Wonderfully complex battles, bizarre plot
Basically looks like a PS1 game
Features tunes by indie rockers Tsunami Bomb
By Shane Bettenhausen
Score:8.5 (out of 10)
Here's an instant cult classicDisgaea is so creative, challenging, and funny that it totally deserves the attention of RPG gamers. If you loved Final Fantasy Tactics on PS1, then you'll be all about this, too. The battles are a similar isometric, turn-based affair, but a few inventive concepts inject freshness into the tried-and-true proceedings. For example, here, adjacent troops combine for group attacks, characters who mentored under others can share skills on the battlefield, and li'l magic crystals called Geo Panels wreak havoc by imbuing the ground with random effects such as teleportation and invincibility. I found the combat so enjoyable that I often replayed battles just for the hell of it.
Disgaea also breaks from the genre norm with its, shall we say, "alternative" story line. No confusing warring factions or political intrigue hereinstead, it's a mix of smart-ass demons, clueless angels, and sexual innuendo, all seemingly devised by poison-tongued anime nerds hopped up on goofballs. Plus, between bouts with pathetic Power Rangers wannabes and castaways from a Gundam spoof, I actually fell in love with the game's ragtag cast of antiheroes, so when the occasional sliver of legit drama occurred, it didn't come off as cheesy.
Sadly, all this rewarding gameplay and quirky humor lies beneath a coating of antiquated visual grime. There isn't much here that couldn't have been done on PS1. But man, it's got a great personality
don't let the looks scare you off.
By Greg Sewart
Score:8 (out of 10)
You think you're hardcore? Then prove it by mastering Disgaea. Atlus separates the men from the quivering, weeping boys with one of the funniest, deepest, and downright dastardly RPGs you'll ever play. The beauty of Disgaea isn't just its challenging difficulty, cool weapon upgrades (see sidebar), or cracked-out story. It's the way it turns standard strat-RPG fare on its ear with combo attacks and those wacky Geo Panels. I honestly had a tough time getting my brain around a lot of the bewildering battles in Disgaeaand personally, I like a little mental workout in my games. It's not for everyone, but those brave enough to step up will get their money's worth.
By Miguel Lopez
Score:7.5 (out of 10)
I'm deprived of tactical RPGs for what seems like a million years, and what happens? Bam, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA, page 166) and Disgaea are released in the same month. I'll admit, most of my time and attention is going into the leaner, more polished Tactics, but Disgaea ain't something you need to ignore. Foremost, it's got one thing that Tactics seems to have skimped on: a whole lot of personality. Amusingly cheesy dialogue moves the story forward, and the action (if you'd call it that) is pretty bananas. Case in point: You can lift party members and throw them across the maps in order to reach distant enemies. Combine this with a staggering level of character-customization options and a playthrough length clocking in at 40-plus hours, and you're up to your ears in tactical craziness.