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That's right Nippon Ichi's SRPG series, Disgaea, follows suit of its first game and creates an expanded version of its PS2 counterpart/original Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days, as its port is aptly named, features bonus material over the original, including an expanded playable character line-up (including three of the main characters from the sequel Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice; Mao, Raspberyl and Mr. Champloo), an 'Axel Mode' storyline, more creatable monsters and more powerful versions of existing spells. Features from Disgaea 3 are also introduced, including an enhanced Magichange system, Pass & Toss and Level Spheres in the Item World. Keeping with the tradition of Disgaea PlayStation Portable re-releases (like the original Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness) Music Shops and Data Shops are available, giving the ability to purchase in-game music to play during forays into Item World. Additional content, such as the ability to create female Ronins, is unlocked by having a Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness save file on the same memory stick as the Dark Hero Days save file, as well as downloadable content
Unlike most games that feature the same title, the main protagonists from the first game do not star in this sequel, so in turn there is a completely new story in a whole new dimension. Disgaea 2 is about a young human boy named Adell, who lives in the town Veldime; a cursed town ever since the town was taken over by Overlord Zenon. The townspeople/human population are cursed to turn into demons because of the Overlord's evil Magic. However, in all of the town of Veldime, Adell is the only human unaffected by the curse. Because of this, he wants to save his family and return them back to their true form, thus beginning his quest to seek out Overlord Zenon and defeat him. Adell's mother tries to summon Zenon in an attempt so Adell can challenge him, but she fails, instead summoning Rozalin, Zenon's daughter. With the accidential summon of Zenon's daughter, Adell goes on a journey now to rescue his family, return Rozalin, and defeat Zenon.
Disgaea gameplay is divided into mainly an overworld-hub and battle gameplay. The overworld-hub is a common theme found in all Disgaea's. The hub acts generally as the "rest area" where you can advance to the next chapter (level) in the story, buy new equipment, visit the item world, go to assembly meetings and of course talk to NPC's. Compared to a normal RPG's, this SRPG does not have different towns and areas you can explore throughout the course of the game. In fact the only difference you will get upon the entering of a town is what the NPC's will say. Sometimes they give you hints about upcoming levels, sometimes they give you free items, but mostly they do nothing. A difference in Disgaea 2 compared to Disgaea (the first game) is your character is now allowed to "jump" in the hub world thus in turn allowing him to explore more and find hidden treasures in that world.
Getting new characters and visiting the assembly are a very big part of Disgaea. Like in all SRPG's you have your main characters, who come with a pre-determined class and you have the ability to hire different character classes at anytime. To create characters you must visit something called the 'Assembly', a voting system filled with demons that allow you to expand the store, unlock new areas, and of course create characters. Characters, which range from Ninjas to Archers to Mages, are created with something called Mana, which are earned by the more battles you participate in. Sometimes, going through a voting system as a normal senator is not always enough to get what you want, and like a good demon-politician you are, you also have the ability to bribe other voters to overturn their vote. The funny thing is Disgaea 2 has so many other features that I could take several pages just talking about them, making this SRPG one of the most deep and intricate of its kind.
Disgaea focuses mainly on SRPG elements with a bit of a twist in its battle gameplay. Disgaea is no different in the fact that you need to defeat every enemy, in order to complete your level with a maximum of ten characters allowed to be released. What makes Disgaea different is their usage of the Grid System. In SRPG's each team takes a turn in moving all their characters as far and as strategically possible; for example a ninja who has 6 speed, can move up to 6 squares. Attacks also follow this pattern, with normal attacks ranging in a NSEW (north, south, east, west) from where the character is standing. Special attacks are a bit different and depend on the level of the spell, not the user. See, in Disgaea you need to use your Special Attack more to make it more powerful, which in turn makes it cost more SP. Special Attacks have different ranges as a 'Blade Rush' can attack up to 5 squares in one direction, or a Mage can do a Giga Fire in either one or ten squares!
One last thing about attacking is "Team Attacks". Team Attacks can be maximized with 4 people and are only for Normal/Physical Attacks. A team attack is a special sequence that happens when characters who have a high level of Familiarity with each other, are standing next to each other when one of the characters attacks. For example, say you have Adell who is about to attack a random enemy. For this he stands next to a character he built under his Mana, his brother Hanako, and Rozalin and they all have 99% familiarity. Now, they will execute a four-person attack which will do more than a normal attack, because it has a special sequence that happens where they all attack multiple times (it varies how they attack). Another type of attack is called Combo Attacks. Combo Attacks are different from Team Attacks because it has to do with characters attacking the same enemy all in one setting, but it does not have to be a Team Attack.
Moving in Disgaea isn't always determined by speed as well, but sometimes Jump or the ability to Lift & Toss. Jump, is a character's way of getting to higher areas, because all maps are created differently. If the area is too high and you aren't a flying-creature, the only way to get up there is with your Jump stat, which counts as a normal movement stat. The idea of Lifting and Tossing is an integral part of Disgaea, because it helps you solve many puzzles placed throughout the game. You can either lift a character and toss them a certain amount of square to make them advance further or to get them over special areas that are beneficial or harmful to the player. Be warned, Lifting and Tossing counts a turn so you leave your character vulnerable to attacks.
What I meant by Special Areas, is the fact that some levels have color-coded grid areas which give good or bad stats to certain characters. These Special Areas are only like that due to Geo Symbols, which can either be destroyed or tossed to another area. Geo Symbols range from No Entry, to +50 Attack, to Double Attacks; by destroying one you can destroy the color entirely in the grid, which in turn add to your Bonus Meter (as well as Combo and Team Attacks). A bonus meter is displayed at the end of each level and gives you various and random items depending on how much you obtained.
Disgaea 2 graphics are very good especially the animation done for the beginning of the game and a bonus found later in the game. While the hubworld does a bit choppy and grainy, the game is comparable to its PS2 conuterpart and looks great on the PSP. Music is one of Disgaea's strong points, and the fact that you can visit the Music Shop to change Music in the Item World is a great feature. The soundtrack fits each level, is catchy, and is something you want to listen to throughout the entire game.
My favorite track you can listen to right here.
The replay-value in Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days is very high. The game has a New Game Plus (meaning the game has multiple endings!), like all Disgaea's, but also features an Axel Story mode, the ability to unlock more dungeon's after the game, and of course some secret characters from previous entries, who make a hilarious entrance.
Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days is a fun and another wacky entrance into Nippion Ichi's SRPG series. The game is fun, addicting, has a great story and leaves you wanting to play more and more. From all its bonus features, to gameplay or puzzle solving, this game has everything you want, especially from an SRPG standpoint. I would say the game balances fairly for all level players; the hardcore can find their hidden dungeons and work their way to level 1000 or higher while the casual can finish the game and move on to the next.