For quite a while now I�ve been a huge fan of RPGs. I�ve been playing them from as young as about 10 years old, and when I was quite young I saw amazing videos of this new, Strategy RPG that I really wanted to try; Disgaea. Now, I had friends who had the game as well, and I�d watched several pieces of footage, and read several review. This was a game that I definitely wanted, no matter what anyone told me, but sadly, it was a game that was very scarce in Europe (And it also didn�t help that I gave my PS2 to my girlfriend). But finally, by luck, we found a huge bundle of Nippon Ichi games all piled up at the local gaming store, and finally swooped up my first ever taste of the insane series that is Disgaea.
Now, I decided that I would start off with just the first game (despite the fact Disgaea 2 was there, which no longer is). The game pulled me in instantly, and didn�t let go until several weeks later. I was blown away by the fact that a game with such simplistic looking graphics and fighting system could be just.. . so deep, so technical, and so funny. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to, but I knew it was going to be good all the way down, and it has been. The first game successfully ate up about 150 hours of my time by the time I finally put down the PS2 version, having only cleared one of 10 or so endings. The game was getting too much for me, so I took a break.
This game never ceases to entertain me, even of the results screen after battles.
As for how the game handles and the actual content, for those that have never heard of it are considering buying it: It�s a fairly simple to understand and play Strategy Role Playing Game. All of the games are based around the Netherworld, and the development of a single character through a long series of events. The control method is very simple to pick up, with basic commands such as Attack, Special, Throw and Defend. The game works well at the start, but becomes increasingly more difficult towards the middle of the game, usually involving a bit of level grinding and power levelling (which personally, I enjoy, as long as the reward is great enough, and it is in the Disgaea series), which involves having to learn how to do further techniques that the game offers, but doesn�t offer specific tutorials for, leaving the user to discover them and mess with the new mechanics themselves (such as Diagonal throwing, tower throwing, Team Attacks, and Student/Master learning). The plot lines are incredibly interesting all the way through the game, with several different endings available in all games depending on how you play.
The game also has bundles of replay value, because not only can you beat the game to get all of the endings, there is also the challenge of reaching the highest level in the game; 9999 (That is not a typo), and also getting the perfect weapon and maximising its statistics to make it perfect. Personally, the highest level I�ve ever reached in any of the Disgaea games is about 260, and I�ve only ever beaten one of them due to the sheer length of the game on your first time through. You will find that on the second time, even if you start from level 1, the game will be much easier, mostly due to the fact that you can run through levels knowing roughly what level you need to be, and where it would be good to get to such a level. On top of all of these, the brilliant plot line is something that should duly be noted for this game, as it is possibly one of the funniest, deepest and most intricate plotlines I have ever seen in any game, ever. The plot references to something that most nerds will know about every few minutes (frequent references to Manga, Anime, other games, other series that Nippon Ichi makes, Movies, etc. etc.). The plot in all of the games is also deep, following a characters development as they are forced to go through a series of trials to get what they want, usually completely changing what the person thought about themselves, and is also beautifully VA�d by talented voice actors, not just your run of the mill Goldman from House of the Dead 2.
So, overall, the Disgaea series has eaten up well over 200 hours of my life (though I have seen some people with 1,500+ hours on just the PS2 version of the first game), and I have loved almost every minute. If you�re interested in buying the game, don�t worry about which one you buy! None of the games have related plotlines, though some do refer to previous games in extra scenes in the game (Such as getting Laharl, Etna and Flonne as playable characters in Disgaea 2 and 3). It is a very easy game to pick up, which gradually increases in difficulty, and will constantly challenge, and entertain you! Not one for those who are not fans of level grinding, but if you�re one who is willing to �put up� with it rather than enjoy it, get it! Oh, and if possible avoid the DS version.