Let’s face it, NIS makes some fugly looking games. The graphics are charming, but you didn’t spend over 200 dollars to play a 21st century SNES. If you’re someone who doesn’t need all that visual bling, though, then Disgaea DS offers one of the most satisfying strategy RPGs on the handheld.
Disgaea DS packs in the original PS2/PSP game with some bonus characters and new game modes. The game also has some exciting new additions like fuglier graphics and sparse voice acting. Out of the three iterations of this game, the newest looks the worst. But what do graphics really matter when you have a game this good in your hands?
As unique as the game is, battles play out rather typically for a strategy RPG. Each fight takes place on a grid, where sides take turns slugging away at each other. However, Disgaea throws in several other options to take advantage of, like Geo Crystals, which give certain panels on the map different stat boosts. Whole strategies can be based around maintaining one square of the grid.
The game tries to be more than what you’d expect, and it mostly succeeds. Options like the item world, where you can go inside your weapons and make them stronger, are brilliant. Our favorite feature is the Dark Council, a group that listens and votes on your requests. If you want a new soldier and they say no, kill the naysayer. Let’s also not forget the famous 9,999 level cap. There's a lot to mess around with, although more casual players will be thankful to know that none of it’s required to beat the game.
While we knocked the game’s graphics before, they seem more appropriate on the DS than, let’s say, Disgaea on the freakin’ PS3. The game also feels better on a handheld. Power leveling is considerably more bearable when you can play a short five to 10-minute battle as you ride the bus, train, or toilet seat. Because of this, the handheld versions are arguably better games than the original. In other words, don’t make this the third time you passed on Disgaea. NIS is running out of systems to port to.
Sep 26, 2008