reviews\ Aug 30, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days - PSP - Review

Like a hardcore strategy role-playing game enthusiast, I look forward to each Disgaea game knowing full well that I will find not only a challenge SRPG but also a game with a charming-yet-strange story with a good sense of humor. So far, each Disgaea game has not disappointed and that includes the PSP that has seen an excellent game with Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness and even a game starring a Prinny. Once again we find ourselves thinking strategically with Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days for the PSP.

One of the best things about the Disgaea games is that the stories are utterly ridiculous in the best way possible and it’s often even very funny. Dark Hero Days is not any different, although the humorous parts aren’t as plentiful as the console releases or even Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? You see, the game introduces us to Adell, a young boy untouched by the curse that turned everyone in his hometown into soulless monsters. He comes home in time to see his own mother attempt to cheerfully boil her husband and two younger children as sacrifices to summon the dark Overlord Zenon who was the Overlord that cursed them all.

Instead of summoning the Overlord, however, a pretty young girl named Rozalin who just so happens to be Overlord Zenon’s only daughter. Bound by the magical summoning spell that backfired, Rozalin must follow Adell and join him in journeying to the Overlord Zenon’s mansion to face him once and for all. While the two bicker, they form a friendship as a girl of privilege comes to experience all the things she never got to experience as a pampered spawn of an evil Overlord. 

Like past Disgaea games, Dark Hero Days has a number of bizarre moments that come in the form of the enemies you’ll face that range from turtle-like creatures to the cute penguin-like Prinny who pull huge swords out of their fanny-packs and call you “dood!” Strategy is still a big part of the game and, thankfully, there are a number of tutorials that will teach you the basics including introducing the new features as well. This isn’t the type of game you can blindly jump into battle hoping to come out of it in one piece.

Those familiar with turn-based strategy role-playing games will find that the main battle mechanics haven’t changed so you will still move characters along the battlefield grid. However, there are new features in the game such as colored panels and Geo Symbols that - when smashed - can allow you to dish out the optimal damage to your opponent. New to the game is the ability to pick up a party member and throw them closer to the enemy … which certainly beats wasting time moving the character to the very spot. The best new addition is chain attacks where two characters can gang up on a single targeted enemy for double the damage. The problem with this is that the enemy can chain their attacks as well.

Early in the game you will make use of Adell’s town, which serves as a hub for when you need new weapons, armor, items (as well as upgrade your items) as well as the right to purchase new songs to expand the game’s soundtrack. The town is also good to obtain subpoenas to take down monsters that commit felonies as well as create new characters to join your party. The character creation option allows you to add a number of characters with skills such as thief, healer, fighter or a Red Skull magician just to name a few classes. You can even have a Prinny in your party. This is definitely helpful if you like a big party of characters to use in the far more difficult battles.

There’s a nice variety of battles in the game so you even random battles aren’t always the same. Some battles move the story forward while other battles are fought to earn money or upgrade items. This is good news for any strategy fan since the game does not disappoint in providing a challenge. Believe me when I say that it’s often Overlord Zenon’s minions that will have you sweating bullets. You’ll be happy for features like Magichange that allows you to fuse humans and monsters together for a stronger force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

As far as the visuals are concerned, Dark Hero Days looks fantastic with some decent visual effects that would feel right at home on the PlayStation 2. The characters, much like the opening animation, have the appearance of an anime series and that’s a good thing … if you like anime, of course. There are some awesome visual effects in the game and there are sight gags aplenty … especially when the enemy is concerned.

There’s also a great soundtrack that’s actually filled with a variety of different music already available. On top of the fact that you can “purchase” new tunes in the town, there’s decent voice acting in the game. The sound effects are also quite diverse so you will want to play this one with the volume up.

Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days for the PSP is a sequel worthy of being considered superior to the fantastic original and that’s saying a lot right there. The game also manages to be just as addictive and enjoyable as the console games in the series with new features that just add more SRPG goodness to a series that just keeps getting stranger and more fun with each new installment. Definitely give this one a try if you want another inventive SRPG.

Review Scoring Details for Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days

Gameplay: 9.0
The story has a few humorous moments that actually work well than the first game and the characters are actually likeable enough for you to care about them during their quest. The battles are a little more challenging with a few new moves that make fights more interesting this time around.

Graphics: 8.0
Dark Hero Days looks great on the PSP widescreen and there are some excellent visual effects that look like it comes straight out of the PS2 games in the series. The character models look decent on the map as well.

Sound: 8.5
The soundtrack is quite diverse so you won’t be listening to the same tune and even more so when you can purchase more songs from the Song Merchant in certain towns. There’s voice acting in the game and it’s not bad but not great either.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard
The real challenge comes from the battles against the powerful monsters and enemies you’ll meet early in the game so you will certainly be thinking each move in this game just like in the first Disgaea game on the PSP.

Concept: 9.0
The ability to pick up a party member and tossing them at the enemy is a lot cooler than expected and the new Magichange feature is simply too bizarre that it makes things very interesting. The character creation option is definitely a nice touch so you’ll decide what character classes you want in your party.

Overall: 9.0
Dark Hero Days is not only one of the most enjoyable sequels with a lot to offer SRPG fans but it’s also one of the more surprisingly fun Disgaea games to come along on the PSP. Sure, the first game had cooler characters but this one is far more charming and challenging in ways that will make any fan of the genre happy they picked it up. Consider this yet another game in the franchise you will definitely want have among your collection.


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