Disciples: Liberation Review

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Eschalon: Book II

Release Date:2021-10-21
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Developed by Frima Studio and published by Kalypso Media, Disciples: Liberation is the latest entry in the Disciples series that up until this point existed to answer a simple question - what would happen if you took the over-the-top gothic grandeur of Warhammer, turned it up to eleven and mashed it together with Heroes of Might and Magic?

Liberation then is different in that it's more reminiscent of the King's Bounty series where you control a single hero that goes around the map collecting quests, items and resources, and fighting an ungodly amount of turn-based battles.

And with the recent King's Bounty II going in a more cinematic direction, you might be wondering if perhaps Liberation could become the proper successor to King's Bounty: The Legend and its sequels. If that's the case, or if you're just curious about Liberation, you can find our thoughts on this particular title below.

Remember Bethrezen? He's Back. In Pog Form!

What with the genre shift and the game sporting a subtitle instead of a number, you may be forgiven if you confuse Liberation for a soft reboot of some description. But this is not the case here. The game is a direct continuation of Disciples III, with plenty of connections to the earlier entries in the series.

And while this is certainly a bold move in this age of endless remakes, it's not necessarily a good thing. Soon after launching the game, you'll realize that its tone and style are nothing like the earlier Disciples games where even elves looked like they started their day by bench-pressing tree trunks.

Instead of this epic tale that kind of looks like a Rembrandt painting, you have what's essentially a young adult story about two mercenary assassins whose primary concerns seem to be getting their hands on some booze and coming up with the perfect zany one-liner.

After a bit of just that, we get introduced to the bigger picture where the game's four races (Demons, Undead, Humans, and Elves) are sick of getting involved in their respective deities' squabbles, and so they now want to go all Nietzsche and kill their gods or otherwise break free from their control. And our protagonist Avyanna, being the product of a union between an angel and a demon that happened back in Disciples III, is uniquely positioned to facilitate this global liberation.

Which isn't that bad of a story, considering the series' lore. It's just that the game's irreverent tone and its never-ending barrage of quips all but ensure that none of that stuff lands, and any semblance of tension gets immediately diffused by some timely exchange about the virtues of demonic ale.

And while I was far from a fan of Liberation's story, things weren't all bad in that area. I was actually surprised by how many choices you get to make, and the way they send ripples through the game.

Liberation is essentially separated into three acts, and each of those has 4-5 expansive areas associated with it. You get to choose the order in which to tackle these areas, and as a result, the developments in the earlier areas will change some interactions in the later ones. Furthermore, a good few of your decisions in the earlier acts will determine the encounters you get later on. And that's not even mentioning how the areas themselves saddle you with plenty of choices and more than a fair share of opportunities to double-cross your employers or play both sides.