[PS2/PSP] Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

posted 5 Jan 2011, 00:45 by Thomas Vale   [ updated 5 Jan 2011, 00:45 ]
Do you like Final Fantasy Tactics or Shining Force?
Do you like anime?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, you'll most likely love 
Disgaea. It's a strategy rpg with a similar gameplay mould to Final Fantasy Tactics, but it's been tweaked to buggery. You can now do combos if your characters are clustered around an enemy, and your entire team takes its turn at the same time, making the gameplay a hell of a lot faster that fft. It also features 'geopanels', which are squares on the battle filed with effects like regeneration, invincibility, extra attacks, damage, etc. All in all it looks like Atlus took a look at fft and said 'how can we make the battle system better', and succeded in making a sstem which I can no longer think of any improvements for.
The graphics are damn cool, drawn in a slightly cutsey anime style, with superb facial expressions etc. The battle sequences are less impressive, but still well done, however, it doesn't look epoch shattering, and not too far from the quality of fft. However the in battle graphics isn't what really makes me love this game.
This game is downright hilarious, poking fun and old animes, at humakind itself, and traditional values of good and evil. A lot of the humour would be lost without the voice acting. They have the original Japanese voices avaliable, so I can't comment on the English voices, but the Jap voices perfectly fit the characters and sometimes make you laugh simply becuase of the way they said it.
The story in this game is a basis purely for the humour and up to chapter ~10 is hilarious almost non-stop, but then it kinda tries to be to serious and just ends up being corny. All in all the story isn't fantastic, but supports the superb gameplay, and the gags perfectly well.

Graphics: 6/10
The anime sequences are well done, but the game engine isn't superb, and there are no FMVs
Sound: 10/10
Great background music coupled with top notch voice acting. My only qualm is that they still use the English voices in battle (which to be honest sound too corny)
Plot: 7/10
The plot is only 
really there to support the game, and is not the central element like in FF games, but it does the job it's needed to.
Game-play: 10/10
A perfect strategy battle system wich is enjoyable to play again and again.
Longevity: 10/10
With a good 20-40 hours game time, and around six or seven different endings, it's got a length to rival Xenogears.
Overall: 85%
A few minor flaws mar what would otherwise have been an almost perfect game.
/me rushes back to get the next ending.