Initial release date: September 20, 2022
Mode: Single-player video game
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
Composers: Ramin Djawadi, Brandon Campbell
Developers: Square Enix, Lancarse, Square
Publishers: SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD., Square Enix
Genres: Tactical role-playing game, Adventure game, Strategy
"Review Copy Provided By Square-Enix"
There has been a huge lack of games in the RTS genre that have seriously deep political narratives along the lines of Final Fantasy Tactics, Ogre Battle, Vandal Hearts, and the Fire Emblem series. The most recent ones being Brigadine: The Legend of Runersia, Triangle Strategy and Fire Emblem Three Houses to carry the banner and with those 3 being for the most part it, it made me realize how much I wanted more gaming companies to dive back into this genre and make some gems like they used to. It seems Square-Enix heard my cries for as they decided to make a new RTS, or as they call it a RTTB or Real Time Tactical Battle, and made a game called The DioField Chronicle. It may not be Final Fantasy Tactics but is it any good? Let’s find out!
The game takes place on an island nation called DioField controlled by the Kingdom of Alletain. Outside of DioField, there are two warring factions on the Rowetale Mainland (The Empire and the Alliance) are hellbent on total control and eventually their war turns towards the Kingdom of Alletain on DioField as the island is home to a natural resource called Jade of which both factions want as it allows the posser of it to utilize magic. The factions of the Rowetale Mainland utilize modern magic which drains a lot of Jade of which they are constantly using in their war, whereas on DioField they practice an ancient form of magic known as sorcery that doesn’t drain the resources or power of Jade. The two factions desperately want to claim DioField for the near limitless amounts of Jade that it has; in contrast to this, The Kingdom of Alletain is going through a civil war for succession and ends up with the current heir to the throne being killed. With some much turmoil, war, and the death of a King, what is to become of the Kingdom of Alletain and furthermore what is to become of DioField?
The game fast forwards 8 years later with us taking control of the Blue Foxes mercenary company consisting of Fredret, Andrias, and Izelair who eventually go on to become part of a larger company.
For most of the game, you’ll be roaming about your base talking with various characters, buying new gear and researching and developing new gear and weapons, checking missions and side quests, and more. The game is chapter based so try to do as many side quests as possible that you can during these chapters to be able to raise your ranks and R&D. The game allows for massive amounts of customization and progression of your band of characters; each character fits into a particular class and will have various abilities and buffs specific to that class while you will still be able to build up your characters to have a bit of universal flavor.
When it comes to the battle system, the best way I can describe it is as a cross between Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre for the RTS flavor and incorporates the always active map and movement of RTS games like Star Craft and Command and Conquer (sans the base building and resource management). All this combined means this is a tactical game that keeps you on the edge of your seat and never lets up!
The battle system is incredibly exciting in real time with there being moments where the game gives pause to allow for issuing commands and maneuvering your party around the battlefield. This ability to pause and select abilities/skills, summons, and items gives you a substantial advantage over the enemy as you can interrupt enemies with this. Skills utilize AP and special abilities utilize EP and can be used so intricately that you can pretty much break the game in your favor and wreck enemies. You may be more familiar with games in this genre having grids that you take time to maneuver about yet in this game you’re moving around massive open arenas, however, where this feels different is in how it occurs in real-time and feels more like a war of armies' vs individual units. You need to be mindful of your positioning on the battlefield since that determines certain aspects of battle as you don’t want to get surrounded or flanked by staying in one position for too long.
You have a party of four characters of various classes that can often come into battle with an assist unit. The four characters auto-attack when they engage in battle after being selected along with you being able to select special attacks and more. You can select each unit individually or all together to move about the maps and while you may assume that the battles are large scale, they can actually be completed in very short amounts of time and overall, you can beat the entire game in less than 20 hours and do a 100% completion run in 25 hours.
Graphically speaking, the games art style is phenomenal and will bring to mind the art style of the Final Fantasy Tactics Games, Tactics Ogre, and even Final Fantasy 12, 14, and even Vagrant Story. The games in-game graphics are fitting for what this game is, however, it is a bit lacking when you compare it to other games put out by Square-Enix such as Valkyrie Elysium and Final Fantasy Remake. The models look a bit basic and robotic facially when they move their mouths yet one of the upsides is the motion capture work done to give the characters a bit of life. The voice acting is absolutely amazing with some of the best deliveries of lines I’ve ever heard and yet as much as I love it I wonder why we don’t get more of it as a lot of the game is not voiced and that alone is criminal!
All in all, The DioField Chronicle is an amazing game that truly surprised me as I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this game from what I originally saw from the teaser trailers and having dived into the full game it has left me with loving this game as one of the best games of 2022. Yes the game can be a bit easy and a lot of the systems can be broken, but never the less, this is seriously some of the most fun I’ve had all year in gaming!