Disgaea: Hour of Darkness PlayStation 2


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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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]
  5. 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.
  6. 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".
  7. 80
    While it's not for casual folk, the battles are so addictive that hardcore gamers may never need another strategy RPG ever.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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. 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]
  12. 80
    Disgaea's loose, unorthodox gameplay, plus its tongue-in-cheek attitude, is just what the genre needs.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. AceGamez
    With an involved and engaging RPG element, it sticks out above titles like "Final Fantasy Tactics" as being the best around.
  16. 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]
  17. 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]
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. It's engrossing and amazingly, imparts a deep, genuine love for numbers.
  22. 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]
  23. 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.
  24. PSM Magazine
    It's Disgaea's wacky persona and challenge that will win over hardcore genre fans in the end. [Oct 2003, p.40]
  25. 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.
  26. I’ll briefly abandon my objective viewpoint and daringly say that I love Disgaea. But I can find very little to strongly recommend about it.
  27. 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.
  28. netjak
    The best game I've played this year.
  29. 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]
  30. Disgaea’s visual and aural components may be somewhat dated, but the gameplay suffers from no such ailment.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. GameNow
    While Disgaea sure isn't as elegant and polished a game as "FFTA," it's definitely fun. [Oct 2003, p.58]
  35. This game can be summed up quite simply: If you love tactical RPGs, then you will love this game.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 76
    Overall, with a few points taken off for conflicts between graphics and gameplay, Disgaea is pretty fun.
  39. 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."
  40. Combine chess, manga, Dungeons & Dragons, and corrupt politics, and you can imagine the new season of Everybody Loves Raymond, I mean, this game.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.

Awards & Rankings

#48 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 74 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  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. Sep 17, 2014
    Not really a game for anyone with OCD or severe completionist anxiety.

    This game has the potential to be never ending. I had gone into it
    Not really a game for anyone with OCD or severe completionist anxiety.

    This game has the potential to be never ending. I had gone into it over 150 hours until I realized this. While I am a big fan of long games, there is also such a thing as too much.

    That aside. Animation is good, and done loyally to anime standards. Voice acting is a bit hammy but it just adds to the charm. The story is also interesting, but thanks to the deeply addictive and lengthy gameplay, does tend to get lost..

    Disgaea is a nice fun game and really cements the tactical role playing game genre. However, the lack boundaries and possibly endless gameplay it is far too easy to get lost and lose the plot. My advice, don't try to do everything, do what you need to and move on. Otherwise you might never finish.
    Full Review »
  3. Oct 22, 2013
    Loved this game the moment I played it. As long as you don't mind the anime story telling, this title started the best strategy RPG series toLoved this game the moment I played it. As long as you don't mind the anime story telling, this title started the best strategy RPG series to date. I still can't believe how deep these games can be. Atlus had really outdone themselves. Full Review »