Tuesday 15 January, 2008
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.