Disciples: Liberation Review

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Eschalon: Book II

Release Date:2021-10-21
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

Basically, the game has some really neat ideas, but it's like the developers gave up on them halfway through and fell back on what they knew, which is console and mobile games, leaving us with a game that works but doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense.

Nothing exemplifies this better than the leadership stat. Every 5 levels you get 5 leadership points allowing you to recruit a bigger or more advanced army. Only the game's four tiers of units cost 10, 20, 30, and 40 leadership respectively. Meaning that increase of 5 leadership does literally nothing and can not benefit you in any way whatsoever. It's just there to give you another number that keeps going up on its own.

Technical Information

On the technical side of things, the game was clearly designed with a controller in mind. As a result, navigating its many menus is way more annoying than it needs to be. The biggest offender is having to hold the mouse button. When you do it to upgrade your buildings, it's no big deal as you don't do that very often. But should you ever decide to organize your inventory, which means disassembling the countless useless armor pieces you've accumulated, you'll have to individually select every one of those, then hold the button for a few seconds and watch a quick little disassembling animation. After a while, you just give up and accept your new life as a hoarder.

Other than that, when accessing the menus, you have to first go through a close-up animation of your character screen for some reason, and that gets annoying fast. And to cap it all off, you can open your map by pressing M, but to close it you have to press Escape. It's just a million little things all coming together to make your experience marginally less enjoyable.

At least the game runs pretty well (except for one particular endgame fight). Plus, I didn't encounter any major bugs other than the game's logic glitching out occasionally and forgetting my earlier choices. There also was a skill I thought didn't work right, but I can't be entirely sure on that one.

Apart from having nothing to do with the original Disciples style, the game's visuals are quite pretty, especially when it comes to landscapes. Its unit models on the other hand vary a great deal, where some of them look pretty good, while others wouldn't seem out of place in Heroes of Might and Magic IV.

The game has limited voice-acting, but there's still a lot of it. I wouldn't have minded if it was more limited. Basically, let's just say if this was a game about a college lacrosse team, then its voice acting wouldn't seem out of place. But when those soft-spoken voices are coming from demons and cultists, it's pretty much impossible to take them seriously.

And don't even get me started on combat barks. I'm actually not joking when I say that at some point I started choosing my party composition based on a combination of how annoying a unit's voice was and the length of its attack animations.

There's also a multiplayer mode where you can assemble a squad and fight a friend or some stranger on the Internet (I waited for a few minutes but couldn't find a game that way). But if you remember Disciples as the series with great skirmish maps and hot-seat capabilities, this installment is not it.

Conclusion

Disciples: Liberation has a framework of good ideas buried under a pile of questionable design decisions. It would need a lot of adjustments and rebalancing to be satisfying on a mechanical level, and even then, we'll be left with a tonal inconsistency with the rest of the series.

Get this game only if you'd like to know what happened to the world of Disciples after it became a parody of itself, or if you're really desperate for a game in the vein of The Legend branch of the King's Bounty series.