Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness Review
The disgaea series has been a cult classic since the original, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness was released 2003. in 2007 this classic game was remade for the Playstation Portable in the form of Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness.
The game starts out with the prince of the netherworld, Laharl sleeping and his vassal Etna trying to wake him up. Laharl has been sleeping for 2 years and in that time span, his father (The Overlord) died. Etna informs Laharl that many demons are after the thrown and Laharl sets out to claim his rightful title of Overlord. The story is told over 14 chapters & these chapters generally consist of 4 maps within a zone. There are character dialogue cutscenes in between some maps and there is always one before the chapter begins, and after it ends.
Along with these cutscenes Etna gives a “preview” of the next chapter which are always wrong but are very humorous. There are many story characters, all with their strengths and weaknesses, both stat wise and personality wise. The game shows tremendous character growth while at the same time hiding it, letting it out in little sequences for certain characters. There are some very touching sequences in the game that really bring the characters to life. However the story is not there by default. Depending on your actions in battles there are multiple endings. Losing certain battles, killing allies and things of this nature all can affect the ending of the game.
There is also an alternative storyline called “Etna Mode” where instead of waking the prince she kills him. This starts a new plot of the game where Etna is trying to become overload. This mode is pretty good, giving a more intimate look at Etna’s past. She is a interesting character but Laharls character growth makes a better story (did I reveal anything with that line? probably not).
Disgaea is a strategy RPG. Its gameplay is similar to some titles I covered earlier like Jeanne D’Arc and Final Fantasy Tactics. The game uses a Player and Enemy turn system. A map start outs with the enemies on screen and the Base Panel (The base panel is where your characters spawn from). You are allowed to bring out 12 characters at maximum, but you can bring your characters back into the panel to bring someone else out. If a character dies the max number will not change. For example if you brought 12 characters out, but 1 died, you cannot bring someone else into the map (unless you send someone back in).
When your turn begins you are free to move the characters around and use techniques. Once a character has moved and attacked they gain a E over their head telling you that you can’t use them again for this turn. A map level will end when all the enemies, or all of your characters are defeated(In your case a max of 12 characters need to be defeated).
Dark Assembly: Character Creation System
The character creation in this game is very complex. Unlike other games you are free to create as many characters as you want. You are given story characters such as Laharl but you can create demons to aid you in battle. You can create humanoid and monster type demons. To create these characters “mana” is needed. To gain mana you need to kill enemies. Mana also decides how good your character will be. When creating a character you choose their capability. This ranges from a Good – for – nothing (that’s how the game writes it) to a Genius. What this does is using more mana, you can give your character ability bonuses to increase stats. A good for nothing will loose 5 stats while a genius will gain 10. You are free to put the stats anywhere.
Humanoid demons (unlike the monster types) have classes, such as warrior, bashers and clerics. As you level up these classes you gain access to the better versions. Also combination of classes, such as a male Warrior and a male Basher both at level 10 will unlock a ninja. Humanoid demons can also equip weapons like swords spears etc. The more you use the weapon the higher your skill level with get and you gain more access to abilities. Some classes have a more efficiency with certain weapons than others. This is represented in a letter rank for each weapon. Someone with a S rank, their weapon skill will increase much faster than someone with a A, B rank for the same weapon.
Monster type demons are, well monsters. They range from zombies to dragons to like yeti type monsters. These monster types are different than the humanoid. To unlock the higher versions of the monsters you must defeat them in battle. Also the amount of mana needed to create monsters is based on how many of that version of the monster you defeated.
Dark Assembly: Proposals
In the dark assembly you can make proposals to the dark congress. You can increase you rank within the congress giving you more influence, unlock areas, gain access to better weapons and things of that nature. In the first play through this is very hard to do because for most things, you will be turned down. You can bribe senators but that only goes so far. I suggest waiting until you have characters in the 100s before attempting anything in the dark assembly. You can also make the game harder here(something the congress would be happy to do) which lets you still gain levels during replay.
The rest of the stuff
To be blunt, i cannot write about EVERYTHING disgaea offers gameplay wise, its just too much. So I’m going to give some brief information on a few of the other aspects. There is a world called the Item World where you can level up any item. For example you can enter the item world with a sword and level it to make it more powerful. There are also geo panels that can give power ups or power downs on certain spots on the map. Destroying these and creating a chain reaction can be useful. The tutorial in the game gives some brief information on these things and more but all are optional. You can use group attacks and attack combos in the game as well. There is also a new music store, an item collection system and multiplayer in the game. The music store is self explanatory and the item collection keeps records on the items you’ve obtained. You are rewarded based on the amount of items you’ve collected. The multiplayer is only with Ad hoc which is a shame as playing this online via wireless would have been a huge achievement.
Disgaea uses a 2d engine with 3d maps for its system. The sprites in this version are much sharper and better looking than the ps2 original. The 2d sprites help strengthen the anime feel of the game. The game also runs in 16:9 wide screen now. The games audio is top notch. The music is great and voice acting extraordinarily good. Most of the original voice actors return except for Etna’s who was replaced in Disgaea 2. The voice actors really bring the characters to life and help bring the game to another level.
Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness is one of the greatest games i have ever played. The original Playstation 2 version was extraordinary as well but with extra bosses, the bonus content and upgrade to the visual the PsP version is the one to own. If your a fan of RPGs, strategy games, or just fantastic story telling, this game is a must have. I bet you can guess what I’m giving this game.