The Overlord of the Netherworld has passed away and it’s time for his replacement to inherit the throne. Demons of all kinds have battled each other for the right to rule the dark world, but only one remained triumphant in the end – the Overlord’s son, Lahari. Despite winning the right to be Overlord, Lahari doesn’t possess his father’s charisma or the respect of his demonic peers. With his friends Etna and Flonee by his side, our demonic anti-hero ventures out into the Netherworld to prove his worth as the Overlord ruler.
Like in previous Disgaea games, your adventure begins inside the Overlord’s castle. All the NPC shops from previous games are still present, including the Rosen Queen Co (where you can purchase and sell armor and weapons); the Netherworld Hospital (owned by well-known healer Florence); and the Data Shop. Owned by Paparazz, the Data Shop keeps track of everything your party has accomplished. This system allows the player to view the items they have collected, the amount of damage their party has inflicted, and the skills their party used during combat. The Data Shop also includes an option to change the music for the Overlord’s castle and even Item World.
The Dark Assembly is still available if you need to petition the Netherworld Senators for help. However, you must receive the approval of these Senators before any bills can pass. The bills you can submit include a large variety of bonuses that can benefit your party, including triple experience or more ‘war funds’ to purchase better items, among others. As you stand inside the Dark Assembly, you are greeted by a large group of the Netherworld’s inhabitants sitting behind long, wooden tables. Any Senators that are highlighted in blue are more likely to pass your bill. It is possible to bribe the other Senators with items from your inventory, but this method isn’t always successful. When all else fails, you can change the Dark Assembly’s decision by using force, but this isn’t always the best option.
With petitioning aside, the Dark Assembly can also be used to create new characters for your party. The character creation process is relatively simple and doesn’t require extensive knowledge of role-playing games to use. Once you have chosen from one of the elven available classes – which range from a Warrior to a Valkyrie (to name just a few) – you must then decide on your character’s Capability Type.
This feature determines the type of Evilities your new character will possess. Evilities are special abilities that contain special stats unique to each character, allowing them to absorb damage during combat or benefit from stat increases, for example. After selecting your character’s Capability Type, you are given 5 skill points to distribute and a choice of colors for your character. After completing these steps, your newly created character will be ready to join your party.
The Overlord’s domain contains a multitude of training NPCs to help strengthen your party. The Demon Dojo, for example, allows you to train each party member in a variety of skill boosts. When training begins, you are limited to the ‘Tough Guy Training’ option, which increases your party’s HP by 5%. Additional skills such as Demon Psychology (which increases your SP after leveling) and Super Treadmill (a skill that increases speed) become available once you have ‘learned’ the previous skill boost. The only way to actually train in a specific skill boost is to engage in combat.
Like its predecessors, D2 uses a turn-based combat system that relies heavily on strategy. The battlefield is a grid-like environment where your party must battle monsters and destroy different colored Geo Blocks. To be effective during battle, you must destroy the Geo Blocks in a certain order to inflict damage on your foes. When the main Geo Block is destroyed, for example, creatures standing next to the Geo Blocks of the same color will incur damage. In some cases, bonuses can be earned depending on the blocks and their colors. These ‘blocks’ can decide the outcome of just about every battle, especially if you use them to your advantage.
The Likeability system is another important mechanic that can benefit your party. By allowing your team to fight side-by-side, they will eventually grow very fond of each other. When this happens, your party members will assist each other when they’re being attacked; they will also perform a ‘Support Attack’ . This move involves multiple party members, and the amount of damage that is inflicted on the enemy is staggering.
When standard team tactics are not enough, the player can mount party members to enhance their stats. Called Mounted Skills, the player can stack a human character on a monster to rapidly increase both units’ Likeability and battle stats. When mounted, you are a formable foe against stronger enemies. Plus, it makes later enemy encounters much easier to deal with.
Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness is packed full of content too numerous to mention in a single review. As the latest release in the series, D2 is a challenging, in-depth JRPG with gorgeous 2D graphics, compelling character development and a solid combat system. Like other well-established RPG series, the Disgaea series has been around long enough to have outgrown any issues that could hamper its gameplay. Whether you’re a fan of the series or just enjoy a good role-playing game, Disgaea D2 by NIS America is definitely worthy of your hard-earned money.
Platform: Playstation 3 (Available on PSN)
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
Publisher: NIS America
ESRB: T (Teen)