I'm a 20 Year old gamer. I started gaming on the PC back in 94-96ish and before that I just watched my brother. My first gaming love was Jill of the Jungle, a great platformer title from the now Über popular Epic (Megagames) thanks to Gears of war. Since then I've moved on to game on any device and every device that will play games. I'm fairly open about genre, I usually prefer single-player or co-op rather then competitive, that may be because i have ADD and never play a game hardcore more then a week before I move on to my next obsession. I try to be as knowledgeable about gaming as I can, and daily read IGN and of coarse the best gaming site ever, Destructiod!
So, my girlfriend was leaving for a week long cruise with her family, and I was leaving for my own vacation before she returned making our time apart over two weeks. In order to dull the pain we decided before she left to play Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness on PSP while we were apart so we could be doing something similar. I was interested in the game because of the strategic appeal and the favorable reviews I had read, she just thinks the costumes are cute =_=, but hey as long as my girlfriend plays games I don't care what the motivation behind it is.
For those of you who don't know Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness is a PSP re-make of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness a PS2 game. The game itself is a turn based strategy RPG. I've played others in this genre before, but Disgaea is different.
So what would be the most important factor in a strategy game? Well, options of course! The feeling that you have total control of what’s going on and that you can take an absolutely unique approach to every battle that no one else has taken before. This is where Disgaea shines; it boasts depth that would make the Mariana Trench seem like a kiddy pool. You start off with two human characters and 3 prinnies (they look like beanbag sewn together penguins). After that your party will instantly vary from everyone else who plays the game. You can choose to fight with those 5 characters or create as many generic human/monster characters to join your party as you have enough mana for. The game lets you bring up to 10 characters into any one battle, and gives you the option to switch those 10 out if you choose as well. The greatest use of 10 characters in one battle, is to launch one person to the other side of a huge map. That’s right you can stack 10 people on top of each other and proceed to throw a tower of characters across the map so that you can get people to exactly where you want them.
Another element of strategy that shines is the Geo-paneling system. In short it’s this. Some (or all) of the tiles on the screen can have a color assigned to them, items called Geo-symbols placed on a tile of a specific color applies that effect to all panels of that color. These effects can work for you or against you. Making it so you have increased attack or defense, decreased attack or defense, recover some hp at the end of each turn, take damage at the end of each turn, or even be completely invincible. These effects also apply to enemies as well, and can deeply alter your approach at a battle.
There’s so may more things to what make the game engine itself great like actually traveling inside of items and completing levels inside of them to level their power up, and a bonus gage system that effects what loot you get from the battle (I don’t even fully understand it after 30+ hours of gameplay)
With all of these amazing elements of battle, the story could be as washed up as a generic fighting game and I would still waste hours wasting enemies, but fortunately that’s not the case. Disgaea is one of those games that will have you literally laughing out loud from the dynamic characters they create and the story that goes along with your conquest of the netherworld. Here’s another place where Disgaea will create unique experience for each player, multiple endings. Although for the PSP version the developers didn’t leave it at that, they added a complete alternate storyline in which the main character is accidently killed at the very beginning of the game, and then plays out the same basic story without him. This also makes the game harder since he’s an extremely valuable team member that can’t be replaced with just a simple clone character you create.
The main point of this post is to say Hi with my first post by writing about something that was on my mind for two reasons, A.) I’m playing the game right now and B.) Disgaea 3 comes out this week on ps3. So if you call yourself a strategy gamer at all, or are in need of a good laugh, or want to waste a few days of your life; Disgaea is a game you can’t go wrong with. It’s a must buy whether it’s on PS2, PSP, PS3; or the new DS port that comes out at the end of September.