In this Disciples: Liberation Gameplay & Features Overview, we’re going to take a look at the classes, mechanics, abilities, factions and base-building aspects of the new dark fantasy strategy RPG developed by Frima Studio and published by Kalypso Media. Although the game is part of the Disciples Series, it isn’t a sequel. Disciples: Liberation will be released on October 21, 2021 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
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Disciples: Liberation Gameplay & Features Overview
- Name: Disciples: Liberation
- Platforms: PC (Steam and Epic Game Store), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
- Developer: Frima Studio
- Publisher: Kalypso Media
- Release Date: 21st October 2021
- Genre: Turn-Based RPG
What is Disciples: Liberation?
Disciples: Liberation is a dark fantasy, turn-based, tactical RPG that’s reminiscent of Heroes of Might and Magic due to the hexagonal grid combat style. However, what sets the game apart is it consists of individual units rather than stacks of the same types of groups.
When it comes to the actual combat, Disciples II: Dark Prophecy and Disciples: Liberation are also quite different from one other. In the latest installment, Backline Mechanics for units have been retained, but your frontliners aren’t stationary so they’re able to move from one grid to the next. This is a tactical aspect since you need to optimally position your army in order to gain the upper hand.
Disciples: Liberation lets you engage in Singleplayer or Campaign Mode and Multiplayer Mode. In the latter, you can challenge a friend via online skirmishes where you both get to choose Avyanna’s class, companions and army composition. Overall, the game features four classes and factions, multiple companions, and unit types together with a ton of abilities, making the combat highly varied and strategic.
Overview and Setting
Disciples: Liberation is set in Nevendaar where you’ll be playing as Avyanna the Mercenary, who along with her best friend, Orion, remain in hiding to escape from The Veil, which is an organization determined to hunt them down. Even if this takes place in the same universe as its predecessors, it follows a new set of characters. Your adventure starts when you suddenly discover and open a portal to the abandoned city of Yllian. This has prompted you to set up a sanctuary base of sorts as you attempt to liberate Nevendaar from corruption and evil while forming alliances with multiple factions and key figures.
To progress in the game, you select a region in the map you wish to explore. Each area that you teleport to allows you to initiate combat or complete quests by talking with NPCs. What makes Disciples: Liberation compelling is how influential your choices are not only on the outcome of numerous storylines and ending but also in the gameplay itself. Choosing certain dialogue options can shift the relationship you’ve built or destroyed with a faction. It also shows the group you favor more over the others. As a result, you’re able to recruit more powerful units from that same faction.
Disciples: Liberation boasts an art style that’s different from the one we’ve seen in Dark Prophecy and this is by no means a bad thing. Although I would’ve preferred a grim and darker tone, the game has managed to pull off decent atmospheres showing how fractured and ravaged some regions have become due to the wars that ensued. Additionally, the music and sound makes for exhilarating combat encounters because of how upbeat and lively they are. However, an area that needs additional work is the imbalanced voice acting because it sometimes shifts the serious tone of the game into something comical.
At the start of Disciples: Liberation, you immediately witness a conversation between Avyanna and Orion as they discuss a contract that involves killing a priest. This is then followed by your first encounter against Empire Forces. Unlike most RPGs, there’s no Character Creation where you can select a hero to play as, dump points into certain attributes, and select the abilities you’d like to try out. Instead, the main character you control is Avyanna who starts out as a Mercenary. She can eventually branch out to another class based on the skills you invest in.
Setting foot in one of the many regions of Nevendaar lets you level up Avyanna, her companions and units through combat. As you explore each area, you’ll be exposed to different environments, castles, dungeons and caverns together with NPCs to discover the nuances of this world. Furthermore, you’ll notice capturable buildings, which let you take them under your control to gather resources over a period of time. These resources come in the form of gold, iron, wood and arcane flux, to name a few, in order to upgrade your army and city. At earlier levels, it’s important to own several buildings so you can passively accumulate resources as you engage with other activities.
Combat has two components, particularly the squad formation and combat proper. Prior to the start of an encounter, you’ll have the option to edit and assign units and companions on the board together with the positions you’d like them to take. Each of these units have Frontline and Backline Abilities. Frontline Abilities refer to the skills you actively use while Backline Abilities pertain to buffs that are automatically granted to allies as well as debuffs to inflict harmful conditions against enemies.
You can assign any character, except for companions and Avyanna who always take the frontline, in either position. When you’re starting out, I highly recommend placing a Soldier from the Empire Faction in the backline because they grant protection and resistance to the ally with the lowest HP, which notably enhances their survivability.
The number of allies you include is limited by their associated Leadership Cost. The higher the unit’s tier, the more costly they are. But this is only applicable to frontline members since it won’t cost you anything to place them in the backline so you need to be strategic in terms of the abilities you intend to utilize. Similarly, backline units have one restriction. You can’t assign the same type of unit, which means that it’s not possible to stack 3 Soldiers to protect your frontliners. The maximum Leadership number is improved when you upgrade your Castle in Yllian. This allows you to put stronger units together to increase your chances of winning battles.
Moreover, when you inspect units, you can equip them with Emotion Shards, which provide bonuses such as additional damage dealt, physical resistance, and better chances to execute critical hits. When they die, the shard goes back to your inventory so make sure to equip these all the time to boost your allies. Conversely, with companions, they’re also able to wield Weapons to further enhance their capabilities. In terms of grid placement, they don’t cost Leadership points but you’re only allowed to assign two of them at any given time.
Each frontliner has Action Points (AP) to execute an ability and to move across the grid, which are depicted as red and blue actions, respectively. Stronger units and companions have one additional AP that lets them perform either of these actions. What’s good about this system is it gives your characters the time to recover from massive damage.
If you were to stay in place without using an ability, you gain initiative to improve your chances of going first in the next round and the damage you take is much less. Note that you still receive some of these benefits if you were to only move or attack in the same round as long as you don’t consume all of your AP. This also leads to the restoration of 10% of your total HP.
At the start of an encounter, it’s sometimes better to wait in order to draw creatures towards you. This becomes vital especially when you’re fighting against melee enemies because they have no choice but to approach you. Additionally, you’ll also notice elements on the ground that grant buffs or status effects to the first unit who moves to that specific tile. For instance, if you step on the Orb of Inspiration, you receive Morale boosts to increase your overall power and critical chance. On top of enemy presence, you have to be aware of these modifiers because it can change the direction of combat.
Positioning is key in efficiently making full use of your abilities to win fights. Always make it a point to flank an enemy in order to boost the damage you deal against them. You can even trap them in a corner so they won’t be able to evade any of your attacks. Lastly, if you find the pace a bit slow, you can increase the combat animation speed by up to 200%. Simply click the double arrows located at the lower right-hand corner of your screen.
Classes and Abilities
In Disciples: Liberation, you can only choose from one of the four classes for Avyanna since she’s the main hero. These are the Warlord, Hexblade, Seeress and Witch. Should you wish to try out the other classes, you can reallocate your skill points in Yllian.
Warlords specialize in dealing Burst Damage up close with a sword. They have the following unique abilities – Piercing Strike, Purification and Divine Strength. Piercing Strike allows them to deal great Physical Damage due to the amount of Physical Resistance it ignores. Additionally, this also inflicts Curse, which reduces the target’s HP recovery. Purification deals Divine Damage against enemies while granting Inspired towards allies as long as they’re within Avyanna’s range. Divine Strength is a passive that raises the ally’s Physical Resistance and Damage.
The Hexblade is a Melee and Magic Damage Dealer Hybrid in that the Spells they cast inflict certain status effects against targets. They’re able to deal Physical Damage while poisoning their enemy using Venom Blade. Thanks to Burning Verdict, they have the capability to deal AoE Damage on top of paralyzing and burning their foes. For the Hexblade’s Dexterous passive ability, they can improve the squadmates’ evasion and critical hit chances.
The Seeress is a pure Mage Build, which utilizes Elemental Spells to deal devastating damage. With the Polar Ray Ability, they’re able to deal Cold Damage against 5 chained enemies. It also weakens them by hampering their movement and initiative. Radiance, on the other hand, is capable of dealing Divine Damage in addition to healing surrounding allies. For the Seeress’s passive, which is Holy Resilience, they can grant Regen to those who have low HP.
The Witch is another Mage Build that focuses on weakening creatures. With the Anguish Ability, they can deal Unholy Damage, Bleeding and Afraid against targets. Bleeding increases the Physical Damage they take whereas Afraid lowers their Morale, thereby decreasing their effectiveness in combat. Meanwhile, Heaven’s Light not only deals Divine Damage but it also inflicts Weakened, which lowers the enemy’s power and resistances even more. Lastly, the Witch has the Inspiring Power passive that boosts an ally’s Divine and Unholy Damage.
Quests and Equipment
Quests are usually accessed by interacting with different NPCs in the regions you explore. As mentioned previously, you’re able to talk to some of them diplomatically rather than initiating combat. If you want to pick a fight, however, you can choose to be ready for battle, retreat or conquer. Conquer lets you skip the entire encounter since the game detects the disparity in power between you and the enemy, which ultimately leads to your victory. This is a good mechanic because you save time and you still get the XP and rewards as if you fought them in the first place. After every victory, you acquire random pieces of gear, which are predominantly equipped by Avyanna.
Factions and Player Choice
Disciples: Liberation features four Factions, which are the Empire, Elven Alliance, Undead Hordes, and Legions of the Damned. They are composed of multiple races such as the Humans, Elves, Undead and Demons with their own Physical and Magical Abilities. Depending on the choices you make, you’ll be able to form alliances with some of them. Improving your relationships with factions grants boosts and upgrades. For instance, if you’re friendly with the Legions of the Damned, you receive a +1 Morale bonus and you’re able to upgrade their corresponding building in Yllian, which is the Heart of the Abyss.
As a result, you gain access to their top tier recruits such as the Berserker Tier II. Note that when you enlist them from the city, they start at Level 1 so you’ll have to spend resources for training to make them battle-ready. As long as you continue to work in their favor, you unlock skills that are only available through this partnership. By default, you have access to all of the Tier I units of these four factions so you can certainly combine different unit types based on their abilities. These are the reasons why player choice matters because it not only affects the story, but it also has an impact on the gameplay.
It’s best to align yourself with one to two factions at a time to avoid spreading yourself too thin. In this manner, you can also continue unlocking higher tier recruits with more capable stats. As a beginner, the Empire is a good starting point because they have abilities that boost the damage you’re able to absorb.
Building the City of Yllian
Base-building is a crucial aspect of Disciples: Liberation because aside from recruiting and training your army, you’re able to research Avyanna’s Spells to prepare them for use, reassign skill points, converse with companions, buy and upgrade equipment, and merge Emotion Shards to make them stronger. These are where you spend the resources you gather. Note that you can only upgrade Emotion Shards with the same rarity. If you have two Shards of Sorrow and one of them is Rare while the other is Common, you won’t be able to combine them to create a greater shard.
The sites in Yllian are not set in stone, which means that you can phase them out to make room for other units belonging to the faction you have a decent relationship with. As long as you have blueprints from completing quests, you can construct buildings such as the Desecrated Church in order to recruit and train Lesser Devils and Infernal Golems of the Legion Faction. It’s worth remembering that the ones you’ve phased out can be brought back by paying a fee.
Disciples: Liberation is a tactical, turn-based RPG where the synergies of squad formation, positioning, and ability utilization are essential to pull off victories. It’s not as simple as placing a handful of units on the battlefield. What makes the stakes higher is the fact that any character, besides Avyanna, can permanently die if they fall in combat. After playing for numerous hours, I can say that the gameplay of this installment is fun and exciting. I appreciate how much agency the player has in terms of the choices they make, even if the game does not remind me much of Disciples II.
Another thing I enjoyed about this game is the flexible class system, which gives you the opportunity to try out other classes. But at the same time, if you’re too far into the game, it can get tough to fully utilize them depending on how invested you are with certain factions. If you’re looking for a story-driven, turn-based RPG with base-building, light exploration, and strategic combat, then you may want to check out Disciples: Liberation. It comes out tomorrow October 21, 2021 and costs 49.99 USD. You can use the link below to support the channel!
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