Tuesday, December 2, 2008

TROLL ANTICS

My good friend "VaultDweller14" from Gamefaqs (who totally isn't just me in an alt account) asked me very nicely to post his review of Nippon Ichi's Disgaea 2 on this wonderful blog. After skimming through it I came to the conclusion that it was, in fact, the most accurate and eye-opening review of a Japanese RPG ever written. So, enjoy:

Disgaea 2: A perfect summary of everything that's wrong with the RPG industry.

Take the timeless, innovative work of Gary Gygax, run it through the dreaded Japanese Pop Culture Filter, add a hint of blasphemy to the mix and you get the Japanese RPG, a decidedly... strange genre. While other, truly talented developers such as Black Isle always tried their best to innovate role-playing games as a medium, Japanese developers like Nippon Ichi are desperately trying to stagnate everything in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Enter Disgaea 2, the latest Animé-style Japanophile favorite. Hell-bent on sexualizing children, spouting cliches and wasting the player's time in the most obnoxious manner possible while eliminating everything that made RPGs a fun method of escapism back in the day, Cursed Memories is part of the massive cancerous lump that has grown on top of the once-glorious RPG genre thanks to profit-loving Asian developers. But enough rambling; on to the sincere review.

Let's start with the most important part: The presence (or lack thereof) of actual role-playing. In Nippon Ichi's strange minds, the concept of role-playing equates to watching an anime while playing around with some menus every once in a while. Now, the main appeal of RPGs is PLAYING the ROLE of a character in a story; projecting yourself into an intriguing fantasy world as a way of escaping real life. Strangely enough for a game calling itself an RPG, Disgaea never greeted me with a deep and involving character creation screen. In fact, THERE WAS NO CHARACTER CREATION AT ALL. Instead, I was forced to play as a preset character known as Adell, an effeminate anime child with a disproportionately large head and nightmarishly huge eyes. Adell's home village was cursed to be slowly demonized by an evil overlord known as Zenon and it's up to Adell the demon hunter to track him down and save his village. All with the help of Rozalin, Zenon's large-breasted daughter who is constantly trying to murder Adell. I could literally come up with a better, less offensive story by running Planescape: Torment's script through about 6 different languages in Babel Fish, then back to English.

As if the lack of role-playing weren't horrible enough, the actual gameplay somehow manages to be even more annoying. Since NIS took the role-playing out of role-playing games, you'd think they at least left the game part in, right? WRONG! You start off in Adell's home village, which is filled with two-dimensional animé villagers. Great, I thought, a game where I can mercilessly murder countless people and pillage their corpses for items, but only after doing their heavily entertaining side quests. To my surprise, I couldn't actually hurt any of them; I tried every single button on my poorly designed PS2 controller (let's be fair here - nothing beats classic PC controls), but all it did was spawn a moronic dialogue box.

However, I soon found out that that not being able to kill Generic Tutorial NPC #96219874 was actually a good thing, to some extent - the game's battle system is nothing short of a steaming pile of manure. Just like every Japanese RPG out there, the game's combat equates to one single thing: HOURS UPON HOURS OF ENDLESS GRINDING. Did a fairly powerful boss enemy come up? Is there no logical, strategic way of destroying the badly drawn creature? Did you finally realize the fact that Disgaea 2 offers you no NPC dialogue choices, so there is really no possible way of recruiting powerful NPCs to aid you on your generic quest without having to use the awful peon creation screen? No worries, Nippon Ichi has just the thing: grinding. Simply go back and kill the same generic penguin enemy (wow, so wacky! NIS are true masters of surrealism) over and over again until you can finally move on. This isn't just an alternative; it's the only way of moving the extremely linear and predictable story. Even sub-standard Western RPGs such as Bethesda's Morrowind and Oblivion seem like awe-inspiring works of art compared to Disgaea's gameplay.

Lastly we have the graphics. What can I say about them - they're *anime*. Anyone who's ever sat through a full episode of Slayers without wincing at the highly disproportionate artwork will love every part of Disgaea's unique art style, right down to the tiniest low-res pixel. There is no hint of realism to be seen: the attack animations are composed of the same wacky, over the top drivel that the average Wapanese nerd drools over. The low-res textures could be easily replicated by a trained orangutan with a copy of MS Paint. With no arms.

What can I say? Disgaea 2 is a horrible game. I honestly wouldn't recommend it to anyone; there are countless superior RPGs out there. If hours of grinding is your kind of thing, I assume that you haven't actually played a true RPG to this point. Do yourself a favor and pick up Fallout, you won't regret it.

Reviewer's Score: 1/10

And now, a horse piloting a giant robot.

2 Comments:

At December 11, 2008 at 10:37 AM , Blogger Robin said...

delivers

 
At March 3, 2010 at 12:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Survival group against God?? LOL. Good luck with that. Truth is, no one knows the exact time this will happen except the man upstairs, however, I firmly believe that there are people placed here by God that post the warning signs and it's up to you to take heed.
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