previews\ Jul 3, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Disciples III: Renaissance preview


If you’re a fan of the Disciples franchise, then it has been a long eight years of waiting for the next proper entry to the series. However, it looks like your patience is about to pay off, as Kalypso is finally prepping to release the long-awaited follow-up to the strategy-RPG series, Disciples III: Renaissance. Boasting a new developer, Akella, a new engine, and several new gameplay elements, Disciples III is looking to bring players back into the franchise in a big way.

Disciples III allows you to play as three different races: humans, Legions of the Damned, and the elves. Each of the three boasts its own unique set of missions and storylines; totaling 19 (the humans and Legion have six missions a piece, while the elves have seven). The story follows each race from their own point of view after witnessing a shooting star that falls from the sky. They each perceive the falling object to be an angel from the heavens, and have their own ideas of how to utilize it for their own personal gains.

When surveying the map, you’re able to move as far as your movement points will allow. Once you’ve exhausted your movement points, you’ll have to end your turn, similar to a turn-based strategy game, which allows enemies or other characters to make a move across the board. This also refreshes your movement points, allowing you to traverse the terrain and explore yet again.

The game’s battle system is as straightforward as they come. The turn-based system allows you to position your units throughout the field, select the appropriate attack, and then click on the specific enemy you want to take out. Each fighter’s turn is placed in an easy to see queue at the bottom of the screen, so you know which enemy is gearing up to strike. There is also an auto-attack function that lets you put the battles on auto-pilot.

The long gestation period has had positive effects on the gameplay. A number of tweaks and key additions have been made to the series, including the ability to teach your character skills via a new skill board, which lets you gain passive and active abilities and powers as you fill out the board. You’ll gain skill points as you gain experience and level up your character, which can then be used on the board as you see fit, allowing for some personal customization.

The game also boasts a deep strategy features as well. Allowing you to build structures with earned materials, you can upgrade your units, customize their classes, or unlock new unit types. This permits for more customization options the longer you play. Building structures takes up a turn as well as resources, but grants you significant boosts on the map.

Disciples III changes things up from its predecessors by offering a full 3D aesthetic as opposed to the original’s 2D environments. The game looks pretty good for the genre, and the art design is solidly implemented in the game’s engine. In the preview build, the game’s sound seemed to be on the fritz, as the score would get stuck and start looping the same couple of seconds over and over after a point (additionally, the voice work was entirely in Russian).

The wait has been long for fans, but Disciples III is finally upon the patient masses. Look for it later this month.

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