reflekshun's Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (Greatest Hits) (PlayStation 2) review

A solid SRPG with a great sense of fun and humor.

Unlike most SRPGs, this game's 'rules' and general gameplay are very loose and relaxed. You don't feel like you are on rails when developing your team, or battling out on a map. There are certain 'rules' that can be exploited, but somehow don't spoil your game experience, they rather enhance the possibilities - almost like the developers expect you to exploit the system they built.

Developing your team is very free and open, because while there is A LOT of variety in possible teams (and I mean A LOT!), you don't *need* to have any particular class type to get through the game, its completely up to you what you think will make a fun team, what classes attract you, and which you want to focus on and develop skills in. There is the standard 'levelling up' which will gain you stat points, but skills (special moves of which there are MANY and I mean MANY) develop the more you use them - very satisfying.

The combinations and possibilities available during battle also open things up immensely. The 'Lift' function is something that really adds to this (allows you to lift team mate or enemy and throw them. This can be used to extend your team's movement or to move an enemy away, or right in the middle of your team, or vice versa if you're powerful enough!).

There are so many more gameplay mechanics here that i have not seen before and they all work wonderfully! Theres always something different to do to keep things interesting, thus making it a very addictive game.

After playing through alot of the Final Fantasy titles, I have become weary of 'grinding' and am not a fan of it. However, Disgaea's maps are so carefully created, that you will WANT to revisit particular maps over and over again. Strange as it sounds, the map quality reminds me of Doom quality map design.

Last but not least - the story.

AWESOME!

It really is AWESOME! It makes fun of itself and many other stereotypes, while being lighthearted and VERY funny, it has a gold mine of morals, wildly diverse perspectives and story ideas to ponder on. The characters are very distinct and completely lovable. What can i say, as great as this game is, I would be prepared to just watch a DVD of all the dialogue that make up this story, because its just that entertaining!

This game will last you FOREVER, you can level up to lvl 9999 if you really want. This is a gold mine of SRPG fun, a must have for anyone who is interested in the genre. Disgaea is a very solid piece of SRPG history.

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