Not quite rhapsodic

I went to this Nippon Ichi thing last night and ended up writing brief pieces on Rhapsody DS and Disgaea DS afterwards. What I didn’t mention in those write-ups, because it seemed a bit too judgemental for mere first-look previews, is how disappointing I found both titles. I had been holding off on buying the PSP version of Disgaea to see how the DS one turned out, and now that I know the answer I think I will go Sony on this platform split. The DS one isn’t bad, but it just doesn’t feel quite as crisp as last year’s portable rendition, and I don’t care that much about the game that being able to recruit some minor NPC is a deciding factor for me.

As for Rhapsody, well… I tried to like it back when it was released for PlayStation, because aggressively whimsical and bizarre games from Japan were still something of a rarity a decade ago. But ultimately it was entirely too saccharine, and the strategy-lite gameplay did nothing for me. Ten years has not improved my feelings on the matter, it turns out. Still, I can respect a game that promotes the tactical use of baked goods, and I hope both games do OK. I like NIS on principle (even if they aren’t localizing Hoshi No Tori) and would like for the company not to die a horrible death.

Meanwhile, it’s back to Liberty City and its “Oscar-worthy story” (snerk) for me. I feel like I’m betraying my principles here, somehow.

11 thoughts on “Not quite rhapsodic

  1. I just wanted to be the one that pointed out this is entry 666! Spoooky! Wooo.

    Your articles on 1up are actually causing me to browse more of it now. I suspect I should go cold turkey soon.

  2. I jumped on the Disgaea bandwagon with the PSP version, and you’re right – nothing in the DS version stands out to me at all. Certainly not enough to replay it, at least. And I remember skipping out on the PS1 version of Rhapsody back then – I was young, there were Squaresoft games to be played. Despite your comments, I think the game should find a nice home on the DS. I’m gonna try not to pass it up this time. It’s also the type of game I wouldn’t want a passerby to see me playing on the TV, so it’ll be nice to have the more sneaky portable copy (yes, I must be that insecure…).

    And even though the PS3 is in dire need of some JRPG flavor, I’m a bit disappointed Disgaea 3 is exclusive to that platform – if it’s not going to take advantage of the system’s supposed capabilities, why put it there at all? A Wii or portable version would make more sense (of course, we might see that down the line too).

  3. “it seemed a bit too judgemental for mere first-look previews”

    Man, write what you see. It’s perfectly legitimate to be disappointed that the DS version loses some of that graphical fidelity and doesn’t use the hardware to its full potential.

  4. Yeah, Disgaea DS wasn’t quite what as polished as I had hoped it would be. There’s only so much you can do when porting down a game of its scope, but I just expected it to be a little easier on the eyes. Stylus control wasn’t too bad, but I’d probably opt for the superior PSP version myself.

    Not having headphones for Rhapsody seems silly in retrospect but eh, what can you do. At least they ditched the quasi-tactical battle system for the DS iteration. I couldn’t find you after my interview to say adios, but it was nice bumping into you. I had to jet and figure out how to upload 500mb worth of datadisc stuff over our FTP server. Ugh.

  5. Hm…I was thinking about trying out Disgaea on the PS2, but the DS one stopped me (I don’t have a PSP). Preview in hand, would you recommend the PS2 one over the DS one? I’ve been getting interested, but I want to know before I preorder/buy a version.

  6. I’ve heard about these Disgaea games but never played one. If I was going to pick one up which would be the best to start off with. Not from a story perspective (wikipedia for that) but something that does a better job of teaching you how to play the game.

    I picked up Monster Hunter 2: Freedom last Monday and didn’t like it at all. Just way to much text in the game for me. They did a really crappy job of explaining how to play the game.

    P.S. Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max for PSP is secretly the best version of Alpha 3. Amazing game on a crappy platform seems to be the story of the PSP life cycle.

  7. Uh, I’m all for being frank in previews… but only if I have more than five minutes with the game. I don’t think it’s fair to crap on them based on such brief experience. I basically saw the tutorials for each game, running on systems at a noisy bar with weird protective skins that interfered with the controls, and I’m not going to ream them until I have a little more to go on.

  8. I actually had fun with the PS1 version of Rhapsody as a light and fluffy break from other games, to the point where if it were a sequel on the DS I’d probably pick it up. I don’t think I really feel the need to play through the same game again, though. Too many other great DS games I need to play.

  9. Rhapsody on PS1 wasn’t very good. Lousy combat, lots of backtracking… I liked it more for what it represented than what it actually was. To me, it represented a rare instance of a shoujo-influenced game in English. And believe me, not only did I love shoujo then (in 2000, I’d experienced Fushigi Yugi, Utena, and several CLAMP works), but I still like the genre today. Back then, I wanted mainstream video games to become less of a “boys only, girls not allowed” treehouse — and even though things have changed, there’s lots of room to grow.

    My current “shoujo-style games to show off at conventions” collection consists of Rhapsody, Rayearth for Saturn, Harvest Moon MFOMT, Yo-Jin-Bo, and the indie game Cute Knight. None of them are life-changing games or stories, but hey, at least they’re not Barbie-based, and they’re competent.

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