Asobee: Dark Souls – Episode 03

This week we push forward into the Undead Burg… that is until we come up between a rock and a hard place — a rock named Havel! Hah. He smashes us. A lot. WHAM. Just like that.

We also have a new dilemma for you guys to help us with! Should we: A.) Proceed beneath the Bridge Wyvern. B.) Face it head on or C.) Seek the key to the lower portion of Undead Burg? Let us know!

Here is a comic all about Havel the Rock trying to make it in this economy.

Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness DLC Schedule & Evility Info

I’ve clocked over 50 hours into Disgaea D2, and my Item Sea team is coming together nicely.  They’re an organized bunch, capable of exploiting elemental weaknesses, supporting each other, and stealing goodies.  Just the other day however, I received an e-mail from NIS America outlining all DLC characters to be released up until the end of January 2014.  While my team may be solidifying, I’m still open to adding others to the roster depending on what they can bring to the table.

For that reason, I’ve decided to dig a little deeper and find out what each DLC character’s Evility is.  This will allow me to imagine how they may or may not be a worthwhile addition to my team.  Please note that I am translating this information from a Japanese wiki so some Evility names may not match up.  Also, the chart NIS made is a bit misleading — it’s not $2.99 per character, it’s $2.99 per character pack which is divided based on the NIS game that characters are from.  I’ve color-coded the different DLC packs to make that fact more clear:

Character
 Date
Price
Evility
Fuka
2013-10-01
$2.99
Dream Girl: Damage received from Special Attacks is reduced by 50%.
Desco
2013-10-01
$2.99
Last Boss Mode: For each adjacent ally unit, attack power increase 20%.
Adell
2013-11-05
$2.99
Burning Spirit: When attacking or being targeted, stats increase 5% (max 100%)
Rozalin
2013-11-05
$2.99
Princess Shine: Male allied units attack powere increases 20%.
OR
Lonely Devil God: Stats increase 3% for every other unit on map.
Lilliel*
2013-11-05
$2.99
Recovery Barrier: When Lilliel or an ally move, Lilliel recovers 3% of her max HP for each panel moved.
Mao
2013-11-12
$2.99
Demon’s Vivisection: Allies within 3 panels deal 10% more damage -and enemies take 10% more damage.
Salvatore
2013-11-12
$2.99
R Command: Randomly increase adjacent ally’s Attack, Jump, Movement, Attack Range, or damage received.
Zetta
2013-11-26
$2.99
Strongest Overlord in the Universe: Attack power increased by 20%, and an additional 1% for each 200 levels.
Pram
2013-11-26
$2.99
Prediction: Evility randomly changes each turn between: adjacent enemy unit takes random damage, increase evasion for self and allies by 50%, all enemy units will become poisoned, ally unit’s INT increases 50%, attack power increases 100%.
Alex
2013-11-26
$2.99
God of Destruction: A random number of enemy units take damage at the end of each turn.
Marona
2013-12-10
$2.99
Miracle Ability: Increases stats of confined units by 30% (confine is a boosting special skill unique to Marona)
Metallia
2013-12-10
$2.99
Witch Power: Increase magic damage by 1oo% when attacking a solo enemy.
Ash
2013-12-10
$2.99
Water Dragon’s Ability: Increase stats by 20% for each turn that passes (max 240%)
Human Priere
2014-01-14
$2.99
Power of Purification: Deal damage to any enemy adjacent to target and any enemies adjacent to them.
Eclair
2014-01-14
$2.99
Defense Formation: When defending, ally units will automatically defend with half the effectiveness.
Overlord Priere
2014-01-14
$2.99
Converging Attack: Increase damage by 10% per open panel within attack area.
OR
Mass Blaster: Increase damage dealt by 20% per enemy unit within attack area.
Nisa
2014-01-28
$2.99
Flat Alliance: Increase stats by 5% for each “flat” unit on the map.  Flat units include: Etna, Flonne, Sicily, Fuka, Desko, Rasberyl, Petta, Lanzarote, Pram, Marona, Female Warrior, Female Mage, Thief, Archer, Witch Doctor, Saber Kitty, Alraune, Sea Angel
Gig
2014-01-28
$2.99
Gig Power Injection: Increase attack power of adjacent ally units by 30% of Gig’s attack.
Plume**
2014-01-28
$2.99
Battle Princess’s Bravery: Increases attack power of ally units by 10% for each unit defeated.

*If you don’t know who Lilliel is, here is what she looks like.
**If you don’t know who Plume is, here is what she looks like.

If you want to stay on top of these release dates, I’ve made a public Google Calendar you can use.  Since these DLC go so far into the future, I figure this will help me remember!

After looking through this list there are a few characters who I could see myself incorporating into my end-game team.  I really like Nisa’s style, and her Flat Alliance evility ensures a healthy stat boost since I apparently use a lot of characters who fit into this category… Ahem.  I’m also considering adding Marona since she can give any character a big boost from quite a distance — ideal for Item Sea-ing!  Which DLC characters are you considering adding to your team based on their evility?

Asobee: Dark Souls – Episode 02

In the second episode of our Dark Souls Let’s Play, we explore New Londo Ruins — but not before checking out Valley of Drakes and a bit of Blightown. After a solid attempt to communicate with ghosts, we decide to turn our sights back to Undead Burg. Wouldn’t ya know it, we even use those “worthless” binoculars!

We don’t have any dilemma for you guys to weigh in on this week, so just kick back and enjoy!

Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness Review

Disgaea D2 is the first direct sequel to a Disgaea game — in this case Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.  When I played the original (some ten years ago — my, how time flies) it was a turning point for me as a gamer.  I realized that a JRPG story could be light, funny, yet bittersweet.  I felt the thrill of becoming incrementally stronger and eventually overcoming insanely powerful enemies.  For these reasons (and more I won’t bore you with) I was worried about Disgaea D2 reopening these isolated, perfect memories and, well… wrecking up the place.  After spending quality time with the game, I’m relieved to say that Disgaea D2 enhances both my precious memories and the franchise as a whole.

Story — Yuie.  Yuie, everywhere.

Each story in a Disgaea title is primarily character driven.  The actual events that unfold generally pale in comparison to the secrets, emotions, and telling actions of the characters that fill the game’s ranks.  Disgaea D2 keeps this trend going, by taking the series’ most established characters — Laharl, Flonne, and Etna — and introducing new and unknown elements of their background.

Early in the game, the aspiring Overlord of the Underworld, Laharl learns that he may have a long-lost sister…  who is also an angel.  Angels and demons have dramatically different values — one devotes their existence to love and order, the other power and chaos.  I assume I don’t need to explain which is which (unless you’re a sociopath).

This realization leads to Laharl allowing his (possible) sister to follow him and his rag-tag band of demons around the Underworld.  Along the way, I saw the would-be Overlord slowly warm to his sister, eventually assuming a big-brother role, proving he is more than just a power-hungry maniac.  Seeing character norms broken always makes me smile.

Similar elements of Etna and Flonne’s backgrounds are also introduced, shining a light on what makes them tick.  In fairness, this formula is nothing new to the Disgaea series, but this is the first time revisiting established characters in a meaningful way, so I’ll let it slide.

System — I was born in a pirate ship

I want to meet the person who opened up the Disgaea engine and tweaked the ever-living heck out of Disgaea D2, because they knocked it out of the park.  Sure, it was probably a team of people, but I’d much rather believe it was a lone genius who has become one with strategy RPGs — like the architect from the Matrix.

Team attacks are as powerful as they should be, given that up to four units can participate if in close proximity.  This encouraged me to take advantage of a new affinity system that makes units who stick together in battle perform better together.  A streamlined master/student system allowed me to turn my entire team into warriors, healers, and stat-buffers.  The revamped Item Sea (not world anymore; sorry, geologists) turned slogging through floor after floor into a more enjoyable tower-defense play style — and offered some real-estate free of geo-panel effects.  Multiple evilities allowed me to customize my team, hone them, and come up with fun team combinations.  The list goes on.

 

The updated Item Sea makes Pirate Ship selection more important than ever

More so than ever, Disgaea D2 offers customization and streamlining.  This had me spending less time fiddling with the mundane so I could spend more time becoming stronger, diving deeper into the story, Item Sea, and sidequests.

Presentation — Super Idol Asagi

This is always the category where Disgaea titles lose points when placed under the eye of scrutiny.  I will say that this installment did introduce some new sprites: a female Armor Knight, a male Angel, and a few monster units returning from before the series’ recent graphical overhaul.  There were also re-imagined sprites for both Laharl (as a female) and Flonne (as a cos-player).  This little bit of change went a long way towards making me explore characters I normally wouldn’t.

Now for some complaints.  The opening movie (above) is very choppy — why can’t anime-style videos look halfway decent in video games?  Is it because they’re cheaply made or is it technical limitations?  It also seems to get cut off abruptly in the actual game.

I played a digital version of Disgaea D2, which was graciously given to me by NIS America.  Sadly, the game has frozen on me over a dozen times.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to what causes the freezing, and I’ve lost quite a bit of time due to this issue. It’s never a good feeling to worry that the game you’re playing could stop running at any moment.

Conclusion — Refinement

Disgaea D2 refined gameplay down to its purest state, resulting in some of the most solid SRPG gameplay I’ve ever experienced.  A number of much-needed tweaks regarding party maintenance take the confusion out of creating a frighteningly powerful army of your favorite units.  Finally, the story revisits beloved characters with all the laughs and poignant moments we’ve come to expect.  My memories and I couldn’t be happier about how this sequel was handled.

Asobee: Dark Souls – Episode 01

It’s finally here!  The first episode of our Dark Souls Let’s Play!  For this episode we create our character and escape from the Northern Undead Asylum.  After scoping out the different ways to proceed through Lordran, we ask you guys to help guide us!

If you’re a Dark Souls veteran and want to skip the information on character creation (and get right to the gameplay), go right to 16:18 where the action begins.

We ask for your input on how to advance at around 1:22:00 — let us know if we should keep going through the Undead Burg or backtrack to New Londo Ruins!