While some memories may seem cursed, they might actually be pretty great. At least, that’s the case with Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. The second installment in the series is an incredible tactical RPG that proves the first game wasn’t some sort of fluke. Playing as the “bad” guys and chaining together thousands of points of damage will never get old.
Unfortunately, for as good as this particular entry is, it hasn’t received as many ports as the other ones. On the plus side, the rereleases that are available mean you could easily pick it up and play it on a PSP, Vita, or PS3.
Like every Disgaea game, Disgaea 2 involves an overlord. 15 years before the game began, Overlord Zenon cursed Veldime. As a result, all humans became demons. There’s only one human left: Adell. When a summoning spell to call Zenon out so Adell can fight him and undo the curse brings his daughter, Rozalin, instead, Adell and Rozalin head out on a journey to find her father so she can go home and he can have the curse lifted.
This means fighting on all sorts of grids, recruiting armies of original and generic party members, spending hours grinding in the Item World, and maybe dealing with ninja pirate invasions. Trust me when I say that it is one of the best games you will ever spend around 100 hours of your life playing. (That figure takes into account possible replays and maxing out characters, of course.)
Magnificent Dark Family
The one thing people might not expect from a Disgaea game is narrative depth. Yes, we expect systems to get into the nitty-gritty mechanics. But maybe the actual stories they tell could be more goofy and superficial than serious? But with Disgaea 2, we really get to explore the themes of identity and family.
With identity, it factors into the people who are trapped as part of Zenon’s curse. Take Hanako and Taro, Adell’s siblings. Both of them were born after Zenon’s curse has affected everyone. Being a demon is all they have ever known. Would they still be themselves after the fact? What about the rest of Adell’s family? The whole idea is that people have become heartless demons as a result of the curse, but they all clearly love and support each other. Yes, they snipe at one another sometimes, but there is real affection there.
Rozalin falls prey to this too. All she has ever known as life as Zenon’s daughter. She’s spent all of her time sheltered away. She hasn’t had a friend or people she could trust and be herself around. What happens now that she has that opportunity? How will she change and grow when she realizes she can be herself around Adell? That Taro sees how she is and admires her for it?
The concept of family really comes into play too. Adell begins the game by saying he wishes to become stronger so his family can be freed from the curse that overlooked him. He wants to make their lives better and will risk his own to achieve that goal. As for Rozalin, what is true love? How does her father actually feel about her? Is she just a pawn or something more? Admittedly, the manga does a much better of going over Rozalin’s family issues than the game, but their relationship is explored here too.
So many other Disgaea games have appeared on other platforms and in updated forms. It’s kind of nice to have one that hasn’t been overhyped and pushed too far. Especially since, in general, Disgaea 2 has tight mechanics and a good story. This is one PlayStation 2 Classic you should get on the PS2, on the PSP or Vita as Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days, or on the PS3 as a PS2 Classic.