Our Score: 8/10
Disciples: Liberation by Frima Studio is a dark fantasy RPG with strategy elements and turn-based combat. Fantasy is a genre that I enjoy because there’s so much room for creativity and storytelling. And when I hear Dark Fantasy, I’m even more interested. It’s not easy to pull off a dark story in a fantasy world because it’s like a balancing act. How dark is too dark? How do you make it feel believable without it being outlandish?
With a heavy focus on narrative and decision-making Disciples: Liberation is quite an interesting RPG. Morality is also an integral part of the game’s narrative and story. The way it handles morality surprised me and made me more invested in the world. Often, I find it somewhat boring or straight-up immersion breaking when games have black and white or clear-cut good and bad choices. I want that inner conflict, I want to make hard decisions and this game feeds that need.
What is Disciples: Liberation?
You play as Avyanna, an assassin whose simple assassination goes wrong. She somehow finds herself in the abandoned city of Ylliana which seems to be hidden from the rest of the world. With her best friend Orion, she makes Ylliana her new home and sets up a base of operations there. She feels the threads of fate pulling at her and sets out to leave her mark in the world of Nevendaar.
Nevendaar is a war-torn realm that is filled to the brim with secrets and tons of stories to be told. With so many factions all vying for their own profit, your choices through the game will effect your standing with them and the fate of Nevendaar.
The Gameplay Loop
As this is an RPG, there are lots of conversations and exploration. You’ll travel the outdoors on horseback because there’s a lot to cover. But when you get into a skirmish, prepare yourself for turn-based combat. The combat system in Disciples: Liberation is an interesting one. Crystals dictate what your unit and team members can do, and how many times per turn. Blue is for movement, red is for attacks and most units have one of each. Some units have yellow which means they have the choice to move or attack. And on top of that, units also have cooldown-based special abilities.
A fantastic quality of life feature in the game is the option to immediately “Conquer” a nonimportant battle so you don’t spend your time fighting non-consequential battles if you don’t want to. Do keep in mind though, the story missions do have quite a difficulty spike so make sure to get a good feel of the system, have good units, and save frequently.
Other than this, the game also features a base-building element. Since the town of Ylliana is pretty much yours, you need to populate it with people and buildings so that it can stand on its own and aid you in your quest.
Look and Feel
Disciples: Liberation is an isometric RPG. Its visual style and design remind me of some of the classics of this genre. The monotonous colors of this war-torn realm are frequently broken apart with great lighting, particles, and environmental hazards. The magic in this game is gorgeous to look at. The interior structures and their lighting is also a sight to behold. The game isn’t a graphical powerhouse but it’s a good visual style that never detracts from the experience.
The game does have voice acting which can be a hit or miss. It’s not bad by any means but it’s not great either and I’d say is passable. Besides this, the sound design and music are good and do a great job of accompanying you in your journey.
Disciples: Liberation is a deep strategy RPG with a dark world that is brimming with mystery and secrets where you need to make some hard choices. Even though the game does have difficulty spikes, the plot and overall narrative were strong enough for me to not give up and keep pushing.
If you’re looking for a game where there’s no clear-cut “correct” choice and where decisions actually matter, this game is right up your alley. It’s quite engrossing and with the base building mechanic, you can spend a lot of time going back forth between that and the exploration/combat. It’s quite an impressive game and I’m excited to see more.
Disciples: Liberation releases on 21st October for The PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S\X Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows with a Free Demo available on Steam now.