May 17, 2015

The Disgaea Pit

Posted in video games tagged , at 7:53 pm by riulyn

At work (my post-doc research, not game-testing), we have been referring to my project as the “dopamine pit” aka trying to explore all the proteins affected by dopamine is like falling into a pit, because there are just so many proteins that are worth investigating. After spending a good 70 hours messing around in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, I think I’m teetering at the edge of the Disgaea pit.

What’s so great about Disgaea? For a tactical RPG, it does so much right. Tons of classes. Tons of ways to customize characters of each class. Yes, that means they allow you to make super-powered, amazing characters. They don’t punish you for doing this but rather, they just allow you to access some incredibly difficult maps so you can put your ultimate characters to the test. While I definitely could have gotten through the story a lot faster than I did, I don’t feel like the “grinding” I did felt repetitive as it can be in many other games. I wanted to teach my fire mage all the other magics (all the elements and healing magic too) and not make a prism mage, though a prism mage would have certainly be more effective. I decided maybe halfway through the game that I’d play with some more classes and my Ronin ended up being majorly kickass (once I put good armor on her, way more kickass than Laharl who ended up being a pretty good tank/healer). For now I’m going to move on to Disgaea D2 even though I have plenty I’d like to mess around with in Disgaea Hour of Darkness. However, there’s also Disgaea 2-4 to play too (I only have Disgaea 3 on me, but I can easily get 2 & 4).

The second great thing about Disgaea is that the maps are very different from each other and not just throw more enemies at the party as the game gets further in. For a tactical game it has at least 50 maps in the main story alone, and then all the item world and bonus maps. I’m sure this is improved on even more the further into the series you go.

The third great thing about Disgaea is that it rewards you for comboing your attacks. It’s really satisfying to make a huge combo chain and just see the damage continue to rack up. Just maneuvering all the units to be in position, and then choosing the order… It’s just really cool to see it play out just as you intended. Or sometimes you get too good, and the combo gets cut short because you absolutely obliterated the enemy with your insanely high INT or high ATK unit…whoops.

I think the only thing that hasn’t caused me to fall completely into the Disgaea pit is the Disgaea time commitment. I don’t know how to get through a Disgaea game without doing “grinding”, because I enjoy the “grind”, but I also have a sizeable backlog to work through. The time wouldn’t be as much of an issue if I had more emotional investment in the story/characters. While I really loved the interactions of Laharl, Etna, and Flonne, I have read that the later entries don’t have as much charm. That doesn’t mean they could still be quite good, but only D2 is directly related to Disgaea 1, so that’s why my next move in the Disgaea pit will be there. Also, with parody/humor games, I find them great because I can laugh a lot while going through plot scenes, but I also don’t have this desperate need to see what happens next. Which is probably a good thing, as I don’t think the days of staying up late because I couldn’t put down my controller will be so good for my future…

One last note, since I haven’t talked music on this blog much recently. There are a few themes I quite like in Disgaea 1 (like Red Moon), but mostly the soundtrack is serviceable in my opinion. I’ll find myself whistling the “home base” music once in a while, but otherwise I don’t really go around thinking about Disgaea music without being prompted.


1 Comment »

  1. Prof.mcstevie said,

    The few tunes that do stick with me after Disgaea are all ones I enjoy humming luckily, some games leave me with the 5 second chorus of a song I hate because it’s so catchy.

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