Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days – Final Thoughts

First of all, PHEW. That took a long time to finish. Somehow, this VGJ felt like it took more energy than any of the others so far. I’m not entirely sure why because I still like the game, but this fatigue makes me want to think critically about the game. I decided that it’s kind of the opposite of Soul Nomad and the World Eaters in that I like that game’s story more than that of Disgaea 2. However, I like the gameplay in Disgaea 2 better because it’s easier to understand and grind in the game.

The story is a simpler and less innovative tale than in Soul Nomad. It’s also more lighthearted and humorous. It’s safe to say that “revenge” and “family” are important themes in Disgaea 2, but I’ve seen other games do more interesting approaches to these themes.
One thing that interested me about returning to Disgaea 2 was a new understanding and, yes, appreciation for Rozalin. At first, I was pretty annoyed with her spoiled and conniving ways, but she definitely improves as a person over the course of the game. Ultimately, she comes off as a “spoiled sweet” character.
It was disappointing that the game didn’t show the immediate fallout of the fake Zenon’s demise. They could have shown Rozalin coping with the truth of her “father’s” identity, as well as her own identity as the reincarnation of Zenon. There is also the idea of your past reincarnation still being partially aware deep down inside of you, which is pretty scary…
In a way, it’s fitting that the fake Zenon died without getting any acknowledgment from the real deal. See, when you want revenge, it can turn into a perverse quest for approval…
The graphics are decent on the PSP screen, but are pretty dated now. However, the Disgaea art style is pretty unique.
The music is a mixed bag. I kind of like a few of the songs, but some of the instruments used sound off to me, creating a rougher sound ill-fitting of the compositions. My favorites are easily some of the theme songs, such as the intro and ending themes, as well as Axel’s theme.
The voice acting is another mixed bag. I don’t think that any of the performances are truly bad, but some of the direction and/or acting seems a little iffy. Shiloh Strong’s inflection as Axel is all over the place, but Wendee Lee is perf as Rozalin (she also voiced Taro); Lara Jill Miller is perfectly adorable as Yukimaru, zam; Kirk Thornton was a great Fubuki; and Lex Lang was great as the fake Zenon. Stephanie Sheh, one of my favorite actresses, voiced Hanako, but Hanako is kind of annoying and has the voice to match, so she’s not one of my favorite characters or performances for Sheh. The English translation added several jokes from the original Japanese script, but there are some passages where the text is iffy or mechanically flawed.
Several of the characters from Disgaea 2 are available as DLC in later Disgaea games. Disgaea 5 seems to harken back to the plot of Disgaea 2 a bit with its lead characters.

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