truly shines.
All sprites have very nice detail, graced with wonderful colors and shadings. If zoomed in, you can see they spent a lot of time on the character sprites. They're all topped with a little animation, quite nice if I do say so myself.
While some sprites were ports from the first Disgaea, depending on what class you're referring too, they were touched up as well. You'd think they would be lazy, but well, they weren't. How nice!
Music-wise, the game kept me addicted. Ever the type to leave your game running just to listen to some of the music? Don't feel bad, you'll be expected to do it for Disgaea 2. It's rather normal, I guess
Some tracks derive from the first game, but majority is fresh and waiting to grace your ears. From Sinful Rose, the opening theme, to the ending theme! It's all there to charm you, so enjoy it during the ride. ;) I personally enjoyed some of the battle themes, namely Spread Your Wings and Overdriver.
As far as the English cast goes, it could be mixed opinions. Some claim Adell and Co. have horrible voices, others state they're fine. I rather liked the English cast, although some lines were acted out a tad poorly on Adell's part along with a few other characters.
Japanese cast is alright as well, I loved Midorikawa's performance for his role on Adell but still tilt my head for Tink's voice. Cute frog, but his silly French accent is where it's at for him. The rest of the characters sound nice in both languages.
Sound effects for attacks are excellent, you get your bullets zipping and your pretty explosions when you toss a Prinny or twenty. It's all there, no errors in it.
Disgaea 2 is superior to the first one in pretty much every way in terms of control, although the other aspects, you can debate
Everything that was wrong in Hour of Darkness was pretty much fixed for Cursed Memories. Ever finished off an enemy in a combo too soon and didn't need as many units as planned? No problem, you can recall them back and set them up for a different plan, as opposed to HoD's flaw where if you finish off the enemy before your other units get to attacking, they can't be called back. Talk about a wasted turn for a unit, eh?
The battle system flows overall much faster. You'll find yourself quickly eliminating enemies at a very quick rate and the maps don't feel tedious unlike the first game.
And another field Cursed Memories beats Hour of Darkness.
This time around, there isn't as many tricks to level grinding like before. True, you had the early-on Nekomata trick, but it was tedious and only offered a few levels in the end result, rather than the 3x3 grid to leveling from 50 to 100 in a matter of an hour.
The geo puzzles in Disgaea 2 proved to be slightly more difficult, and are what offer more difficulty compared to the first game. The geo panels offer such things like enemy buffs, ally damage, and fusion. It's mainly the ally damage that bites you in the rear, trust me.
Disgaea 2 was a bundle of joy; it offers some interesting characters that are quite memorable. Sure, they weren't like the original trio, but then the story in Disgaea 2 had a slightly more serious tone for the characters to work with. However, I'll admit it didn't quite as many laughs as the first one did. It's alright, though, Axel brings in a good number of laughs of his own to make up for some of it.
The multiple endings give you something to see over and over. If you've been a good little boy (or girl, in my case), you'll get the good ending. Heh, quite a cute ending, I must say. But then you could be graced with the bad ending and that's well, rather a scary ending.
Replay Value: 10/10
Compared to other NIS titles, Disgaea 2 offers the most extra features and gives you a reason to keep clocking on hours. Even when finishing the story, you'll find yourself coming back for more. The game offers unlockable maps that offer some extra tidbits of story, usually regarding details on some characters (specifically, Adell) and even allows you to unlock some extra units. Laharl and Flonne, anyone? Sounds good to me.
Even if you aren't the type to level up to a much higher level to complete the extra maps, it doesn't hurt to play the game through a second time around, as you keep your levels and equipment.
Rent or buy? I would advise to purchase it. There is just simply too much time invested in the game to have it completed in rental time, as power leveling is pretty much Disgaea's thing, and there's loads of extra content to mess around with.
Besides, it's a NIS title; I seriously doubt you'll find it for rent.
Disgaea 2 is a wonderful title that offers so much. You'll have your lovable characters, pretty nice-stable story to look forward to, pretty humorous (Disgaea 2 deserves the award for best item descriptions seriously) overall It's just simply worth the $40.
Being already aware of the Japanese release for Disgaea 3, I surely can't wait for it and any improvements made over Disgaea 2, just a shame there's no cameos for Adell and like (well aside from Axel ). I'll just need to work on getting a PS3, now Hopefully, anyways.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/26/08, Updated 09/04/09
Game Release: Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories (US, 08/29/06)
Got Your Own Opinion?
Submit a review and let your voice be heard.