Dark Deity is a strategy RPG about a group of kids having to go straight from a prestigious school into a war, simply because the king is a bit of an idiot and doesn’t seem to realise that sending children into battle is bad. Don’t get me wrong, the whole thing is a little messed up anyway, because the eldest students here always get sent to war, but the king wants revenge for his fallen father, so he’s just gone ahead and forced fourteen-year-olds to fight as well.
That’s the basis for Dark Deity, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of the story itself. I’m not going to spoil anything, but in true strategy RPG fashion, things go pretty horribly awry fairly early on, and you and your merry band of badasses have a lot of fierce battles ahead of you.
Hit them with the biggest stick
Dark Deity follows the Fire Emblem school of strategy when it comes to combat (and also animations, and story, but you probably got that already). This means that you have a small elite group of units to choose from, and each of them fights with weapons that are strong against some weapons and weak against others.
Here’s where the first main difference comes in though. While Fire Emblem has breakable weapons that you have to equip and carry around, Dark Deity gives every class four different weapons to choose from at any given time, and all of those are unbreakable. Each one offers a different balance of speed, accuracy, power, and critical hit chance. Your best bet is to find the weapon that fits the playstyle of your unit, but the ability to swap on the fly means you can always switch things up if your usual weapon just isn’t going to work.
Alongside attacks, each class also has a special action they can take. Your cleric, for example, can heal people, while other units might be able to stop enemies moving or teleport. It adds a little more strategy on top of what you’d expect, and using a mix of everything at your disposal is often the only way to come out on top in some of the tougher battles.
It’s time for a change
As characters level up, they’ll get the chance to change classes too. These often alter the weapons you’ll be using, but more importantly, they add powerful new passive skills. There’s one for most magic classes that allows them to heal based on the damage they’re doing, and you don’t have to be a genius to know that that’s an incredibly useful skill.
The animations in the fights are very reminiscent of the GBA versions of Fire Emblem, which for a lot of us, is how we were introduced to the series. That means you’ve got little pixel animations that vaguely resemble the far more detailed anime portraits of your characters slapping each other about.
The coolest part though, is the critical hit system. You get to see your character flash up before they say something like “you’re just another cur,” or “sorry in advance.” They then do a fancier animation than usual before dealing double damage and often ending their target’s life. The animations in these moments are incredible, and even if it’s just an archer spinning around an arrow before firing, it makes the events feel special.
Death comes for us all
As this is an SRPG, you’re going to lose units sometimes. However, rather than having your units die permanently, Dark Deity instead robs them of a point from one of their stats. It means that you still fear the reaper, but you can also offset it a little bit if you find or buy some stat increasing items.
Alongside the battles, you’ll also get the chance to foster and improve the relationships between your characters. These take place via bonding conversations you have between levels, and characters get a small boost from being near units they have a good relationship with. Yes, it’s very Fire Emblem, but that’s basically the whole point of this game.