Disgaea PSP First Look

It has been a long wait, but Disgaea PSP is finally coming to North America, and it's bringing along some all-new content.

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Disgaea PSP has been out in Japan for quite some time now, but there's been little information on if, and when, the fantasy turn-based strategy game would be hitting North American stores. Prinny fans will be pleased to know that the game is coming out this summer, and their patience is being rewarded with a plethora of new content that is exclusive to the North American version of the game, including ad hoc multiplayer and a new story arc.

The combat from the original Disgaea is unchanged here. You'll see a bit of story, which serves to lay out your objective, and then it's off to battle. The combat is turn-based and takes place on a grid. There are a large number of characters, each with their own unique abilities, weapons, and spells. The battle system has quite a bit of depth, and there's a lot of strategy involved, but the game ramps up slowly and is accessible to newcomers.

The main storyline will still follow the events of Prince Laharl, who has been asleep for two years. He's awoken by his vassal, Etna, to find that his father, the king of the Netherworld, has died. To make matters worse, demons are threatening to overtake the Netherworld kingdom, which is now rightfully his. But what if rather than beating Prince Laharl until he woke up, Etna killed the prince? That question will be answered by the new storyline, which follows Etna in her quest to become Beauty Queen Ultimate Overlord Etna and includes an all-new ending.

By far the biggest addition to the US version of the game is ad hoc multiplayer, which NIS promises is being carefully balanced to not always favor the person with the best party and items. Part of this balance comes from geo cubes, which can be used during battle to stop enemy movement, level up, gain the ultimate weapon, and 27 other special features. Before a battle, each player will receive five random geo cubes and can then select five more for a total of ten. These powerful cubes don't guarantee victory; there's lots of strategy involved. For starters, many geo cubes are more effective when combined with certain units, using a geo cube requires mana, and you don't know what geo cubes your opponent has. You'll be able to customize the multiplayer game in a number of ways. You can change the conditions for victory, pick from 10 duel maps (or randomly generated maps), add a "fog of war" effect, and even decide what items will appear on the maps. Once you settle your differences on the battlefield, you can use the ad hoc connection to purchase items from your friend or sell items to them.

There are plenty of other things to look forward to in Disgaea PSP. NIS promises a number of unlockable characters from previous titles, and you now have the ability to purchase background music by visiting the new music shop in Laharl's castle. The game's still a bit of a ways off, so some details are a bit scarce, but we'll have more on the game as its summer release date draws closer.

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