Seeing the phrases “Sq. Enix” and “technique RPG” collectively ought to make anybody arise, able to reply the decision to arms. These are particular occasions we’re in, once we’re recurrently getting SRPGs from the world’s greatest RPG firm. Triangle Technique, launched earlier this yr, promised a return to and an evolution of the normal Ultimate Fantasy Techniques grid-based fight system. Remakes of many classics are across the nook. The DioField Chronicle, alternatively, presents one thing completely different, with a brand new model of real-time fight that’s in no way just like what we’re used to from Japanese builders. However does developer Lancarse’s technique of making an attempt one thing new lead to a contribution worthy of Sq. Enix’s legendary SRPG canon?
The DioField Chronicle tells a story of countries warring over sources — not precisely distinctive for an SRPG story. However as soon as the exposition is dumped, the story shifts shortly into an engrossing yarn of kings and nobles, a scramble for political energy in tugs-of-war of subterfuge. You are taking management of the Blue Foxes, a personal mercenary group underneath the make use of of the fairly personal noble Duke Hende. Whereas the Blue Foxes reply to requests for assist from the general public, Hende’s route takes high precedence. The following conflicts at first happen on a private stage, particularly throughout the Blue Foxes’ camp, and the reverberations swell to a grander scale. On this twisty story, every new revelation looks like a pivotal second for the Blue Foxes and the world at giant. The truth that Ramin Djawadi and Brandon Campbell, the composers of the Recreation of Thrones soundtrack, had been introduced on board affords a robust trace as to what The DioField Chronicle’s writers are going for.
DioField is an island wealthy in jade, the valuable useful resource required to make use of magic. The close by nations of the Empire be a part of collectively to invade the international locations of the Alliance. In the meantime, the Kingdom of Alletain, which reigns over the overwhelming majority of DioField, should resolve whether or not and find out how to help the Alliance or to stay impartial. In the meantime, the Blue Foxes, a personal navy group of Alletain underneath the purview of the shadowy Hende, rise as a secretive but closely influential participant within the warfare.
The Blue Foxes are headed by Andrias Rhondarson, Fredret Lester, and Izelair Wigan, although Andrias shortly takes management because the group’s chief planner. Sadly, the characters are a bit dry, and their uninspired design doesn’t assist. Fortunately, The DioField Chronicle’s writers take them by a high-stakes dramatic journey that transcends the characters’ normal lack of character.
That’s to not say all the characters are fully empty. Initially seen as respectable, benevolent, and reliable, traits we count on out of our JRPG heroes, Andrias’s supposedly well-meaning persona turns progressively extra secretive and sneaky because the weeks and months move. Each transfer he makes and each phrase he speaks, even when it seems altruistic on the time, appears to have a twin function. Even the participant will not be clued in to what he’s in the end planning. The DioField Chronicle’s English voice actors and the writing masterfully work to current his strikes with the correct inflection to convey his rising distance from his fellow troopers. The writing and voice work create an unimaginable ambiance of mistrust, even between the participant and the protagonist, and the secrecy compelled my need to learn the way issues would progress.
The clear standout amongst The DioField Chronicle’s forged is Waltaquin, a younger magicker clad all in white who appears a bit of too desperate to do violence. Although she seems sympathetic at first, she takes some surprisingly darkish turns as time passes, and the opposite characters begin to really feel uncomfortable round her, particularly Andrias as she begins to make unrequited advances towards him. Iscarion is one other entertaining member of the Blue Foxes. Sort of a Robin Hood sort, he has a righteous status as a do-gooder that might rival even that of Jonathan Joestar himself. Iscarion serves because the Blue Foxes’ ethical heart, and although he’s not precisely a rival of Andrias, they typically will not be on the identical web page, and belief between them slowly erodes. Different characters have good roots however don’t get sufficient consideration to develop past the embryonic stage.
All of it results in a captivating end that leaves a lot open to interpretation however, sadly, leaves extra threads dangling than I might have appreciated. The DioField Chronicle‘s narrative is definitely extra satisfying than the previous few seasons of Recreation of Thrones.
That was loads about The DioField Chronicle’s story, however this can be a technique RPG, so that you’re right here for the fight. Nicely, there’s excellent news and dangerous information. Lancarse has created a brand-new fight system for The DioField Chronicle that has a lot in frequent with real-time technique video games. In battles, you might have 4 energetic characters to whom you give orders, usually the place to maneuver and which enemies to assault. Although you solely have 4 items on the battlefield at a time, as you acquire entry to extra, you possibly can pair inactive items with energetic ones, permitting them to make use of their associate’s particular talents in addition to their very own. Battles are on the shorter facet so far as technique video games go; you acquire further rewards for ending them in a sure period of time, between 4 and eight minutes, relying on the mission.
When you can enhance your probabilities in battle by positioning your characters successfully, benefiting from chokepoints, and making an attempt to flank enemies (as assaults from behind are more practical), the technique primarily revolves round using particular talents optimally. Talents vary from sweeping a broad group of enemies without delay to hitting a line of foes or doing in depth injury to a single unit and probably repositioning it. Some talents are extra helpful in particular conditions. Since you’re restricted by EP (primarily magic factors) and cooldowns for the particular strikes, you need to decide how finest to make the most of these strikes. There’s a relentless push-pull between hitting opponents along with your strongest assaults and saving them for counterattacks to stop the enemies’ strongest assaults. You may also pause to swap in items from the sidelines if you wish to swap up your technique.
Between battles, The DioField Chronicle affords a metric ton of choices to probe for constructing out your personal military. Models are available in 4 flavors: troopers, cavaliers, sharpshooters, and magickers, every of which is additional divided into subcategories. There’s additionally a ability tree for leveling up particular assaults, creating weapons, and conducting analysis to enhance your Magilumic Orbs, that are primarily summons. It’s particularly enjoyable to search out all of the sorts of particular talents to see how they work and decide their finest use. You would possibly even uncover some combos and synergies between sure items, and you might really feel like a conductor directing your orchestra of destruction throughout battles.
After which there’s the actually dangerous information, primarily that battles are repetitive and by no means change considerably. Chapter 1, which is out there to play within the demo, teases a pleasant number of missions with gameplay that’s in concord with the story. Nonetheless, when you’re out of the tutorial and into the precise recreation in Chapter 2, the battles start to really feel like the identical factor, one after the opposite, eternally. Sidequests are worse, providing nothing exterior of the unusual from the primary story besides a chance to grind, with just a few exceptions. It felt like there was room to supply some inventive experiences with this technique, however the challenges you’re given by no means go anyplace adventurous. Although you ultimately have entry to over 15 items, I hardly ever felt the necessity to swap up my core celebration. Regardless of the positives, the battle system feels prefer it’s barely previous the conceptual stage, and it dampens all the pieces else.
With all the pieces The DioField Chronicle calls for of the participant, the sport works surprisingly nicely with a controller, and the management scheme shortly grew to become second nature to me. The keyboard-and-mouse setup that RTS video games usually demand would nonetheless carry out higher right here, and it’s an possibility on PC, however the controller feels nice, too.
Djawadi and Campbell really feel like fairly a get for The DioField Chronicle’s music. However although the official soundtrack boasts over 20 tracks, a lot of them might have used extra publicity within the recreation. The buzzy battle theme, which often had me checking to see if my telephone was going off, is intimidating and brings a way of urgency. The bottom-exploration music is extra relaxed however nonetheless an intricate earworm. However these two items performed nearly the whole time, and I can’t bear in mind any of the others. The English voice actors do an incredible job at telling this story, offering the delicate inflections wanted to convey the standoffish nature of Andrias’s cerebral conversations and in addition the fear of being throughout the eyesight of Waltaquin. I assume the Japanese actors had been equally nice, however that is one case the place I really feel it’s necessary to hear in a language through which you’re fluent to catch the supposed tone.
Not a lot stands out visually. You view battles from an isometric perspective, and from that angle, the items don’t make a lot of an impression. The diorama battlefields are sort of neat wanting, however even with a wide range of environments, they are typically featureless, leaving a variety of empty area to struggle in. The characters’ portraits tackle that traditional Sq. Enix look, so these are beautiful.
Whereas the ending is becoming in wrapping up this story, it feels presumptuous that it’s clearly pushing for a sequel, particularly as some points of The DioField Chronicle really feel underdeveloped. I believe there’s nonetheless potential for this to grow to be a collection, however any sequel would wish to go far above and past what’s right here within the first entry. As a lot as that assertion sounds prefer it’s wanting forward, it additionally signifies my emotions. The huge potential continues to be there, however it’s as but unrealized, and the battle is much from received. The DioField Chronicle joins the vaunted Sq. Enix SRPG canon, but it’s solely simply there.