Turn-based strategy games can be found more and more on the consoles. With Disciples: Liberation, Kalypso recently donated a successor to an old series with the Canadian studio Firma. Disciples 3: Rennaissance back then still more than disappointed the series fans of the Dark Fantasy series. In the test, I’ll tell you whether the latest part of the series will give you a new shine.
A mercenary to unite them all.
Nevendaar is at war. The different races like the empire, the undead, demons and elves are in eternal conflict with each other. The main protagonist Avyanna makes a living as a mercenary and is in the process of assassinating a representative of the veil with her buddy Orion. The veil is a sub-faction of the human empire with whom other factions are at odds. You quickly notice that in addition to the conflicts between peoples, there are also internal problems. When the plan seemed to fail, Avyanna and Orion are suddenly teleported to Yllien. A refuge that will be their new home in the future and will serve as a base. But more on this later. Avyanna makes it her task to end the eternal conflict between the peoples and to shatter the system. Unfortunately, the many dialogues are often just tiring and invite you to be skipped. The only partially available scoring just makes it easier. Disciples: Liberation lives from the sometimes very consistent decisions in the dialogues. The story is generally well written and has one or the other surprising twist. Nevertheless, a little less would have been more here.
Yllien our new home
While Yllien is a completely abandoned ruin at the beginning, this becomes a base for Avyanna’s troops in the course of the game. Here we can upgrade equipment and spells. Train or hire new troops. In addition to the construction site for the forge and the market, there are four other slots on which we can place training buildings. Once the buildings have been built, the slots can be cleared again by phase shifting the building at the expense of resources. This makes it possible to build all the training buildings of the different races. Since the fights, which I’ll get to later, are kept quite simple and you rarely really lose units, the way to Yllien is actually only owed to the main quests that bring us here again and again. Collecting the raw materials hardly plays a role either, as you can find enough in the game world and hardly have to spend any for new units.
In addition to expanding the base, we can also provide Avyanna with equipment. In this way, the attributes can be additionally adapted and individualized with different armor, weapons and crystals. With the skill tree, various spells and a combat orientation, we can adapt Avy to our style of play and tactics. If every unit and ally from the active force is otherwise interchangeable, Avy must always be there. We can also give allies another attribute boost with the help of weapons and crystals, which then also uses up the customization options.
By all means
The battles are fought on battlefields divided into hexagons. The starting formation can be set before the battles. But not immediately before an encounter. Unfortunately, this isn’t really intuitive on the console. If you actively move units in the menu and rearrange the formation, you expect that these will be automatically accepted, because you can really only try them out in a battle. But if you don’t use the cursor to hit the save button again, everything will be reset accordingly. It is precisely these little teething problems that sometimes turn the player’s lead into a game of patience. On the PC, players may be used to saving. On the console, the player is conditioned for the autosave. Also the fact that there is no Fastsave outside of combat are small features that I simply missed while playing.
There is a unit limit for the starting grid. Each unit has a certain value and so you have to think carefully about which figures you put together your squad. However, due to the degree of difficulty, it almost doesn’t matter which units you put together the squad. A troop quickly established itself with which you plow your way through the game. The fights are turn-based. The order is determined by the initiative of the individual fighters. However, a first strike is not always an advantage, as the opponents are often so far apart that you cannot get to the opposing units in one move. In long-range combat it looks different again, of course, but these units can usually only attack along the straight lines. That is why it is important to position yourself accordingly. Each unit has two actions per turn. It depends on the character which actions are available. The blue action point is a movement, the red one an attack. The yellow action point, on the other hand, can either be used for movement or attack. The type of action points cannot be influenced.
What I really like is when our squad is superior to the opponent and the fight is not part of the main story, it can be skipped without loss at the push of a button. But that’s also quite good, because most of the fights are just too similar and so you can accelerate the progress a bit. At the end of a fight, whether skipped or even fought, there are experience points for each troop member deployed, whereby Avyanna, allied characters and normal units gain strength.
Not all gold that glitters
Disciples: Liberation is dominated by the typical gray-brown tones for Dark Fantasy titles. Nonetheless, the effects, environments, and the different character and faction design are beautifully staged. Design highlights are the boss fights that fall out of line. Whether a dragon or legendary figures as tall as a house. These fights are real highlights in the game in all respects. In terms of sound, the partial dubbing of the dialogues is sometimes a bit strange. While the main quests are all set to music, you have to do without them in the side quests. Overall, the soundtrack is very restrained and I quickly turned it off.
All in all, Disciples: Liberation, above all, does a lot and that is exactly where the problem lies. True to the motto less is more, a less inflated story, fewer fights, less set-up role play would simply have been better. A little more fine-tuning of what you have instead of inflating the feature list and playing time would have done the pacing and the accessibility of the story just fine. For every fan of turn-based strategy games, Disciples: Liberation should still be worth a look. But I definitely recommend a sale.
Variety of units
Wrapping the main protagonist
Story way too bloated
Lots of small lack of amenities
Only partially set to music