- Developer: Sword and Axe LLC
- Publisher: Freedom Games
- Release Date: 15/06/2021
- Price: £19.49 / $24.99
- Review code provided by Freedom Games
Introduction to the Dark Deity Review
When I first saw Dark Deity, I was pretty excited. I grew up playing the Fire Emblem series and to see a game trying to emulate that style was interesting. But does Dark Deity hold up to the series that inspired it? Well join me as we dive into this review of Dark Deity.
More Than Just a War
The story of Dark Deity starts at a military academy. You follow Irving and his friends Garrick, Maren, and Alden. They begin to take the trial which will determine if Maren will graduate or not. However, war has been declared by the king and ready or not, Irving and his companions are conscripted into the military early.
Irving and friends depart, but are sidetracked by a bandit camp in an old mansion. It is at this point Dark Deity let’s you know that this game is more than a story about warring kingdoms. There are far greater threats to not only the two kingdoms, but the world. It is up to your ever growing party to determine what is going on and put a stop to it.
Time to Stretch that Brain
The major game play of Dark Deity is akin to the Fire Emblem series. Grid-based tactical combat where you use advantages to defeat ever growing challenges. It involves some thorough strategy in parts because even at the default difficulty this game can be challenging.
One change I didn’t see coming is that the classes didn’t play like I expected. Cleric based classes were able to actually deal damage outside of magic due to being more like Dungeons and Dragon styled clerics. In fact, now that I make the comparison I feel that is a good way to think of the character builds within the world of Dark Deity. That being said, Dark Deity has quite a few new mechanics to talk about, mixed in with more traditional ones of course.
Choose Your Weapon
Instead of weapons taking up inventory spots, each character in Dark Deity have four weapons available to them. Each weapon is designed to do something different. Be it hit for more damage, double attacks against slower opponents, or get critical hits more often.
So when declaring an attack against an enemy unit, a little pop-up window showing that stat breakdown will appear. From here you can select any of the four weapons your character has to attack with. Mage classes have this feature as well. I found myself leaning towards crit weapons for most ranged or fast characters, while using the increased damage ones for slower units and my archers.
Class Upgrade and Special Abilities
Another aspect taken from the genre itself is the idea of class promotions upon reaching certain milestones. While not being able to select the initial class of your units, this promotion system allows for some diversity in your character builds.
There are four different classes upgrades to pick from and each of them usually bolsters a different usage. Want your healer to be more of a tank? You can make an inquisitior. Turn your rogue into a duelist for a fast, high crit character. Even turn your mage into an armored force of nature, wielding lightning to strike down your foes.
To top all of this off each character has a unique ability to them. A lot of these unique abilities seem to be tied to the personality and background of each character. Some characters could just hit more or heal better due to these abilities.
Upgrade and Bond at the Camp
In-between each chapter, and sometimes between fights, you will enter a camp menu. From here you can manage each unit’s inventory, upgrade weapons, shop, and access the bond menu.
As I mentioned prior, each character has four weapons. These can be upgraded at the camp using weapon tier upgrade tokens. These are either found from defeating certain enemies in each battle or purchased within the store. I actually enjoyed this system a lot as it allowed me to focus on damage or crit based approaches more effectively over just picking a class.
The shop has several different tabs depending on what you want to buy. One for healing items, one for stat increases, and one for the upgrade tokens mentioned previously. I mainly used the shop to buy additional healing items or upgrade tokens.
Bonds build as the story progresses and I am pretty sure that those characters don’t have to be in the actual battle to rank up in bond. I say that because I ranked up a bond between Lincoln and Garrick when I didn’t even use Garrick within the previous battle. Bonds tend to be most effective when units have unique abilities centered around them. Though not all characters have abilities like that.
The Aspects of the Gods
Another major point of Dark Deity is the Aspects of the Gods. These are artifacts of various powers within the world. You equip these to characters of your party by putting them in their inventory and they bestow passive abilities on that unit. Some of the aspects that exist: one that causes enemies to target that unit, some that swap stats around on the equipped unit, one that will randomly change damage to a plus or minus of up to 30%. These aspects added a new depth to the gameplay.
Shouldn’t Have Put Them There
Yeah, we have to talk about what happens when one of your units falls in battle. Regardless of the difficulty you select, Dark Deity does not have permanent death. Maybe in a future release they could give us the option. What Dark Deity does have is a grave wounds system. If a unit falls in battle they suffer a grave wound and a permanent stat debuff. The game really knows what debuffs will hurt as my archers tended to be hit with dexterity debuffs. Whereas my speed characters saw a drop in their speed stat. It really felt that whatever stat a unit needed most is what they lost. And while you could use stat boosters to mitigate that, those were too pricey for my play through of the game.
Graphics and Character Models
Dark Deity has a graphical look similar to earlier Fire Emblem games with just a tad bit more modern look. On the battlefield sprites are pixel art, but in battle they are much more fleshed out. Though some of the fleshed out sprites made little sense to me. Referring to the image above, Alden is a young kid yet the Arcanist class makes him look like a full grown adult. I am not sure if this was intentional but it can be jarring to see his character portrait and then see his fleshed out sprite at the same time, like during a critical attack.
Overall, I would have to say that I enjoyed my time doing this review of Dark Deity. It had its problems, some chapters felt unbalanced in difficulty, for instance, but the gameplay itself was rather enjoyable. I had a lot of fun playing with the different class structures and planning out my next turn of attacks. Also loved the change to a grave wounds system, because while it could be frustrating at times depending on the lost stat, it is better than losing all your progress with that unit entirely. If you are looking for more games like Fire Emblem, than I will urge you to check out Dark Deity.
- Unique game play elements
- Nice art style
- Class promotion system allows for unique character combinations
- Varying difficulty
- Story is a little forced at times