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Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 80 Ratings

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  • Summary: Natural Doctrine a challenging strategy title which features cross-play and cross-save. The games sets out to test your ability to conquer the evils that lurk in the sprawling networks of mines and ruins in the areas surrounding the fortress city of Feste.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 31
  2. Negative: 10 out of 31
  1. 80
    If being humiliated and demoralised by in-game defeat is synonymous to Mel’s downfall, achieving victory in battle is a feeling equivalent to earning a billion dollars just for punching your life-long nemesis in the face.
  2. Oct 22, 2014
    70
    It's still one of my favorite games this year, but the flaws keep me from recommending it to everyone; this is a game for those who love the genre, and want an old-school tactical RPG challenge.
  3. Dec 2, 2014
    70
    There’s a thin line between rock-hard gameplay and a broken game and while Natural Doctrine runs up to that line repeatedly it manages to never actually cross it. What it does manage, however, is to be a great example of the genre while also doing very little to bring it into the twenty-first century.
  4. Nov 12, 2014
    55
    There are some interesting pieces in this puzzle, but once they form the final picture, you'll see something very different, and sadly not entirely enjoyable.
  5. Oct 6, 2014
    50
    Natural Doctrine isn't atrocious, but it does have a lot of issues. It's as frequently enjoyable as it is repugnant, an experience that will often blindside you with cheap deaths that reek of artificial difficulty.
  6. Sep 30, 2014
    45
    Now, I don’t want to act like this is an actual bad game. It’s not. It just has multiple things that make it far too difficult to play.
  7. Oct 1, 2014
    10
    It’s shocking to see something this bad on a current gen console, and it’s really sad to think that someone released this and asked for money.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 20
  2. Negative: 10 out of 20
  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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  2. Oct 21, 2014
    9
    So they finally created a game with challenge, minus boring intro cut scenes, and a fresh idea to combat interface... It comes down to this,So they finally created a game with challenge, minus boring intro cut scenes, and a fresh idea to combat interface... It comes down to this, upon playing, it's not for many of the modern gamers, the generation of "we're all winners" and "gimme a trophy". Turn based strategy has always been fun for me, even "die start over" games hold merit (eg original Hitman for PC). Quit being spoiled little kids. Cut scenes and stories are always lame and annoying and empty anymore. You don't like having difficulty then go pick up Atelier then you can feel like a winner again.
    This is a fresh idea and actually makes you think outside the box, sometimes while playing "clearing the dungeon" is not the objective, you need to pick up new items, gain experience, return and finish. There's a learning curve to this game and based on American education standards THIS is why you might not like it.
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  3. Oct 8, 2014
    9
    This game is a incredible strategy rpg, most of this genre are easy and only the story holds up the boring grind. This game has near zeroThis game is a incredible strategy rpg, most of this genre are easy and only the story holds up the boring grind. This game has near zero grind and more, can you make it further to get the item drop? Every fight matters, you need to out skill the dark souls based map designs that punish you for making a mistake. Hundred of snipers chaining combos because you didn't take your turn advantage when you could of. Thats your fault, just like souls. Story is something of a attack on titans feel, if any party member dies game over. Im not a fan of the genre but this game had me battling a level into the early hours of the morning trying to over come, while other missions my main character was blocking a entire army going all out on him while my gunners and mages picked off the enemy army. Nothing better than watching a strategy rpg finally compare to a anime when you watch geoff blocking over 20 attacks using improved block including named enemies after the loss of a a friend to make sure his friends dont need to fight the battle and have a chance of losing another. Ive never seen this in this genre.

    Improvements to the items systems need to be made, upgrade system is needed, graphics could be better, need for anime/cgi cut scenes are clear.
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  4. Nov 22, 2016
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Natural Doctrine, where to begin with this one...

    I originally saw images of the game a few years ago but only recently picked it up on the PSN store on discount for PS4.

    If you're interested in the story and end fight of this game, please be aware this review includes spoilers.

    At first the game seemed intriguing, planning out your moves before initiating any action, keeping track of which characters move next and being mindful of any other characters within range. The game-play itself isn't terrible, but what is bad is the lack of game-play that's available.

    After each fight you're greeted with the map screen from which you select your next destination. You choose from either the next story driven destination or a handful of caves you can "explore" to level up a little, gain equipment and pluton (a scarce resource used for casting magic, without this it makes your mage units useless)

    My biggest problems with the game however were 1: the characters and 2: the final boss.

    First off let's talk about the characters. Right at the start of the game you have 4 random characters thrust on you: Geoff, Anka, Zeke and Vessily. Although the characters do chat before missions and on the map screen after completing missions, you don't really know anything about any of them or their backstory, this is later emphasized when (spoiler) Vessily dies and her sister goes after Zeke, Zeke having prior connections to the sisters and Geoff having some sort of "connection" with a dragon clan later mentioned towards the end of the game, but nothing comes of said information. To top it all off regarding lack of character growth or detail, you have 2 random characters join you at the very end of the game, Ingbert who's been chasing you the whole game, and Gremori the dragon clan lady who just decides to "go with you" coz why not right?

    Next up, the final boss. The last encounter in the game throws some huge enemies at you and that's understandable, what's not acceptable however is the whole fight itself. There is NO other fight in the game anywhere NEAR similar to this fight in the sense that this is the ONLY fight in the game where the main enemy and a few other big enemies in the room regenerate HP after being killed! The main enemy being the Queen Gorian has 3 full HP phases and changes forms. If similar smaller encounters like this were in the game earlier to prepare you then that'd be fine, but no. It's almost like playing a completely different game.

    I also want to talk a bit about how the game feels like it's seriously lacking in certain features. Alongside barely any story or character development, there's equipment. What's wrong with equipment you ask? well in chests found in dungeons you can repeat, you can collect an abundance of different strength rings. Along the main quest missions you can also find some +1, +2 and +3 versions of weapons. The + and the abundance of rings is where the problem lies. After collecting so many rings, they just sit collecting dust in your inventory, as do the old weapons you no longer need. If there are + weapons and a huge stack of un-used gear in your inventory, why is there no crafting system to add + stats to weapons and use up your old equipment for something?

    All in all the game feels like it was hastily put together and many ideas, encounters and areas that should have been in the game were removed for whatever reason.

    My final thoughts? I wouldn't recommend buying it. If you see it on discount and you have money to burn or get it as a gift then sure, go for it. But don't say I didn't warn you. Oh and one last thing: When the game warns you that there's no turning back (so near the last fight) go farm tons of Pluton (about 30g will do) as it's pretty much the only way to win the final fight.
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  5. Dec 3, 2014
    4
    A huge disappointment. It's not the really challenging difficulty level (where "challenging" means "your worst nightmare becomes true and willA huge disappointment. It's not the really challenging difficulty level (where "challenging" means "your worst nightmare becomes true and will require you endless attempts, failure and repeats), the standard boring story, the flat and stereotyped characters. I can leave with all of that.
    The real problem with the game is an unnecessary complex battle system, absurd controls and whimsical camera prospectives.
    I had to give up after 4-5 hours of oathing and cursing and I felt robbed of my money.
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  6. Jan 6, 2015
    3
    This game is basically a chess set with a facade of video game laid on top of it. There's not much storyline, the visuals are mediocre, theThis game is basically a chess set with a facade of video game laid on top of it. There's not much storyline, the visuals are mediocre, the characters are boring, and the gameplay is pretty confusing. The battle system is convoluted, and the game does a terrible job of explaining how it all works. Once you do get everything figured out, prepare to get your butt kicked over and over again until you memorize the movement patterns of the enemy and can actually complete the dungeon. Expand
  7. May 17, 2015
    0
    There are loads of reasons why this game is bad. But let me sum it up on one level... You go to a bridge, where what looks like a mage isThere are loads of reasons why this game is bad. But let me sum it up on one level... You go to a bridge, where what looks like a mage is running from 3 knights. If the mage dies you lose. only each one of your cha's have one turn before he dies and you dont get to move close enough to help him.. not evan kinda. close.. game over evary time. you dint do any thing, dint attack, dint use a skill. all you did was go to the bridge, and the game more or less playes its self to a game over. awesome eh? Expand

See all 20 User Reviews