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 growth. 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 warfare 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 kinds that seems to resemble a vein of valuable gems. But a frail king and the homicide of his inheritor has precipitated 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 critical individuals making critical choices, it appears to suggest. Everybody concerned speaks as if via clenched-jaw, and with curiously little emotion, a vocal efficiency that’s maybe meant to point the gravity of the state of affairs however as a substitute tends to counsel 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 boring lead, as he is disinclined to expose his inside 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 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 methodology of skipping via every scene.
Between missions you discover the sparsely adorned hold that serves as firm HQ, accumulating new missions, looking for weapons and consumables, and upgrading the occasion’s talents. Helpfully, the map reveals 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 out there, and you’ll fast-travel between areas in mere seconds. As you recruit new occasion members, this hub space step by step turns into extra populated over time, however regardless of the presence of aspect missions to unlock extra options and a brand new space, it fails to really feel like dwelling. Not far more than a set of bland, typically empty rooms, the HQ is basically a glorified menu. Returning to the hub should be accompanied by a way of surprise at what might need modified or developed; as a substitute it is extra of a weary resignation that you’ll should hop between hotspots whereas clicking via a bunch of boring dialogue.
Battles happen in real-time with the motion pausing routinely while you situation a motion order or a command to make use of a capability. This can provide proceedings a jarring stop-start really feel, however it does enable 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 fascinating at first however fails to develop, seemingly content material to tread the identical floor from begin to end
The fight appears fascinating 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 fairly than any try and chart new territory. Enemies boil down to 2 types–ranged and melee–with variations decreased to stronger variations and a few very barely completely different assaults. Your occasion members are available 4 courses: soldier (the defensive tank), cavalier (cell harm), sharpshooter (ranged harm), and magicker (therapeutic and buffs with some ranged harm). These characters require fairly completely different ways 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 acquire 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 fascinating methods. Positive, there are a couple of extra enemies to face directly. 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 additional 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 means, sticking with the identical core crew and solely making minor tweaks when mandatory. There was no want to alter as a result of the missions weren’t presenting me with any new challenges. Climactic encounters had been dealt with in an identical trend in a means 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 top.
Within the discipline, Andrias could be the group’s chief however you possibly can choose any characters to comprise the occasion 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 occasion 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 state of affairs 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, notably for the reason that main occasion 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 sort will not be an element, regardless of missions happening in cities, farmlands, snowfields, deserts and swamps. That patch of water or mud on the bottom means nothing. You possibly can hearth a ranged weapon via or over any impediment. Excessive floor isn’t any benefit. Every little thing is so flattened out that the fight arenas might as effectively be clean areas. Perhaps this would not be such a problem if the mission goal required extra fascinating actions, however they nearly with out exception process you with killing all of the enemies. Generally 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 parts that might doubtlessly provide intriguing different paths, the mission format would not change. A nascent pro-democracy motion, born of offended widespread people, is rapidly 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 bunch 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 extend the top 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. However it by no means actually engages with them. Characters hedge round such points, expressing tentative misgivings concerning the the Aristocracy of their mission earlier than carrying on regardless. Equally, in short conversations, it gestures at the opportunity of different methods to construction society, however by no means really 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 effectively 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.