Verisimilitude – ‘the appearance of being true or real’ – is amongst the foundations of good storytelling. It isn’t enough to only have attention-grabbing ideas, or to know the basic tropes of a political intrigue. For a story to hold more than a passing interest, it needs to be grounded in some kind of logical consistency. It’s like a narrative cause-and-effect – when you current an event to the viewers, they should have the flexibility to both understand why that occasion occurred the method in which it did, or belief you’ll present information at a later date to contextualise it. Without verisimilitude, your story is only a series of issues taking place since you say they do, not because they make sense.
The DioField Chronicle is a tale of warfare and political intrigue the place things occur because they sounded fascinating at the time. Armies invade by way of impenetrable mountains because they ‘somehow discovered a means.’ Insurmountable odds are overcome by outnumbered forces as a end result of why not, isn’t it exciting that way? Organisations have their popularity and funding ravaged by scandal, and expertise zero repercussions for it. One of the main factions is publicly revealed to be trafficking youngsters for dark magic experimentation, and no one bats an eye! In a narrative of political intrigue!
The DioField Chronicle is aware of the traditional ‘tropes’ of the story it’s attempting to tell, but has no understanding of tips on how to put them collectively believably. Its world is a collection of events that stand up to only the barest scrutiny, and its characters are not any better.
The protagonists of this story are a brooding spymaster with a penchant for learning vital information off-screen, a brooding monarchist who definitely has no private investment within the divine right to rule, a brooding knight-errant who serves the widespread folks – except when he’s actively slaughtering them on the behest of nobles – and a sarcastic necromancer girl who loves murder (she sulks, somewhat than broods). These four characters be a part of, after which virtually instantly take over leadership of a mercenary organisation that seems to be the one competent navy force on the island of DioField.
Over the course of the sport, you’ll run numerous errands for the federal government that vary from gathering wolf meat for dinner, murdering peasants who oppose the oppressive monarchist regime, or retaking army outposts that efficiently repelled armies of 11,000 soldiers. But regardless of the victories you achieve or the story revelations that happen, you’ll be able to rest assured that none of it’ll meaningfully have an effect on the actual gameplay.
As a tactical RPG, The DioField Chronicle is competent. Its real-time combat system is an interesting twist that is pretty well-executed, regardless of its controls being slightly clunky at times. Characters have all kinds of abilities that impact the moment-to-moment of combat, and you should make use of basic technique to be able to succeed.
The areas it fails, nevertheless, are in problem and iteration. As quickly as you purchase a couple of area-of-effect abilities, even the best issue setting is a cakewalk, and the challenges you face never progress in complexity beyond adding a number of extra enemies, or sometimes including some stationary turrets. And when you might make use of technique to win, your enemies definitely don’t. They exist in two states – idle patrol patterns, or charging blindly into the meat grinder. Combat in The DioField Chronicle isn’t bad, however it also isn’t compelling enough to carry the experience on its own. It doesn’t help that there’s a whole disconnect between the story you’re presented with, and the gameplay you experience.
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One of the best methods to take a position an audience within the narrative is to have it provide penalties they directly expertise. When the story impacts gameplay, the player will feel one thing in regards to the story. One example of this story-to-gameplay disconnect is the aforementioned necromancer lady who serves as one of many 4 primary protagonists. She has the flexibility to raise armies of the undead, which she makes use of at numerous instances in the story (mostly to slaughter peasants for her amusement).
In gameplay, however, she has no such talents and as a substitute is functionally identical to the opposite mages at your disposal. You’ll acquire or lose the monetary help of your noble patrons at occasions, which has no impact on the resources at your disposal for equipment or services. Only once did I experience a story beat that led to me losing entry to a personality, but I might immediately substitute her with an effectively similar one.
The DioField Chronicle is a competent tactical RPG that may maintain you amused till the repetition units in. The progression methods are strong, the moment-to-moment gameplay is partaking, and you might even find moments the place a number of the characters grow on you. But its world does not really feel grounded or actual, and the one consistency I felt in its story was in predicting which overused political intrigue trope it would employ subsequent.
Things just happen as a result of they do, and that doesn’t make for good storytelling. The DioField Chronicle is kind of good in lots of methods, however it never capitalises on its unique real-time fight system, or the potential of its narrative style.
Two stars: ★★
The DioField Chronicle
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X
Developer: Square Enix, LANCARSE Ltd.
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: 23 September 2022
The PC version of The DioField Chronicle was supplied and played for the needs of this review.