Nippon Ichi Software is known as one of the top companies for bringing high-profile Japanese RPGs to the western market. Square Enix has Final Fantasy, Atlus has Persona, and NIS has Disgaea. First debuting on the PS2 a decade ago, Disgaea has become the most recognized series for NIS. Now, a long wait for fans is over, as Prince Laharl is back on the tenth anniversary of his North American debut.
Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness is a proper, direct sequel to Hour of Darkness. While the other numbered entries take place in the same universe and worlds, they have different protagonists and antagonists, which makes A Brighter Darkness' cohesive plot something of an exception. Laharl, Etna and Flonne all return, a little older, as the story continues from the fallout of the end of the first Disgaea. Fans of the first game will be happy that the great voice acting from before is back, as if there were no ten-year wait.
This being an NIS game, Disgaea D2's humor, dialogue, and gameplay systems aren't afraid to thumb their noses at the establishment. If you have played any of the Disgaea games, you'll immediately notice the formula hasn't changed. The insane 9999 level cap, the item world, geo blocks, the tactics gameplay--everything is back. But small formula tweaks make things a little less grindy and a little more fun. Item world maps are smaller to help quicken the lengthy process of leveling items. A new training gym has been added that passively gives stat boosts to characters when they level, and each part of the gym levels up over time to give better stat boosts. Lastly, and most importantly, the best addition is that of the cheat shop, which streamlines grinding to an exact science. Need money? Lower the XP gauge in the cheat shop and add the difference to the money gauge to get more moolah in every fight. Tired of weak enemies? Manually make them stronger for a challenge or to level up faster. The cheat shop is a fun addition that starts off rather basic but quickly grows to accommodate a wide array of interesting offerings.