Disciples: Liberation is a fantastic turn based strategy role playing game. It manages to capture the old school role playing feeling with the punishing tactical combat and the presentation of the game. It also streamlines some elements of game play to make it a much more accessible game and keeps the focus on the combat and role playing.
The game’s combat is fantastic. You assign up to ten characters on the frontline and up to three characters in the backline. Characters put into the backline will use their supporting abilities while you have direct control over the characters in the frontline. When all your frontline characters are dead, the game is over.
The combat is pretty punishing but fair. If you position your characters poorly, they will most certainly meet a quick death. Liberation streamlines the combat but at the same time introduces interesting mechanics and a new layer of strategy. Each character will have multiple action points but the actions points can consist of three different types.
Blue action points can only be used for movement, red can only be used to attack, and yellow can be used for both. However, saving these action points will provide benefits as well. Saving a blue action point will give you extra initiative on the next turn whereas saving red will grant you bonus defense. Saving yellow will give you both. Each character has a different mix of action points depending on their class. For example, your companion Orion has two yellow action points so he can do any combination of movement and attacking twice per turn.
Each character starts out with only two abilities as well. One is usually a direct attack while the second may be an area of attack ability and may also contain a debuff for enemies below half health, such as the knight’s shield bash, which has a probability of confusing enemies below fifty percent health.
The combat sounds simple but it’s definitely fun and more importantly pretty challenging. It feels fast paced thanks to the streamlining but still provides a tactical challenge. Misplacing your enemies will lead to a quick death while underutilizing your abilities will lower you damage output and lead to you taking unnecessary damage.
The game takes away tedious grind as well. For combat encounters where you are vastly over leveled, you have the option to simply skip the combat but reap the rewards as if you won the battle. If you like the combat you can engage in it if you choose to do so. This keeps the grind to a minimum while letting you freely explore every nook and cranny of the map to the fullest.
The role playing elements of the game are excellent as well. You can talk to many characters, and choose responses, some of which will change the course of events in the game. The dialogue is solid and feels fleshed out with most of the important scenes backed by voice acting. The voice acting is serviceable. It has a B movie level of cheese sometimes. You also have the option to straight up attack characters right away.
On top of all of this is a simple base building mechanic. You have a headquarters where you can build new buildings, hire and upgrade troops, and upgrade your items after unlocking the necessary blueprints and gathering resources. You can conquer resource generators on the map so it gives you an incentive to explore as well as create a nice sense of progression in the game.
Overall, Disciples: Liberation came as a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know what to expect and found a very fun and enjoyable role playing game that does its best not to waste your time.