|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: NIS||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 23, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
It's impossible to describe Disgaea DS in-depth, because, honestly, the game has so much to it that such an exercise could take quite some time. The reason Disgaea stands out as a strategy title is because the player is given so much freedom to tackle maps as they so choose. Creative actions, such as throwing players (or foes) around the map or pairing up with other units for combo attacks, make it easy to adapt your strategy to the given situation. There is a wealth of gameplay opportunities, and the game is lengthy enough that you've ample time to explore them to your heart's content.
Another really interesting aspect to Disgaea DS is the geo panel system; a geo panel is a glowing symbol on the map, and a geo symbol is an item on the map that can be used to give stat bonuses to like-colored geo panels. It's a confusing and complex system (with mechanics like these, it's easy to see why SRPG newcomers are turned off by Disgaea), but it allows for some really interesting puzzle-like battles. I've tried completing battles taking advantage only of geo panels and it's too slow-paced for my liking. It's a better idea to use these to your advantage when the opportunity presents itself; when faced this way, the geo panels are yet another way that Disgaea remains unpredictable and consistently interesting.
Although it was originally made for the PS2, I find that Disgaea is a nice fit for the DS. The upper-screen is -- surprise! -- used for a map during battles, but with such a complex, intricate game as Disgaea, it makes a lot of sense, and the map is detailed enough to be really useful. Disgaea has never been a particularly great-looking game, and while it does get a bit cramped at times, Disgaea DS looks nice for the most part. Stylus control, on the other hand, doesn't work as well as it could have. That said, the d-pad and button method works perfectly fine, and I saw no reason to bother trying to get touch control to work as well.
Disgaea DS is an SPRG-fan's dream; it's got incredible customization options, the potential for hundreds of hours of gameplay, and a unique and varied job system. If you like strategy games, Disgaea is a wonderful series. That said, Disgaea DS is the third release of a single game, and it's becoming difficult to reconcile the game's awesomeness with that fact. This title doesn't offer enough to make it worth it to those who've already played the first Disgaea game on the PS2 or PSP, but if you've not yet played this game, than picking up Disgaea DS is a must.
CCC Freelance Writer