The DioField Chronicles is an upcoming strategy RPG developed by Square Enix. With promises of a gritty and immersive story, as well as a new strategic combat system. The DioField Chronicles has a lot of ambition with the vision of its new IP. But with shoes that big to fill, does it stick the landing in its debut demo? From what I have played, it at least has one foot in correctly.
Dull World Building and Bland Characters
The story of the game opens with a vignette of a tragedy befalling the heir to a kingdom. But instead of directly following that information, the game skips ahead to the hero’s party, consisting of that heir, saving a woman in peril years later. I will not do a playback of the course of events in the story of this game so far in the demo. But it feels very impatient and unimpactful. Saying things have gone awry and showing interesting scenarios, but lacks an emotional core overall.
The characters are on the bland side as well. Every bit of dialogue feels like it’s in service to the building of the overall plot of the game. Making it difficult for me to like, or dislike any character. They all lack charisma and the subpar voice acting, and life-less animation are not helping me stay invested in them. Granted the demo only takes in the very long first chapter so this could improve over time. But I wish I could be invested in what is happening from the beginning. Not at an unknown time later in the game.
The DioField Chronicles Great Combat
On the brighter side, the combat in The DioField Chronicle is impressive. How it functions is by scaling encounters down to accommodate a focus on 3-4 characters. Then allows characters to auto-fight enemies similarly to a real-time strategy game while you control where they go. But you can constantly use character abilities in combat to make missions only take about 3-5 minutes. It is a very satisfying combat system that also utilizes summoning ancient gods similarly to a Final Fantasy title to decimate groups of enemies.
On top of this is a deep customization system from equipment to character and class skill trees. Each character has a list of skill trees that improves their performance in battle. While the classes they align with have an additional skill tree that unlocks and improves the skills they learn. Equipment has its own impact. With weapons having standard upgrades like more damage and having to pick between either having more or defense stats with armor in both of the available slots. Or sacrificing one or both of those enhancements for accessories that improve character attack and skill damage.
So if your archer’s constant rain of arrows is not doing enough damage in combat and he never gets hit. The game gives you the choice to help build around that. All of this is very deep and enjoyable, especially the missions having bonuses for performance. It is gameplay that goes above and beyond both on and off the field as you explore your base to shop or spend skill points between missions and story cutscenes.
Performance and Final Thoughts
I played The DioField Chronicles on the Xbox Series X and it was smooth sailing for the most part. The game offers three graphical modes and I could not tell the difference between the three. So I stuck to the quality mode for my playthrough. The game runs at a smooth sixty frames per second. However, the game crashes upon launching it the first time. As well as crashing twice in combat, especially when a boss performed a devastating blow to my team, saving me from a shameful outcome.
But the graphical settings can not help the bland graphics of the game. In combat, the mission layouts look good with some great environmental details. Like mountains with blue glowing lights between the cracks. But the overall fidelity is not pleasing to look at with a lacking color palette.
Overall, The DioField Chronicles is a promising title and one I can recommend to fans of real-time strategy games. However, I am concerned about the quality of its story from what I have experienced so far. But its gameplay definitely will be enjoyable due to its fast-paced nature and impressive depth.
The games demo is available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Steam, and PlayStation 4 and 5 if you would like to give it a try ahead of its release in September 22nd. Progress from the demo will carry over to the final game as well.