globaladdict's Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories (PS2)
| [January 15, 2008 01:32:59 AM]
| Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories Gamelog Entry 2
For the second hour of Disgaea 2, I chose to go to the “item world,” where you can enter an item in your inventory. Doing so allows you to increase the strength of the item; a spell orb for a mage will give more spell points after clearing the enemies on each level of the item. This element of the game consumes much of the time the 100+ hours the game’s box advertises to players. When you enter an item, each level is randomly generated and the monsters get progressively stronger with each one, so the challenge factor never disappears because of overpowered characters so long as you enter an item that’s stated enemy level on the first floor matches your own.
Before entering the item world, one has to prepare carefully as one must either have an item called “Mr. Gency’s Exit,” which works like a town portal from other RPGs, or finish 10 levels of the item. As a result, the player is challenged to play strategically by bringing plenty of healing items and using prudence to ensure that valuable characters like the mage or cleric, who are very useful but die easily, aren’t taken out early on, which can dramatically reduce the player’s chance of survival. This rule structure forces players to play intelligently whereas one can be more reckless in situations where one’s party vastly overpowers the enemy, negating the challenge factor that makes these games so rewarding.
Because the Item World is one of my favorite features of Disgaea 2 and provides the majority of replayability in this game, I will focus on the numerous elements that make this game so fun despite it being fundamentally similar other turn based RPGs.
As each item has 100 levels and allows you only to leave every ten levels unless you have an item that allows you to escape and come back, the game allows you to extend the usage you can get from much of your equipment. Each item can also contain a number of specialists, which one must “subdue” or eliminate on the level they are found; they give certain bonuses to the item they are in, like increased health or experience, and can even be traded between items. Along the fact that going through ten levels of an item often gives one lots of treasure and experience, there is a lot of incentive to go to the item world. Many hours can be spent getting specialists from items and trying to reach the 100th level one’s items, which leads to a fight with that item’s “item god,” who gives the item a large boost.
Within the item world, a number of other features become essential and help add enough variety to the game that I would bother to spend countless hours on it. The geo panel system of the Disgaea games adds an interesting layer of strategy. The battlefield can have colored tiles, and geo blocks on these colors can give characters on that color different attributes while on it. The attributes range from beneficial, like healing, to the perilous, like having one of your characters cloned for the enemy’s party. The blocked can be moved onto other colors of tiles, but they can even move on their own, which adds an unpredictable element that positively adds to the game’s challenge factor. Geo Panels have lead to some satisfying moments where I defeated enemies with no damage to myself by paying attention to the colored tiles, so they represent an innovative feature that isn’t seen in other turn based RPGs and adds to the game. The geo panel system also adds a puzzle element to Disgaea 2 because the blocks also have colors; when they are destroyed, they turn the colored tiles it was on into the color that it is. By making chains of destroying all the blocks in an order that makes all colored tiles one color and destroying the block that nullifies that color, one could potentially defeat all enemies on the field without attacking one (characters on colored tiles that get changed by the geo blocks take damage for each change) and increase the amount of treasure one receives at the end of combat.
Overall, the innovative elements of Disgaea 2 add to the gameplay and succeeds in adding strategy elements to the turn based RPG genre to the point that I’d spend a large chunk of my life completing it. The ultimate limitation of this game however, lies in the grinding aspect of the game. While it’s good that the game has a lot of replayability, things such as optional quests that reveal more about the story or perhaps a nonlinear storyline that lets players make actual decisions in the game beyond killing the boss and progressing to the next episode would be an evolutionary leap for the genre.
This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Jan 15th, 2008 at 01:34:02.
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| [January 15, 2008 12:44:17 AM]
| Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories Gamelog Entry 1
For fans of Dungeons and Dragons and Final Fantasy Tactics, Nippon Ichi Software has dedicated itself to primarily producing turn based dungeon crawling role playing games (RPGs) like Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. In the game, the player commands a party of ten members in search of the Overlord Zenon, master of the Underworld, with different strategic roles to defeat opponents with each side giving commands to each character. While you start with a smaller number of characters and limited equipment and abilities for them, you obtain better equipment and skills as you go, which gives the player new strategy options with new abilities and the satisfaction of seeing your party grow stronger.
Having played the original Disgaea years ago in high school, playing the sequel was a nostalgic experience that spoke to my level up syndrome that draws me to this type of game. The fact that the game’s back cover tells players to “get ready for 100+ hours of devilish mayhem,” immediately appeals to the hardcore completist gamer types who play this game. I had to spend the first half an hour just properly equipping my party and reviewing my party members’ abilities; I chose to start from a later game save file so that I could focus more on the more challenging gameplay that comes out near the end of the game. Getting back into it, I realize that the steep learning curve for this game probably limits its fan base because it takes a hefty investment of time to fully comprehend the battle mechanics of the game. With over twenty classes to play as, a lot of time must be spent deciding what classes to employ and how they can work together.
The fact that it takes a lot of work just to play this game may deter most casual gamers, but the immense complexity that successful players overcome to thrive in Disgaea 2 lies at the core of why I enjoy this game. Once I relearned the battle system and had my party properly equipped, the game was a joy to behold as I took down my opponents systematically on old I levels and accrued more levels and treasure to shape my party with.
Because the game is turn based, it can actually be a rather social game to play with friends as you can discuss possible courses of action between enemy turns and switch off at every other level. I played the first hour with a friend and found my experience improved since I had someone to bounce strategies off of and made the game less of a grind in some places.
The downside to Disgaea 2 is that to enjoy everything in the game, there are points where you need to repeat old levels or go to the “item world”(more on this in the second log) to level up and get better equipment to progress in the game. This part of the game got monotonous rather quickly and feels rather backwards as even Final Fantasy Tactics had optional quests that revealed more about the story and gave nice rewards to keep you moving along.
Despite this setback, the game’s storyline, although uninnovative, contributes to my attraction to this game as it takes place in the underworld with demons as playable characters; the cliché RPG has the player play the good guys, but in Disgaea 2 the good guys aren’t as stoic and without much emotion, which comes out especially with the main character Rozalin, whose pretentiousness as the daughter of the Underworld and treatment of everyone as her personal servants make for an amusing environment to spend 100+ hours in.
This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Jan 15th, 2008 at 01:34:30.
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globaladdict's Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories (PS2)
Current Status: Playing
GameLog started on: Monday 14 January, 2008