Ah Disgaea, before it was released on the DS it was actually one of my favorite PS2 games, so this review is already biased at best. None the less, I will forge ahead …
In short Disgaea is a tactics game, you have characters with limited movement on a grid and moves that cover a set area, depending on class and weapon, and then you do your thing. Basically every stage is a sort of puzzle where you have to figure out how to clear it, and there’s an entire subgame that is made up of much more complex puzzles called the Item World (the world inside your items). All that being said the game is insanely cute, the sprites, which looked wonky on the big TV, are absolutely perfect in their revamped DS incarnation, and the character design is among my favorites of all time. In the main game you follow Laharl, new Overlord of the Netherworld, and his group of increasingly strange companions as they stake Laharl’s claim to the throne and have adventures beyond. There are classes of monsters and humans to unlock, weapons to master, and extremely amusing cut scenes to be seen. When you finish the game there’s a new game plus and, if you’re lucky, a new mini-plot to play through. Also, if you don’t like the ending you got, there are more than a few “alternate endings” available for some extra time and effort.
One of the only ways the DS version suffers over the PS2 version is that there isn’t much voice acting, which gave so much of the personality to the characters in the original version of the game. Since I already played the original though I really don’t know how endearing the plot would be to someone whose never heard the voices, but I think it would still entertain.
One of the best things about Disgaea is that you can put as much into it as you like and there’s still more to do, it kept me entertained on a lot of downtime when I was on vacation and it’s super cute to look at without being, well, fluffy. Especially in Item World it’s a game where using your brain, planning ahead, all that nerdy video game stuff, actually pays off, but at the same time it doesn’t overwhelm you to the point of paralysis in the way that Phantom Brave and, to a lesser extent, Disgaea 2, did. I would say though, for younger players, it could probably be pretty frustrating slash not hold ones attention, but it’s really a game for non-twitch gamers who still enjoy a challenge now and then.