The Frima Studio-produced Disciples: Liberation is out now for PCs and consoles, bringing the cult PC franchise to consoles for the first time.
This reboot for the franchise stays true to the fantasy origins of the first games and the world and lore that was created for it. You play as Avyanna, whose warrior roots and current leadership role make for a good fit with the game’s strategic combat RPG gameplay. Liberation’s lengthy campaign takes place in the world of Nevendaar, and mixed turn-based combat with a narrative-driven campaign and base building elements.
It’s an interesting hybrid of styles, and steadily expanding mechanics keep things interesting for the duration of what is arguably too lengthy of a campaign for many, clocking in at well over 60 hours for us and claimed to be 80 hours long – we rushed through it a bit for the sake of the review. Our point here – be ready to invest a lot of free time into this one.
During the game, you’ll regularly switch between combat scenes and an overworld in which you explore dungeons, interact with characters and capture buildings to increase your production capacity. Wins in combat boost your economy, and having a thriving one increased your chances in combat as well – think of resources and recruitment here.
In a game that’s this long, an interesting world is crucial – and Disciples: Liberation delivers on that front. Nevendaar is filled with lore, and although some of it references the original games you can play it just as well as a newcomer. Conversations and questlines branch out, eventually leading to different conclusions as well, although we didn’t have time to put in multiple 60+ hour playthroughs to see how different one path is from the next. Dialogue choices look like they’d be impactful though, so once this insanely busy season is over we’ll try to dive in again – the story is rich and entertaining enough to warrant it, and handy symbols clue you in as to how your choices will affect the rest of the campaign. With plenty of plot twists in place already, Disciples: Liberation certainly has a story to tell, no matter how you play it.
The combat system is familiar, yet interesting, with activation points on the battle map that boost your abilities if you manage to reach them safely. Another unique element, which we also pointed towards in our preview, is the ability to have units on the backline that don’t actively play a role in the battle but provide buffs to the troops that are fighting. With all the usual action points, unit types and environmental elements, it’s a well-rounded and fun to play battle system – even though deep strategy gets difficult on account of relatively small battlegrounds.
One of the larger goals for Avyanna is to reclaim an ancient city, and this is where the base building and economy management comes in. You can recruit units for your armies, but can also trade resources at marketplaces – which you can then use at a blacksmith’s to reinforce your troops. It’s rather seamless in how it all blends into the narrative campaign and the combat, and because it’s not too in depth it’s easy to digest even for RPG players who normally have no affinity for games like city builders.
It all makes for a nicely balanced package that’s a nice re-introduction to the Disciples franchise, and one that’s streamlined enough to make the jump to consoles quite comfortably as well. If you’re looking for a narrative-driven fantasy RPG with strategic/tactical combat, then Disciples will keep you busy for weeks.