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Disgaea DS - A Sweet Little RPG for Your Nintendo DS
Disgaea DS is a remake of the original PlayStation 2 title Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. After a remake on the PSP, Nippon Ichi Software decided to port it to the DS. The DS version is almost exactly the same as the PSP port, and, as a proud DS owner, I must applaud them. Being able to carry Disgaea DS everywhere you go is a big plus. You'll need all the spare time you can to make it through this game.
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Laharl, son of the overlord of the Netherworld, King Krichevskoy, wakes to find his father has been dead for two years (talk about while you were sleeping!). While he's been out of commission the Netherworld has fallen into chaos. He immediately sets forth on a quest to gain supremacy of the Netherworld and become overlord himself.
Yeah, it isn't your typical story. For one, the main character is kind of a demon, and the world of Disgaea is filled with exploding penguin-like creatures called Prinnies and monsters galore (along with Angels). Also, instead of freeing the world from tyranny, you are trying to bring back the tyranny that has been missing since Laharl's father died. Also, a main point of the game is getting the characters you fight to join your party.
The twist in plot is great. I love playing as a baddie instead of a goodie. Also, the dialogue is funny and keeps the story light-hearted while still being rather deep. It's pretty cool, dood.
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There is a lot going on in Disgaea DS. It is a tactical role-playing game similar to Final Fantasy Tactics for the GBA, only this one is deeper (yes, it is possible). It isn't entirely user friendly and some casual gamers might be scared off at the amount of detail there is in this game. Everyone else will just love it.
Laharl is the on-screen character as he walks around his castle, which also acts as a hub to all the different places you can visit. While in the castle you can heal, buy items, create characters, talk to NPCs and do a variety of different things. Once you enter a battle you can choose which characters you want to have participate and dispatch them at your will.
The controls can be utilized with either the touch screen or the directional pad and the A, B, X, and Y buttons. In the castle, Laharl moves really fast, so I found the touch screen and stylus to be a simpler way of moving him. However, in battle the directional pad seems more precise.
Battles in general are different from any other tactical RPG I've ever played. After you dispatch your party, you have a lot of options to choose from including attack, special attacks, lifting and throwing enemies or party members, and so on. Also, you can either execute each move one at a time, or you can move all your characters into place and execute their moves all at once in the order you placed them. This degree of specialization is nice, but it can be confusing at first. It isn't initially intuitive, but once you get the hang of it you will love it. Don't worry, there is a nice tutorial to help you out. Oh, and characters that die in battle are not dead for good! You can revive them back at the castle.
There is another unique feature of Disgaea DS: The Dark Assembly. In the Dark Assembly, you can create and delete characters, or call on all the senators to vote for a proposal you have in mind. Proposals are for things like getting better weapons in the stores and so on. If not enough of them approve your vote, you can bribe them. It's about the most realistic political simulator available today. Also, in order to do anything in the Dark Assembly you must have mana, which can be collected by killing enemies.
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Graphics and Sounds
The graphics of Disgaea DS are like highly stylized anime. It's dark and cute, just like a game of this nature should be. The colors are deep and varied, and the characters aren't your normal chibi fare. They are more like skinny chibis, but it fits the game well. Backgrounds are nice, and all in all, it looks just as good as the PSP version.
Sound wise is where Disgaea DS really rocks. Sure, it doesn't have the option to listen to the voices in Japanese, like the PSP version, but the American voice acting is actually well done (for once!). The voices fit the characters, and no one seems out of place. Laharl especially has an adorably sarcastic voice that may even work better in English than it did in Japanese. Also, the music and sound effects are perfect! The songs are upbeat but a little bit off, like being at a circus in the Twilight Zone. The sound effects are just plain funny a lot of the time, especially the attack sounds.
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If you can get passed the initial learning curve, you will love this game. It is a lot of fun and something you can really sink hours and hours of playing time into. I haven't enjoyed a tactical RPG this much since Final Fantasy Tactics. There is a lot to do, and the story is so charmingly dark I just wanted to keep coming back for more. We need more demon anti-heroes in games these days. I'm just saying!
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It is no wonder Disgaea DS garners such positive reviews from critics and players alike. It is a journey you will not soon forget (or be able to put down considering how much content is in the game!). If you are willing to give it a shot and learn how to play this may become your favorite tactical RPG too. From a great story, to amusing and deep characters, to awesome gameplay, why don't you have this game yet, dood?
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