Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness Review

By Melissa Evans on October 27, 2013

The most beloved group of Disgaea characters is back after ten long years with Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkeness, the official sequel to the very first game in the Disgaea series. Not only does this game represent a huge nostalgia trip for fans of the original game, it also feels like a fresh, simplified take on the series.

After the events of the first game, our main protagonist Laharl has become the overlord of the Netherworld. This puts him in a rather precarious position as many of the demons around him have no idea of his new status. To rectify this, Laharl sets off with his vassals, Etna the demon and Flonne the former angel, to inform the public. Unfortunately things to not go as planned as the public all that receptive to the change and as a result, the team faces off against a group of demons who are loyal to the previous overlord. This group of demons are called the Krichevskoy Faction and their objective is to overthrow Laharl and appoint someone else whom they believe will be a more suitable leader.

The battle system of D2 is just as fun and addicting as it always has been. This sees you combining skills in battle and throwing characters around the map in order to reach far away areas. The geo panel aspect returns and this, as always, helps to add a puzzle-like element to the game. One of the core components of this system is how it adds modifiers to the battlefield. By standing on affected squares, you can end up suffering from effects such as "enemies do 50% extra damage".

A brand new feature to the series is the ability to use any monster class as a mount. When you use a mount it takes hits for you and handles movement. A character mounted can freely attack and use spells, and both units will gain full XP in the process. It's the perfect sniping perch for an archer and it helps to add an extra layer of protection for your magic users who often have lower health bars.

Since the beginning of the series leveling up brand new custom made characters was always such a chore. They would die so easily to higher-level enemies and you would have to properly plan things out to make sure they got up to speed quickly. Pairing your human characters with monsters with the mounting system helps to eliminate this problem, while providing you a good number of flashy looking mounted attack skills that are surprisingly very helpful in sticky situations.

Each of the characters can also build relationships with each other. Their compatibility in battle is determined by a heart scale that is ranked between 1 and 5. This new system affects the strength of collaboration attacks that can be used when Monster mounting. Of course this depends on the relationship between a humanoid characters and the monsters they are riding as well.

Another grand addition to the series is the Demon Dojo, which is quite similar to how clubs worked in Disgaea 3. Here you can accelerate the growth rate of a single stat on a character while they are levelling up. The more you use this feature the more characters you can assign to the type of training, thus increasing the growth rate for the desired stat. Again, this system helps to make levelling up new characters a bit more interesting.

As you'd also expect from a Disgaea title, there is a ton of replay value. Player's who're keen on their RPGs will find plenty to enjoy, even after finishing the main story. It's easy to go through the entire story in about 40 hours or so but there is so much more to the game. New Game Plus is where the real challenge begins, with a bunch of rare side bosses to face, as well as the insane level cap of 9999 for you to raise each and every one of your characters too.

Final Thoughts

Disgaea D2 truly shines as one of the best titles in the series. As always, there's a ton of replay value and the addition of mounted units helps to expand the gameplay. It's also great to see the story return to focus on Laharl, as we've always been wondering what happened after the events of the original game.

Limitless replay value
Mounted units
Easy to jump into if you never played any of the other games in the series
Long time fans will find it a bit easier then the previous games
Some reused visuals
Minor lags during attack selection
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