Basically a protracted sequence of tactical battles, Diofield Chronicle’s design falls into an early routine from which it’s reluctant to deviate, whereas its fantasy world apes the war-room politicking of Recreation of Thrones with a deal with transferring the chess items on the expense of credible character improvement. Flashes of progress are seen in its fight, and the occasional voice dares to query a realm dominated by divine authority, however each efforts are finally futile, crushed by an exhausting and relentless conflict machine.
Because the title suggests, Diofield itself is a holy land–God’s country–where the hereditary monarchy is assured by every new ruler sporting the Mark of the Blessed, a birthmark of types that seems to resemble a vein of valuable gems. But a frail king and the homicide of his inheritor has brought on a succession disaster, with factions forming round a number of candidates whereas neighboring empires eye a chance to broaden their borders. Armies march throughout a map straight out of the Recreation of Thrones opening credit whereas these in command conduct sober debate about their subsequent energy play. These are critical individuals making critical choices, it appears to suggest. Everybody concerned speaks as if by way of clenched-jaw, and with curiously little emotion, a vocal efficiency that’s maybe meant to point the gravity of the scenario however as a substitute tends to recommend everyone seems to be a bit bored.
Your perspective on occasions is thru the eyes of Andrias Rhondarson, who’s the boyhood good friend and servant of the murdered inheritor, now grown-up and main a band of mercenaries within the make use of of the crown. Andrias makes for a uninteresting lead, as he is disinclined to disclose his internal ideas, whereas the ponderous, typically humorless conversations he has with the remainder of the forged do little to heat you to his plight, or anybody elses for that matter. In pretty typical JPRG type, few of the core forged look a day older than 18 but carry themselves, whether or not debating technique across the desk or reflecting on the final mission, with the world-weariness of a practical veteran normal. It is laborious stuff and serves largely to focus on the necessity for a faster technique of skipping by way of every scene.
Between missions you discover the sparsely embellished preserve that serves as firm HQ, amassing new missions, looking for weapons and consumables, and upgrading the social gathering’s skills. Helpfully, the map exhibits the place missions may be collected and conversations may be held, in addition to whether or not the service provider or analysis station have new objects obtainable, and you’ll fast-travel between places in mere seconds. As you recruit new social gathering members, this hub space regularly turns into extra populated over time, however regardless of the presence of aspect missions to unlock further options and a brand new space, it fails to really feel like residence. Not far more than a group of bland, typically empty rooms, the HQ is basically a glorified menu. Returning to the hub must be accompanied by a way of marvel at what may need modified or developed; as a substitute it is extra of a weary resignation that you will must hop between hotspots whereas clicking by way of a bunch of boring dialogue.
Battles happen in real-time with the motion pausing mechanically whenever you problem a motion order or a command to make use of a capability. This may give proceedings a jarring stop-start really feel, however it does permit time to suppose each step of the way in which and, crucially, make small adjustments–say, telling a personality to step a couple of ft to the aspect to keep away from an incoming assault.
The fight appears attention-grabbing at first however fails to develop, seemingly content material to tread the identical floor from begin to end
The fight appears attention-grabbing at first however fails to develop, seemingly content material to tread the identical floor from begin to end. Surprises are restricted to yet one more wave of enemies quite than any try and chart new territory. Enemies boil down to 2 types–ranged and melee–with variations diminished to stronger variations and a few very barely totally different assaults. Your social gathering members are available in 4 lessons: soldier (the defensive tank), cavalier (cell harm), sharpshooter (ranged harm), and magicker (therapeutic and buffs with some ranged harm). These characters require moderately totally different ways to maximise their potential. You are not simply telling everybody to assault that enemy and sitting again; it is important you inform your cavalier to flank the enemy and achieve the ambush assault bonus, or to have your soldier provoke particular enemies into attacking her, or to instruct your magicker to forged Sanctuary on the bottom your soldier is holding, or have your sharpshooter hearth off a stun shot to interrupt an enemy getting ready a particular assault.
However as you progress deeper, the problem of fight would not escalate in attention-grabbing methods. Positive, there are a couple of extra enemies to face without delay. Positive, they’ve a pair extra tips up their sleeve than mere primary assaults. And positive, there’s the odd boss with a number of well being bars. However there aren’t that many extra enemies, these further tips aren’t all that new, and people bosses simply take longer to kill quite than demanding a novel method. For a lot of the final half of the sport, I tackled each combat in a lot the identical means, sticking with the identical core crew and solely making minor tweaks when vital. There was no want to vary as a result of the missions weren’t presenting me with any new challenges. Climactic encounters had been dealt with in an identical style in a means that originally felt satisfying, as if I might solved the issue of the sport’s fight, earlier than boredom set in on the absence of any friction to stall my progress to the top.
Within the discipline, Andrias could be the group’s chief however you possibly can choose any characters to comprise the social gathering of 4. Cleverly, you are not restricted to your chosen 4 as soon as a battle will get underway. Within the setup section you assign a assist character to every main social gathering member, buffing their efficiency with passive stat bonuses and permitting them to activate the second character’s particular skills. You’ll be able to even, a restricted variety of occasions, swap out a character–primary or support–in the center of a combat, a helpful clutch transfer if somebody’s well being is dangerously low or the scenario requires a capability particular to another person.
With upwards of a dozen characters vying for battle time (I recruited 14 in my playthrough, although there could also be extra) it is also only a sensible means to make sure that everyone seems to be concerned. In fact there’s nonetheless a bent to stay along with your favorites, significantly because the main social gathering positive aspects extra XP, however it eases the burden of grinding missions (you possibly can replay any as soon as accomplished to tick off sub-objectives and earn gold and XP) to permit under-leveled characters to catch up.
The rudimentary map design exacerbates the issue. Terrain kind isn’t an element, regardless of missions going down in cities, farmlands, snowfields, deserts and swamps. That patch of water or mud on the bottom means nothing. You’ll be able to hearth a ranged weapon by way of or over any impediment. Excessive floor isn’t any benefit. All the pieces is so flattened out that the fight arenas might as nicely be clean areas. Perhaps this would not be such a difficulty if the mission goal required extra attention-grabbing actions, however they virtually with out exception job you with killing all of the enemies. Typically it’s important to activate a bridge to achieve the subsequent batch of enemies, often there’s an NPC to escort throughout the map and it’s important to kill all of the enemies as you go, and really sparingly there is a level it’s important to shield whereas killing all of the enemies.
Even when the story introduces parts that would doubtlessly supply intriguing various paths, the mission format would not change. A nascent pro-democracy motion, born of offended widespread folks, is shortly characterised as a band of thugs and brutally quashed by your iron fist on the behest of the king. Empire troopers, demi-human monsters, the strolling useless, a gaggle of offended peasant farmers; they’re all handled in the identical means: Deploy the mercs and slaughter something that strikes. Too many near-identical fights make for a tedious slog, and the late-game story twists that lengthen the top credit solely intensify the fatigue.
The Diofield Chronicle in all probability needs to discover concepts round how energy is accrued and the way legitimacy is granted with its tales of warring lords and divine rights. But it surely by no means really engages with them. Characters hedge round such points, expressing tentative misgivings concerning the the Aristocracy of their mission earlier than carrying on regardless. Equally, briefly conversations, it gestures at the potential of different methods to construction society, however by no means truly entertains them. With Andrias and his mercenary firm the hammer that sees each drawback as a nail, it makes for an unsatisfying narrative arc. But as you deploy the identical ways throughout what might as nicely be the identical battlefield towards just about the identical enemies for the umpteenth time, it is an efficient metaphor for the conservative and unimaginative sport design.