In The DioField Chronicle, a strategy RPG jointly developed by Lancarse and Square Enix, players meet a ragtag band of mercenaries with grand aspirations they can only reach by waging war on behalf of various noblemen. The game’s unusual combat system, party customization, and a sprawling tale featuring a cast of flawed characters set adrift in a harsh world are a combination that’s difficult to resist despite occasional rough edges, perhaps especially for veteran players who might welcome a modern take on the stories and experiences that defined the 16- and 32-bit eras.
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Most of The DioField Chronicle takes place on the battlefield. Combat is timed, but even a five-minute battle by the game’s reckoning might take twice that long in reality. Once a player selects their four units (each with backup units, once the roster swells to permit it), it’s time to go. The chosen warriors appear in their environment and an initial wave of enemies materializes. The timer then starts ticking, with greater rewards imparted if the skirmish concludes within a prescribed period, such as 6 or 8 minutes. Meeting such objectives might seem difficult at first, though multiple units can be directed simultaneously. Enemies don’t just wait around, either; once they spot their adversaries (and sometimes have already done so as a stage begins), they respond aggressively. It’s a bit like Fire Emblem, if everything were happening all at once.
As players direct unit movement, the action and timer pause to facilitate an approach more nuanced than “everyone rush at the guy with the big spear and shield.” For example, it might prove useful to have one unit skirt that heavily armored foe to strike more effectively from behind, while the guy with the lance sticks around out front to serve as a diversion. There are many unit types to consider, as well. It’s never a good idea to let enemy sharpshooters lurk along the sidelines, firing arrows and spells…