Have you ever ever performed a sport and thought, “Are we truly the unhealthy guys right here?” Normally, the entire “we’re combating on the fallacious facet of historical past” line is a deliberate plot gadget in RPGs, providing moments of readability to not solely peel again the curtain and supply recent impetus for the occasions but to return, but in addition to cleverly reframe all the things you have achieved to date. I do not say this to spoil the occasions of The DioField Chronicle, the brand new real-time technique sport from Lancarse and Sq. Enix, however it’s a query I discovered myself asking rather a lot throughout its center act – and it by no means fairly delivers the punchline you are searching for.
Round 8-10 hours into the sport, there’s an prolonged portion of the marketing campaign that sees your band of Blue Fox mercenaries bringing a whole area of DioField Island to heel as a result of they’re, err, professional democracy. Of the forged’s central quartet, just one stands up as a voice of purpose when motions are made to quell these despicable riots, however he is repeatedly shot down each time he tries to supply an alternate view. Finally, one character says to him, and I quote, “Isca, what has acquired into you? You must know the hazard posed by the ideology of democracy.” It is an odd stance for somebody clearly not a villain to absorb 2022, though actually, I ought to have most likely seen it coming. Our mercs work for a duke in any case, and most are aristocratic nobles who’re useful with a sword. Oh no. I feel this would possibly truly be performed: Tories – The Sport. Yuck.
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It is a unusual sensation. I saved ready for the penny to lastly drop. For extra characters to begin questioning their lord’s motives, or a minimum of do it a wee bit quicker. However six hours glided by, then eight, then ten, and nonetheless nothing appeared to fairly click on into place. The DioField Chronicle’s story of invading nations and insurgent armies is advanced and convoluted to observe at the most effective of occasions, with one nefarious lord seamlessly changing one other as quickly as they’re put to the sword, however by no means have I felt so alienated by a sport’s important forged earlier than.
There are a few good eggs to be discovered amongst its scheming leads – Iscarion, for one, in addition to nation lass Rickenback, and possibly the younger mage Estalt at a push – however when nearly all of them are such a unpleasant bunch, it makes following DioField’s story of political backstabbing a little bit of a chore. There’s none of that Hearth Emblem-style giddiness on present to make you need to rush again to your explorable camp between missions, and watching these as soon as righteous characters flip into proto tyrants all a bit disappointing. Certainly, the transformation of 1 character particularly from mysterious cleric to an entitled, blood-crazed maniac is so violent and sudden that it fully destroys any sense of goodwill that may have been constructing towards her. It is sufficient to make you maintain up your palms and say, “I am out,” earlier than you even get to the sport’s midway level. By no means thoughts sticking round to see if issues get any higher. So far as I am involved, this complete caravan of warriors can all trundle straight into the ocean.
There are vignette sub-quest conversations you may pursue to assist fill out a few of their again tales, however your solely reward for doing so is a wad of money. Attending to know these characters would not deliver any tangible advantages to you in battle, nor does pairing characters collectively as leads and reserves. It is all only a chilly change of abilities and providers, fully missing the center and sincerity that makes Hearth Emblem so moreish each on and off the battlefield.
It is an actual disgrace, because the precise second to second fight is basically fairly thrilling. Battles play out in real-time in The DioField Chronicle, albeit with a wholesome dose of tactical pause to permit time for issuing orders, manoeuvring your get together of 4 and discovering enemy sight strains. You may choose particular person enemies to your staff to assault routinely, however the true enjoyable comes from unleashing their respective particular assaults. These all have their very own related price you may have to handle and sometimes high up over the course of a mission, however their vibrant visible prospers deliver a welcome sense of drama to the battlefield and are as satisfying to look at as any Last Fantasy battle.
Positioning performs a key position in DioField’s scraps as properly, with characters doling out heftier ‘ambush’ assaults in the event that they’re stationed behind an enemy. Numerous particular talents will provide help to get into these prime positions, however others will even push enemies again, or cowl particular areas of impact. All of this is applicable to your enemies as properly, although, and even simply making easy changes to get your get together out of the crosshairs of a fire-breathing dragon assault, or touchdown a well-timed stun arrow to halt the devastating swing of an axe is simply as tense and thrilling as dealing a killing blow.
There’s rather a lot to dig into with the 4 important character lessons as properly, with upgradeable talents, weapons (which additionally dictate mentioned talents) and Last Fantasy-style summon monsters all out there to energy up and broaden as you acquire extra sources. Nevertheless, whereas there’s a Hearth Emblem-style rock paper scissors system in place right here to make some models more practical towards others, it solely makes the tiniest of ripples. As a rule, it is sheer numbers that win the day in DioField Chronicle, and so long as you have acquired most of your get together whaling on the identical enemy, you are normally fairly secure. Battles do not feel stale and repetitive due to this can be a testomony to the power and depth of DioField’s mission varieties, that are continually chucking new issues at you, or providing up new twists on what you have finished earlier than. It certain is aware of the best way to problem its gamers, which makes it all of the extra disappointing when it would not have the story or wealthy pool of characters to make it sing.
Look previous the marginally doubtful plot and there is a lot to take pleasure in about The DioField Chronicle’s fight, however when it is a full-priced sport I can’t in good conscience say it is ‘price a punt’ when half of it leaves such a bitter aftertaste. You may cease caring about this band of mercs lengthy earlier than they do something to try to redeem themselves, and there merely are higher RPGs and higher technique video games on the market to sink your tooth into as a substitute. It is a disgrace, particularly when its free first chapter demo appeared so promising simply a few months in the past, however alas, the central forged simply completely misplaced me midway via. It will not be the best plot twist you have ever seen, however a minimum of you may be on the fitting facet of historical past this time.