Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
Buy On
  1. Pure immature fun with a story. You will like the comic mischief and the spell effects along with the sound track and voice acting. I simply cannot think of anything wrong with this game other than the visuals.
  2. A brilliant masterpiece in every sense of the word... Simply put, you must play this game if you have even the slightest interest in the strategy role-playing genre.
  3. netjak
    The best game I've played this year.
  4. The translation is natural (hats off to Atlus on that point), and the sense of humor that Disgaea carries is unrelentingly brilliant in both languages... A fantastic game that's worth every penny.
  5. A test of your strategic skills. From the tactics-based fighting, to the persuasion of the Dark Assembly, to the creation of characters, every aspect requires you to consider how your decision will affect you down the road.
  6. Both complex, yet brilliantly simple, deep but immediately playable, and long-term habit forming whilst retaining the ability to kill you in seconds. It makes heroin look like sherbet dip.
  7. 92
    The most amazing thing about Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, though, is just how incredibly fun it is. Humorous, entertaining, and different from just about anything else in its category, we aren't afraid to say that it's one of the best PlayStation 2 titles this year.
  8. This is a game for people who take great joy in leveling their characters to the point where the peons the game throws at you are hardly capable of touching you, let alone killing you. The impressive thing is that the game manages to be engaging to that type of player without becoming a game where you have to keep track of every tiny stat on all of your characters.
  9. There's just so much to do, so much to unlock, with and an incredibly deep battle system and an interesting story line, there's plenty to keep you coming back for more. "Final Fantasy Tactics Advance" take notice: you have competition.
  10. games(TM)
    Disgaea is without doubt the defining moment in turn-based strategy. Not since Dark Cloud 2 has a game offered so much in terms of optional further play, and we'd seriously question whether any other title will dare brave this lofty plateau of life-emaciating gameplay. [Jan 2004, p.108]
  11. The game is funny. REALLY funny. It makes fun of itself, of typical Japanese RPG conventions, even of Heaven and Hell. Disgaea is the best game of its type to come along in a long while.
  12. It's engrossing and amazingly, imparts a deep, genuine love for numbers.
  13. Although its strength lies in depth, longevity and gameplay rather than in artistry and atmosphere, it still deserves to stand shoulder to shoulder with ICO in the rankings of "the best games you've never played".
  14. 90
    It is quite possible to complete the game without understanding classes, geo blocks, assembly ranks and item world, but in doing so you will miss out on the very thing that makes the game hugely intoxicating.
  15. Creeps into your life under the simple guise of a game and soon dominates your every waking (and occasionally sleeping) moment. It's like being possessed in The Exorcist or like a pod person in Invasion of the Body Snatchers—you still look like you, but you're sort of a shell of your former self because all of your faculties are focused on the game.
  16. Edge Magazine
    The micromanagement is on a previously unimagined macro scale and yet is accessible and coherent enough to draw you in, making hours of concentrated playtime pass like minutes. [Dec 2003, p.101]
  17. The best of its type on any console. Not for everyone, of course, but it's easily the best strategy title in a very long time. Shame about the crap visuals, though.
  18. This game can be summed up quite simply: If you love tactical RPGs, then you will love this game.
  19. Game Informer
    Has amazing attention to detail, thrilling battles, and a great story to boot. Snatch it up quick before it disappears like all other Atlus classics before it. [Sept 2003, p.108]
  20. What we have here is a game that follows the norm in basic premise as to what we’ve come to expect from console strategy RPGs, but twists it just enough to play a little different and still be very fun.
  21. 85
    I thought I had totally burnt myself out, playing for over four hours a day for over a week. I wondered if it was possible to ruin a game by playing it too much. But 60 hours in, I still want more.
  22. The near limitless play potential makes this game a godsend for obsessive, compulsive fans of this style of play, and the ocean deep gameplay ensures that there is always something new to do.
  23. Disgaea can be on the tough side, and the 'game over' screen will come up often, but with the Item World, the ability to continuously develop new characters from a pool of 150 and characters that can level up in four areas, the advantage is on your side.
  24. Play Magazine
    Amidst these new gameplay twists and smart quirkiness, though, Disgaea's greatest strength lies in its foundation of traditional strategy gameplay; little to be called revolutionary, just good, solid fun. [Sept 2003, p.68]
  25. This is one of those games that could literally last you a couple of hundred hours if you let it, and if that sounds exciting rather than just plain scary, then by all means give the game a shot.
  26. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Atlus separates the men from the quivering, weeping boys with one of the funniest, deepest, and downright dastardly RPG's you'll ever play. [Oct 2003, p.150]
  27. A great strategy game. The game will appeal instantly to anyone who has played "Final Fantasy Tactics," the "Ogre Battle" series, or other strategy games for the Playstation 1.
  28. GMR Magazine
    One of the only meals in town for a PS2-owning strategy fan, but it's the equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet. [Oct 2003, p.72]
  29. Combine chess, manga, Dungeons & Dragons, and corrupt politics, and you can imagine the new season of Everybody Loves Raymond, I mean, this game.
  30. 80
    Disgaea's loose, unorthodox gameplay, plus its tongue-in-cheek attitude, is just what the genre needs.
  31. It’s a game that has almost unlimited replay value and depth, whilst the tutorial section does an admirable job of introducing you to the genre if you’re new to this type of game.
  32. Perhaps if it had the graphical accompaniment, and the in depth storyline that it deserves, we could be looking at a game that will be remembered as fondly as "Final Fantasy VII."
  33. 80
    While I found the in-battle graphics to be a bit bland and the musical score a tad bit dull, the gameplay is solid.
  34. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    An extremely robust and flexible item-creation system, and one that offers hours upon hours of gameplay beyond the main story. [Sept 2003, p.100]
  35. AceGamez
    With an involved and engaging RPG element, it sticks out above titles like "Final Fantasy Tactics" as being the best around.
  36. Disgaea’s visual and aural components may be somewhat dated, but the gameplay suffers from no such ailment.
  37. 80
    While it's not for casual folk, the battles are so addictive that hardcore gamers may never need another strategy RPG ever.
  38. 76
    Overall, with a few points taken off for conflicts between graphics and gameplay, Disgaea is pretty fun.
  39. GameNow
    While Disgaea sure isn't as elegant and polished a game as "FFTA," it's definitely fun. [Oct 2003, p.58]
  40. 75
    If Disgaea: Hour of Darkness was a person, they would have a red hand stamp labelled "Insane" and would be locked up in an asylum cell.

Awards & Rankings

#44 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2003
#67 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 81 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 71 out of 81
  2. Negative: 4 out of 81
  1. IgorS.
    Oct 8, 2008
    I played through Phantom Brave before I played through this and I have to say that I'm very disappointed in NIS. They could have done I played through Phantom Brave before I played through this and I have to say that I'm very disappointed in NIS. They could have done something a bit more out there and have a good game with great gameplay like Phantom Brave or La Pucelle Tactics, but instead they have the gall to create the most bland pathetic excuse for a game. I've played all the way through this game once just to make sure I wouldn't miss any of this awesome stuff that everyone talks about and I can't find it anywhere. Gameplay is bland you can sit and level up until you can destroy everything in your path with one punch. There is no challenge anywhere in it. Storyline is horrible, and the only memorable characters are the minor roled prinnies. Also to ANYONE and I mean ANYONE who thinks that this game is funny in the least bit. I WANT TO PUNCH YOU THROUGH THE INTERNET. This dialogue is not funny, and it never will be. I hardly even cracked a smile while playing this game. Full Review »
  2. Feb 25, 2018
    Jogo muito nostálgico, trilha sonora encantadora, gráficos e estilo artístico simplista e confortante, uma verdadeira obra de arte. MecânicasJogo muito nostálgico, trilha sonora encantadora, gráficos e estilo artístico simplista e confortante, uma verdadeira obra de arte. Mecânicas do item world e evolução das armas, imersão de história, progressão de dificuldade e infinidade de aprendizado de skills e itens, são tantas coisas que eu só posso dizer "10...nota 10". Full Review »
  3. Apr 11, 2017
    D'un humour douteux très infantile, Disgaea ne fera sourire que les enfants de Forrest, Forrest Gump. En outre c'est tout en anglais.D'un humour douteux très infantile, Disgaea ne fera sourire que les enfants de Forrest, Forrest Gump. En outre c'est tout en anglais. Techniquement c'est une atrocité sans nom dont même une Gameboy aurait honte et les combats en tour par tour sont aussi lourds que pénibles et affreusement lents, le tout desservi par une interface à revoir. Je suis au désespoir : même la poubelle n'en veut pas. Full Review »