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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Summary: Conquer the evils that occupy the sprawling networks of mines and ruins in the areas surrounding the fortress city of Feste.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Oct 2, 2014
    60
    Dense, hard and very tactical JRPG which supports Cross Save between all PlayStation current platforms. A hardcore experience.
  2. Even the hardcore will be sorely tested by this. [December 2014, p78]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Oct 8, 2014
    10
    A game that gives you tools to annihilate enemies with impunity, but also gives them that chance. If you make the mistake and let them.A game that gives you tools to annihilate enemies with impunity, but also gives them that chance. If you make the mistake and let them.

    Natural Doctrine is a very hard, but also a very fair game in that everytime you fail, it's been your own fault. Very little in the game is left up to chance and number differences, and whether you fail or succeed depends on how you wield the tools the game gives you. If you're sloppy in pulling up the rear of your group; if you advance too aggressively; if you try to win by turtling; if you fail to multiply your forces by activating links; if you waste all your force by activating all your links early; if you fail to check the sight lines of your gunners: You get punished. But everytime it's because you made a mistake that you can learn to avoid the next time.

    Now, this admittedly may not be entertaining for everyone. Some people prefer a good cinematic CoD session, some people prefer a cartoony evening with Rayman, some people prefer the well-told story of adventures like Monkey Island. This game is squarely aimed at people who wish to stress their brain.

    It suffers from only two things, which are minor: It loves to play all its animations, however this can be improved by holding circle all the time to speed them up. It does not do a good job explaining the game mechanics, because the translation team itself did not understand them; this is not much of an issue though. It has a fairly gentle curve in how it lets you learn and come to grips with the mechanics, and offers free dungeons the player can repeat as often as they like, and offers checkpoints in the dungeons.

    I might see this differently, because i'm german, but the story is refreshingly earnest and pragmatic. At one point the main character suffers a traumatic loss, which in most other games would make him the depressed and disturbed hero for the rest of the game, who rests all the blame on one bad person. In this game the main character manages to realize that the group as a whole failed, and that despite what happened, they need to keep moving or die.

    Also, to adress one popular negative argument trotted out against the game: The door with tens of goblins behind it all ready to slaughter you. This is a perfect example of how every failure is the player's fault. There is a number of such doors in the game, and for everyone a simple rule is in effect that is explained the first time you encounter a door: As long as the character opening it is not the last character you can move in the current turn, your next character will have initiative after opening it, enabling them to use links to activate the rest of the team and slaughter whatever's beyond the door.

    Natural Doctrine is brave enough to offer refreshingly unique and challenging gameplay, and is unfairly panned by people who simply did not understand one of its simplest rules.
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