Its disjointed reveal trailer didn't exactly heighten our expectations, but we're happy to report that The DioField Chronicle has turned out reasonably well. It's a real-time strategy RPG topped off with some very pretty artwork and some effective gameplay design — but it's not without its (often obvious) flaws.
Set against a backdrop of political intrigue in a relatively grounded fantasy world, DioField has you command a small army of mercenaries across a lengthy series of missions. Story-wise, it's all fairly straightforward, as nations clash with one another and your group is gradually pulled into a spiralling conflict. The plot's got flashes of brilliance every now and then as the drama starts ramping up, but it's held back by a decidedly dull cast of characters.
There's a severe lack of emotion in everything that unfolds. Granted, this is a mercenary company, and these warriors spend a lot of their time killing people for wealth and glory, but everything's so monotone. From the (very English) voice acting to the character writing itself, it's hard to grow invested in your allies when they seem so emotionally distant from everyone and everything.
Thankfully, the strategy part of this strategy RPG is rock solid. Battles take place on 3D maps, and as mentioned, you move your units in real-time, but you can pause the action whenever you like, and issue specific commands as to keep on top of things. The learning curve is also nice and steady, which is always a huge plus for tactical titles.
Levelling up your units, equipping them with better gear, and unlocking your way through branching skill trees is what gives DioField an addictive edge. The only problem is that, not even very far into the campaign, grinding all but becomes a necessity. This means that you'll be replaying cleared missions in order to rack up funds and experience points, but the process quickly grows monotonous when you just want to get on with the story.
All in all, The DioField Chronicle is a decent strategy RPG. Its characters certainly won't live long in the memory, and it can be an unnecessary grind, but it's well crafted and fairly engaging on the battlefield.