I enjoyed the original Disgaea on the Playstation 2 when it first came out. However, I quickly lost faith with developer NIS when it became painfully obvious that they had no intention of doing anything original from that point on. Instead, they felt content to simply take Disgaea and add on more gameplay mechanics, whether those mechanics were taming monsters(La Pucelle), possesing items(Phantom Brave), or vehicles(Makai Kingdom). Now, they have come to the inevitable square-enix conclusion: why bother with making new story lines and characters when we can just release the original game on new platforms?
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against remakes(I own all four english versions of Final Fantasy IV, for example). I would have even encouraged releasing this game as a straight remake. It had become rather hard to find by the time the PSP version was announced, and easily sold for in excess of $70 on Amazon/Ebay in its height. The added bonus of add hoc multiplayer for trading and fighting only sweetens the deal, and the bonus Etna mode, where you play as LaHarl's sassy female second-in-command in an entire new campaign, was a nice addition.
However, there is one addition to this game that I am not particularly happy about, and thats the ball-bustingly brutal difficulty. The original PS2 version of this game was challenging, but it was a different, more cerebral kind of challenge. Through the use of Geo-Grids, specially colored squares on the maps which affect the characters standing on them, the developers created very original and challenging puzzles in many of the levels, which helped to relieve the monotony of the lumber across the grid, kill some dudes, rinse, repeat that characterises so many of these games. Once you "solved" many of these puzzles, the game presented only a modest challenge. However, now, in the PSP version, once you solve the puzzles, you must deal with brutally difficult enemies. In the original version, I only reached two "grind moments", moments in a RPG where you simply have to go back and level up your skills through some repetitive grinding before you can overcome the next challenge. In the PSP version, this was occuring every chapter by the time I reached chapter 7 of the game's 14 chapters, and sometimes, more than once in the same chapter.
Which brings me to my main argument agaisnt this game: GRINDING IS NOT FUN. I do not enjoy fighting the same two or three scenarios 30 times in order to gain enough power to advance another 15 minutes into the story. If NIS wanted to provide more difficulty for veteran players, then why not make a new gameplay mode called "expert mode" that the series vets can play, leaving the regular mode intact for newcomers who aren't masochistic? Doubling up on the difficulty is not the way to get players to commit more time to the game, but rather, its the way to make them run screaming from your franchise and never return.
Experience with the game: Played through the main campaign