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I F*cking Love Tacticals, Part One--Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness

Oh my god you have no idea.

Anyway. On to business.

It may be noted that I am a fairly recent arrival to gaming--I only got a PS2 last year (actually, it was a Christmas present for my whole family), a DS last summer, and a PSP in December. So I have a fair amount of catching up to do. I will profess at least an amiable curiousity about any kind of game that isn't a shooter or Katamari Damacy, the former because guns in and of themselves bore me and the latter because the camera angles make me nauseous. So when my boyfriend recommended that I check out the Disgaea games I said, "Sure, cool," and when I found an improbable copy of Hour of Darkness at GameStop I persuaded my mother to buy it for me. And then the next week I went out and got Cursed Memories.

That was...say, last June? And since then the series has been eating my life. I swear, they're like fucking...I dunno. They're like soul leeches, but instead of gross they're awesome. The storylines are absorbing, the writing itself is funny, the graphics are fantastic, and the gameplay is artery-explodingly lovely.

I mentioned I got my PSP recently? It was so that I could play Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, the PSP rerelease of the first game with new stuff added. Now, I really enjoy playing games on television consoles, but handhelds are really where my affections lie, because they fit in my pockets and can be played covertly when I'm bored in class. And that was the first selling point of the game: Disgaea pocket-sized! What could be more awesome that having these guys

around to entertain me at a moment's notice?

Then there's where my true love of tacticals, and particularly Disgaea games, comes in: these games take forever. Not to win the main game, no, that's pretty easy. The final boss is only level 100. But the Disgaea games specialize in things that are absurdly intense. The level cap is 9999. And then you can reincarnate and get to 9999 again. And again, and again, your stats improving with every reincarnation. Every item can be made awesome beyond belief. There are infinite random dungeons for the discerning gamer, and you can fight people from other games.

And the game rewards you for doing this.

Seriously, that's my favorite thing about any Disgaea game. You are not only encouraged to power level, it gets you presents. If you bother to level enough and run the bills through to get to Priere, and you defeat her, she'll join your party. If you complete the Cave of Ordeals they give you a leveling map and a really nice fist weapon. Even better, if you complete the exciting new part of the Cave of Ordeals in Afternoon, they give you the same leveling map that they gave you before, but supercharged.

I have spent about two months power-leveling in this game. No joke. I'm taking a break right now to poke around in the infinite random Item World dungeons to steal things to increase my item collection record, because with every ten percent increase, the little collections dude gives you a godly stealing item. And I can carry all of this awesomeness in my purse and play it before class. Or, well, during class, sometimes.

Another cool thing about Afternoon is that they added another mode of play. If you read Etna's diary at the start of every chapter, when you win you get offered Etna Mode!

It's really short, but all the enemies are harder, so it's totally worth it. Haven't played it yet, though. Too busy power leveling.

The Disgaea series, and particularly this game, are the entire reason that I like this genre in the first place, and are thus the reason for my starting up this series of posts. They're absorbing and entertaining, and I like games that reward me for being OCD.

Also, one last thing: I like working out the strengths and weakness of my enemies and then sending one little dude to stand on exactly the right square and do exactly the right thing to take the enemy down hard.

Tacticals are like puzzle games. Except that people die.
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About FlonneMcNinjaone of us since 3:18 PM on 04.29.2008

I'm twenty-one. I spend a lot of time reading and playing video games. I love Princess Daisy and hate Princess Peach. I will most likely not be talking about much new stuff, because getting games that are new requires one to have a budget that stretches at least a bit past the subsistence level. And, as you may have noticed, I fucking love tacticals.

Oh! Almost forgot. I have another blog, where I talk about books and comics and occasionally cooking. It's called Four-Color World, and it's at https://fourcolorworld.blogspot.com.

Currently playing:
Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness (PSP)--2nd playthrough, currently power-leveling
Jeanne D'Arc (PSP)
Rondo of Swords (DS)
Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories (PS2)
La Pucelle: Tactics (PS2)
Makai Kingdom (PS2)
Phantom Brave (PS2)
Commander Keen, all of them, constantly
Hocus Pocus (DOS on PC)