The DioField Chronicle Review – A SQUARE ENIX RTS?

Now, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who had several eyebrows almost pop out of their head when they first saw the announcement trailer for The DioField Chronicle back in March. Square Enix releasing an RTS? Had the world gone mad? Or was this one big Hideo Kojima style prank or something?… Nope. Apparently, it was neither of those, believe it or not. This is in fact, a legitimate RTS that brings it’s own unique flavour to the table, with influences from the likes of Final Fantasy XII, Diablo and even League of Legends of all things. Go figure. But ultimately—the big questions must be asked—is this game worth your time? And does it rival Triangle Strategy in terms of wanting to stay up playing past 05:00AM until your brain melts? Well, let’s answer these very important concerns and more in this review!

Our VIDEO REVIEW of The DioField Chronicle!

I Know What You Like – Politics!

Much like the economically-driven war of nations featured in Triangle Strategy, The Diofield Chronicle’s story is all about serving big slabs of exposition and rigorously practising politics till the cows come home. Except the main difference here is that the narrative isn’t nearly as engaging as Serenoa’s quest to protect the mighty House Wollfort. The story just doesn’t grab you in the same way. There’s too much focus on plot-specific events, and not enough spotlight on the core themes and heart of the human struggle that truly great stories draw from. So when the high-impact moments appear on screen, they straight-up do not land most of the time. Rather than the audience reeling from a tragic loss, we’re simply TOLD how shocking the result was instead.

Good sentiment, but needed a bit more build-up.

Fortunately, the story does start to pick up somewhat in the second half. But by then it’s too little, too late. It’s a shame because the main cast is voiced quite well, and there are multiple scenes of levity where these characters will let their guard down and just be themselves… But these are optional conversations, not the main course. What is really cool is that the game actually rewards you for seeking out these unskippable cutscenes with gold, materials and rank-ups. So, even if you’re not too keen on observing a British bunch of buffoons – just watch ’em. You’ll get free stuff.

The Main Hook of The DioField Chronicle

When it comes to the gameplay, this is where The DioField Chronicle really shines. If you’re anything like me and have an actual brain aneurysm anytime you attempt to make quick decisions in an RTS, then you’re in luck. The real-time elements are exclusively kept to auto-attacks, unit highlighting and movement paths. That’s it. Whereas the main commands stop the game dead in it’s tracks and let you plan out exactly what to do next, which is amazing. You can even speed up battles too if you wish, as well as pause to zoom the map right out with one button press to easily plan your next dastardly deed, all while witnessing each and every unit turn into a slick-looking D&D figurine. Noice.

The DioField Chronicle
Ahhhh… Some time to breathe.

The abilities themselves are quite varied and do have a number of practical uses on the battlefield. Plus, they can also be levelled up to tailor specific moves to your play style. The swordfighter, Andrias for instance, can rush behind a single enemy for heavy back-attack damage, while the archer, Iscarion can summon a volley of arrows to mow down a column of stationary enemies. Since you can switch from one character’s ability to the next and combo enemies into oblivion if you plan it out well… You can already see how awesome this is. Alongside being able to call forth classic Final Fantasy-based summons like Bahamut and Fenrir for big-time epicness, The DioField Chronicle actually let’s the four main party members bring along another team-mate to access their abilities and swap out characters three times mid-combat, which adds extra layers of strategy into the mix. Also, the fact that you don’t need to return to the Encampment before battle like in Triangle Strategy to purchase, upgrade and shop for gear and abilities makes this setup automatically better by default.

Not only do the maps have a varying visual aesthetic which is very easy on the eyes, but certain encounters frequently encourage you to consider the terrain, items and obstacles on the map too.

Another aspect that kept my brain intact is that there are only 4 active player-controlled fighters at once. It honestly keeps the visual clutter to a minimum and makes each unit easy to identify and see who’s being targeted in the heat of battle. Not only do the maps have a varying visual aesthetic which is very easy on the eyes, but certain encounters frequently encourage you to consider the terrain, items and obstacles on the map too. One mission, in particular, has you escorting a carriage as several approaching groups of enemies need to be dealt with from random directions, which forces you to decide whether you should split (or not split up) your party. As a whole, I must say the missions are often very well-designed. You’re even given incentives to finish them under a certain time limit or win without any allies falling in battle, which can then be used to further upgrade your party.

A Few Kinks in The Armour

The only part about combat that felt a little off was the AI. Occasionally, it would cause units to accidentally stumble into a massive, time-to-get-absolutely-wrecked charge attack which would flat-out devastate them for the most stupid reason. Or in other scenarios, I’d give party members a command they just simply would not follow. Like when you tried to cheese it in Pokémon back in the day by trading yourself a Level 70 Snorlax. But in all seriousness, these issues didn’t happen enough to detract that much from the overall experience.

It should be noted that running side-quests and replaying battles are almost a must, unfortunately.

It should be noted that running side-quests and replaying battles are almost a must, unfortunately. Especially on the harder difficulties, since the level progression and cost to purchase equipment rises much higher between main story missions. It is a bit disappointing that this is the case. But then again, it does encourage you to see almost everything this game has to offer. Every cloud has a silver lining, I suppose. Not the music, however. It honestly started to get on my nerves throughout the journey, especially since the OST re-uses a LOT of the same tracks. If I could articulate the music in one sentence, it would be: generic hero strings meets generic brass meets generic legato notes that I cannot remember. In other words, generic. That is all.

The DioField Chronicle
This attack never gets old.

Outside of battle though, players control Andrias as he treks through the Blue Fox headquarters. The main hub of his ragtag mercenary group. Here, he can seek out side-quests, upgrade his abilities, summons and equipment, partake in those conversations I mentioned before and raise the rank of the Blue Foxes. Each rank-up grants the player a neat bonus like an extra item slot, more EXP per mission or additional TP to summon your enemies’ worst nightmares on the regular. I also love that Andrias can teleport between each room, so players don’t need to walk from one end of the building to the other for the 400th time that day. Efficiency is definitely this game’s forte.

Decision

If you’re a big RTS or tactical RPG fan, then I would recommend picking this one up purely for the gameplay. The DioField Chronicle features a distinct mix of real-time strategy and tactical turn-based combat that allows for some cool-looking combos and setups which are ultra-addictive to pull off. Do not be surprised if you find yourself forgetting which day it is like in Triangle Strategy. That being said, while the plot does have some interesting revelations and twists and turns waiting to be discovered, the story ultimately lacks that special something the audience can closely resonate with. Thankfully, the character interactions do help keep the otherwise solemn plot approachable, and the optional cutscenes and content do reward the player in more ways than one. Even though the difficulty curve practically forces the player to tackle said content and grind at times, it’s all worth going through as the battles themselves are just so much fun.

By Anthony Culinas

Great

The DioField Chronicle effortlessly combines real-time strategy and tactical turn-based gameplay. Featuring a very approachable battle system that streamlines several elements of it’s presentation, so the focus always remains on combat. Albeit, the story is often too preoccupied with politics and plot-specific events that the audience probably won’t care too much about, along with a steep difficulty curve that forces players to complete optional content and AI that makes some rather silly decisions at times. If you can get past these issues however, the addictive hybrid gameplay should keep you hooked throughout.

This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Square Enix. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.

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