(and cursed) mother. A strong-willed son who’s determined to keep all promises
– even if it costs him his life. A young girl who loves her overlord father
despite his many ruthless killings. A dark-hero-turned-movie-star. And a
beauty queen with really bad luck.
These are a
few of the semi-unusual, purposely-comedic stars that make up the world of
Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. When an evil overlord turns Adell’s family into
demonic half-breeds, his mother orders him to hunt down the one responsible.
This simple premise takes the young man on a journey that pokes fun at just
about everything (including genre itself). Role-playing cliches are made fun
of, while modern-day issues are included as a means for improving yourself in
a world gone bad. Bribe senators to get them on your side, score points for
scoring felonies, and don magical vests sewn by fairies in “magical”
scenario features voice-overs from the quirky cast, most of which involve them
arguing with each other, running into a bad situation, and wondering why they
haven’t accomplished their goals yet. Numerous characters pop in and out, both
to fight and to add to the hilarity. Pressing the triangle button lets you
skip any story sequence that comes up. As tempted as I’ve been to press it –
the battles are the primary reason for my addiction – the game has yet to fail
to make me laugh. I want to enter the battlefield, but I just can’t do it. I
must find out what’s going on with the characters first.
gameplay second, is the schedule of Disgaea. The schedule repeats every time a
battle is won, and every time an area has been cleared. Unlike other strategy/RPGs,
this is not a game of exploration. It is not about journeying to end of the
world, searching for that one thing that will make peace return. Disgaea 2 is
pure, uninterrupted turn-based strategy. I love strategy games, but I can’t
see myself being as addicted to it as I am had not it been for one small
detail: it plays like my favorite handheld game, Fire Emblem.
are laid out for mobility, allowing you to move about the area via
you’ll be informed of a place called the Dark Assembly. This is where another
one of Disgaea 2’s incredibly addictive elements comes into play. Mana lets
you create new characters and reincarnate existing allies. It also allows you
to put a bill into action that would allow you to do something that is
otherwise forbidden. One example you’ve probably heard about in the news: more
funding. If you go before the senate and persuade them to pass that bill,
you’ll gain more dough.
The catch is
that, not unlike Star Wars, the senate is comprised of demons who belong to
the same species of creatures encountered on the battlefield. They differ in
rank and power. Higher-ranked senators have a stronger voice and can turn the
tide in either direction. Funding has a pre-approved rating of 1%. There are
fewer than 100 senators who vote, which means that less than one senator is
likely to vote in your favor.
opposite side of the spectrum, “more expensive stuff” has a pre-approved
rating of 60%-plus. You’re likely to get that approved before you walk in the
door, assuming nothing goes wrong. Senators may fall asleep just before the
vote takes place. Sleeping senators can’t vote, and just your luck – it’s
always the ones on your side who want to take a nap. Worse yet, they may also
flip-flop on decisions, voting opposite of what was indicated. (It’s scary how
much this reminds me of the real world.)
with the rare exception that one of the demonic leaders has a conscience, you
can always win through bribery. Click on a monster and scroll through your
items to see what it likes. “Slightly interested” is as low as you should go.
“Interested” and “Must have!” are your best bets. “Does not want” couldn’t be
any clearer – if you don’t have something that catches their fancy, you’re not
going to be able to persuade them. And like I said, some have a conscience.
Attempting to bribe them is a surefire way to lose.
addictive, and happily time-consuming, Disgaea 2 has become my most
anticipated RPG of the year. If you loved the first Disgaea, Fire Emblem, or
any other strategy game with this style of play, do not miss the chance to
play this sequel the second it hits stores.