Super Hole Week Ender

Fuck the Super-Feetballs world championship: for athletically disinclined, "Disgaea 2 PC" will swallow you in its super time-hole
Monday, January 30, 2017 - 7:15am
"...the combat itself is very addictive and fun in a challenging way due to the endless variety of combination attacks that can be achieved depending on how your characters are positioned, resulting in hyperbolic and hilarious multiple attack animations that are deeply satisfying..."

Editor's Note:In keeping with a long-standing tradition, games critic and entertainment writer Seth "Fingers" Flynn Barkan always finds the most exciting stories as alternates to the Super Bowl. Last year, while writing for the now-defunct SlantNews service, he made a rebound-touchdown with his coverage of James Murray's birthday, incontestably proving that the pen is mightier than the jock-strap, and will always win - because Good is dumb.

Are you looking for a contest this weekend that isn't made of dead pig, concussed, overblown, under-worked, and outrageously overpaid?

No, I'm not talking about Donald Trump's face here, nor am I talking about the Super Bowl. I'm talking about a contest between your own mind and Time itself: first to tap out loses, and winner take-all.

If so, then let me introduce you to the recently-released "Disgaea 2 PC," a slickly updated Linux-compatible re-issue of brightly colored, anime-styled insanity chock-full of all the Japanese-flavored hardcore ultra-crazy that you can cram into your brain. If you let it get into your head, it will dominate and enslave your sanity, only to be found 20+ hours later, blind, drooling, clutching your gamepad, a deranged smile stitched across your (now thoroughly non-verbal) face. Here's the deal:

The game places you in control of Adell, a young man in desperate need of shirt sleeves and some serious, hard-core Demon-Overlord Vengeance. All of humanity has been turned into demons (cute, funny, surreal, JRPG-styled anime-demons), including his family. In order to save our species before our memories are entirely erased (thus becoming "full" demon), he embarks on a noble quest to slay the evil force that has cursed the land. Adeptly assisted by the treacherously buxom Rozlin - the Overlord's daughter, who attempts to lure our brainlessly noble hero to his doom at every turn - and a whole cast of hilariously absurd and surreal characters (all clad in ridiculously inappropriate anime-costumes), the player embarks on this great journey to meet their destiny.

While the vast majority of the actual gameplay consists of party-based, turn-based, tactical deployment of your characters in "Final Fantasy Tactics" esque strategy/action in 3.5 demi-isometric faux-3D area-arenas - the combat itself is very addictive and fun in a challenging way due to the endless variety of combination attacks that can be achieved depending on how your characters are positioned, resulting in hyperbolic and hilarious multiple attack animations that are deeply satisfying - the really insidiously addictive aspects of the game's mind-control powers come from the ways in which this combat system works with the in-game animated cut-scenes. Simple geographical geometry is rendered with gloriously jagged textures as the superbly animated and expressive pixelated sprites of the characters pantomime the story sequences, usually with hilarious dialogue delivered by voice acting that is superior even to most meticulously translated major anime films and TV series.

The fact that the characters are (conceptually) hilarious, likable, and entertaining in of themselves only sucks you further into the game's universe - whether you are a long-time fan whose intimately familiar with the game's universe or (like myself) totally uninitiated to the Disgaea series, you're going to end up laughing at (and liking) these characters.

Furthermore, the fact that this game was originally released on early 2000's-era next-gen consoles means that this new PC edition zooms you in up-close to the action, which (while unappealing for some polyester tourists) provides a fantastic and mesmerizingly beautiful master-class in sprite animation and pixel-art design. Simply put, if you are at all a fan of 2D sprites, they do not get better or more expressive or more fluid or more varied or more stylized than these.

Finally, after all of the above has sucked you into the game and made you its slave, the endless depth of inventory items, their upgradeability, and the supremely cleverly concealed infinite complexity of their use in your nuanced and sophisticated hands will erase entire days from your life in single-sitting-sized 20-hour-long servings. Once you become addicted to the game's infinite, procedurally-generated dungeon ("Item World," which uses the stats of an inventory item to create endless levels of pure, insane death and conquest) it will already be too late to stop and/or resist.

"Disgaea 2 PC" is a slightly more expensive risk than I'm usually willing to take on a blind chance, but it absolutely overflows with details and flourishes (in both gameplay, presentation, narrative, and interstitial randomness) and is positively incandescent with bright, shiny polish that make the near-infinite replayability seem like a sparkly parade of pure-gaming entertainment. So do as I do: fuck the Super Bowl and give yourself to the Super Hole. You'll be glad you did. Dood.  

-Seth "Fingers" Flynn Barkan is the author of "Blue Wizard Is About To Die," and is the host of the Best Linux Games Podcast, a weekly audio podcast covering only the best games available for the GNU/Linux Operating System. Which will own you, SUCKAH! (he can be contacted via twitter @Vegaswriter or by sending a message directly through Steam to "skookiesprite")