With the large popularity of Disgaea, it wasn't very surprising when a sequel was announced. Rather than change formulas as with Phantom Brave and Makai Kingdom, Disgaea 2 is purposely very similar to the original, and thus it is very likely that players will like or dislike Disgaea 2 for the same reasons. Though there are many minor improvements and additions, the styles of gameplay and humor remains virtually unchanged. The only real significant difference is that Disgaea 2 centers around one of the few heroic and uncorrupt characters this time around, rather than a rising overlord who commonly overlooks right and wrong. Even so, it's still possible to bribe or forcefully subdue the senate, conquer the demons that reside within each piece of equipment, and obliterate anything that stands in the way though. Also, the main character may be a good guy, but that doesn't mean his companions are. There's still plenty of deception and whatnot on the side.
"Most players will like it as much as they liked the original"
For those that haven't played Disgaea, battles take place on a tactical grid. In addition to the usual ability to attack, cast spells, and defend, it is also possible to lift and throw both allies and enemies. It's also possible to link attacks together and/or create powerful combos capable of defeating powerful enemies. One major thing to note is that the Disgaea series often focuses more on the strategy involved in quickly becoming powerful than on a player's tactical prowess. Tactics are still important, but brute force can easily turn the tide of battle. With a maximum level of 9999, fights can become unbalanced at times, especially the optional ones.
Disgaea 2's story is by no means epic. Like the original, it relies more on the characters and a good deal of humor than on a heavy plotline. While being familiar with the story of the original isn't necessary for the understanding or enjoyment of Disgaea 2's, it can certainly help. As usual, there are quite a few cameos from other NIS games such as Makai Kingdom, but the emphasis is obviously on Disgaea.
Despite its similarities to the original, there have still been several improvements. The interface has received a bit of a welcome upgrade, even if it is minor, and the visuals have received a decent overhaul. While it's not the most beautiful game around, Disgaea 2's sprite-based visuals have still improved much since the original. Many classes and abilities have been redesigned for the better. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the music, which reuses some pieces from the original, some of which players might be sick of as soon as they start the game. At least the sound effects are better this time around.
Those are only the beginning, though. There has been an enormous amount of optional material added this time around. It's possible to become a senator and vote on issues, fight loads of optional bosses, enter a shadowy version of the real world, or become a felon, which is actually looked upon with respect in the demon world. The item world, which was present in the original, also seems to have been improved to make it far more user-friendly without doing away with the challenge.
So far the game has been pretty enjoyable overall, though some parts ride the border between monotonous and addictive. Most players will like it as much as they liked the original, give or take. RPGamer will have a full review as the release date approaches.