30 Jun 2021 9:17 AM +00:00 UTC

Dark Deity Review: Basically Fire Emblem for the PC

Dark Deity was a surprise launch at E3, announced during Freedom Games' showcase at the convention.

Dark Deity was developed by the small development team at Sword and Axe and is currently available on the PC.

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Classic Gameplay

Dark Deity battle animation
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NOSTALGIA: The battle animations are glorious

Dark Deity plays very similarly to classic Fire Emblem games, with players moving through the story and partaking in key battles, placing their units on the map, and working out the best way to overcome numerous foes.

There is a gaggle of playable characters, each of which is a certain class, and each class has four different upgradable weapons or spells to choose from, as well as special abilities or actions they can perform.

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As players level up their character, they will choose better classes, each with its own special features.

Similar to other SRPGs, Dark Deity also features a Bonds system, where characters who battle near each other develop new conversation options together between battles.

The more characters level up their Bonds, the closer they become, and the more story is unlocked between the two.

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Masterful Level Design

Dark Deity level example
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CURVE: The game gets more difficult as it progresses

Every level in Dark Deity is well laid out, offering players different ways to approach them.

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While the game can be difficult sometimes, it never feels like character deaths are random or completely out of players' hands.

With careful planning, weapon choice, and character placement, players can overcome most obstacles without suffering or having to repeat maps too often.

Speaking of character death, Dark Deity does not contain a permadeath option like the Fire Emblem series or some other SRPG systems do.

When a character falls in battle, it suffers a reduction to one of its core stats.

If a character falls too many times in battle, it is then removed from play.

A Bit of a Bust

Dark Deity Cia
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CIA: You can explain away the barmaid, but the others?

As great as Dark Deity is, it does suffer from one significant flaw. While the artwork in the game is outstanding, female character designs feel like an unwelcome relic of a bygone era.

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While there are some exceptions, most women in the game are oversexualized.

In this day in age, one would hope game designers would know better, but Dark Deity falls into the same traps that many anime-inspired games tend to fall into.

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Verdict

Dark Deity sets out with a specific goal in mind, and it meets that goal with surprising success.

The game provides a fresh SRPG experience on the PC while still capturing the nostalgia of older titles in the genre.

While Fire Emblem games will most likely never leave Nintendo's platform, Dark Deity is as close as PC players can get to the popular series of games.

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With an excellent story, tight mechanics, and tons of customization available for players, Dark Deity is a game that any SRPG fan should have in their library.

It is unfortunate that outdated and over-sexualized depictions of women slightly tarnish such an otherwise beautiful gem.

4/5

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Reviewed on PC.