Primarily a protracted collection 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 Sport of Thrones with a give attention to shifting 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 in the end futile, crushed by an exhausting and relentless struggle machine.
Because the identify 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 treasured 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 possibility to develop their borders. Armies march throughout a map straight out of the Sport of Thrones opening credit whereas these in command conduct sober debate about their subsequent energy play. These are severe folks making severe selections, it appears to suggest. Everybody concerned speaks as if by clenched-jaw, and with curiously little emotion, a vocal efficiency that’s maybe meant to point the gravity of the scenario however as an alternative 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 buddy 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 inside ideas, whereas the ponderous, usually 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 fashion, 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 common. It is laborious stuff and serves largely to spotlight the necessity for a faster technique of skipping by every scene.
Between missions you discover the sparsely adorned hold that serves as firm HQ, accumulating new missions, purchasing for weapons and consumables, and upgrading the social gathering’s talents. 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 gadgets obtainable, and you’ll fast-travel between areas in mere seconds. As you recruit new social gathering members, this hub space progressively turns into extra populated over time, however regardless of the presence of facet missions to unlock extra options and a brand new space, it fails to really feel like dwelling. Not way more than a set of bland, usually empty rooms, the HQ is basically a glorified menu. Returning to the hub should be accompanied by a way of surprise at what may need modified or developed; as an alternative it is extra of a weary resignation that you will need to hop between hotspots whereas clicking by a bunch of boring dialogue.
Battles happen in real-time with the motion pausing routinely if 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 facet 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 one more wave of enemies fairly than any try to 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 (cellular harm), sharpshooter (ranged harm), and magicker (therapeutic and buffs with some ranged harm). These characters require moderately totally different techniques to maximise their potential. You are not simply telling everybody to assault that enemy and sitting again; it is vital 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 fireplace off a stun shot to interrupt an enemy making 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 fairly than demanding a novel method. For a lot of the final half of the sport, I tackled each struggle in a lot the identical manner, 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 have been dealt with in equivalent trend in a manner that originally felt satisfying, as if I would 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 tip.
Within the area, Andrias could be the group’s chief however you’ll be able to 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 part 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 talents. You possibly can even, a restricted variety of instances, swap out a character–primary or support–in the center of a struggle, 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 good manner to make sure that everyone seems to be concerned. After all there’s nonetheless an inclination 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’ll be able to 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 will not be 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 possibly can fireplace a ranged weapon by or over any impediment. Excessive floor is not any benefit. All the pieces is so flattened out that the fight arenas could as nicely be clean areas. Perhaps this would not be such a problem if the mission goal required extra attention-grabbing actions, however they virtually with out exception process you with killing all of the enemies. Typically it’s a must to activate a bridge to succeed in the following batch of enemies, sometimes there’s an NPC to escort throughout the map and it’s a must to kill all of the enemies as you go, and really sparingly there is a level it’s a must to defend whereas killing all of the enemies.
Even when the story introduces components that would probably provide intriguing various paths, the mission format would not change. A nascent pro-democracy motion, born of indignant widespread people, 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 lifeless, a gaggle of indignant peasant farmers; they’re all handled in the identical manner: 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 extend the tip credit solely intensify the fatigue.
The Diofield Chronicle in all probability desires to discover concepts round how energy is amassed and the way legitimacy is granted with its tales of warring lords and divine rights. But it surely by no means actually engages with them. Characters hedge round such points, expressing tentative misgivings relating to 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 really entertains them. With Andrias and his mercenary firm the hammer that sees each downside as a nail, it makes for an unsatisfying narrative arc. But as you deploy the identical techniques throughout what could as nicely be the identical battlefield in opposition to just about the identical enemies for the umpteenth time, it is an efficient metaphor for the conservative and unimaginative recreation design.