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60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

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  • Summary: Overcome the evils that inhabit the vast networks of mines and ruins in the areas surrounding the fortress city of Feste.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. 80
    It's the most hardcore tactics strategy game you'll ever play. It's brutally and unapologetically unforgiving, and yes, it lacks the presentation values and atmosphere that would help people get over the learning curve. But for the patient few who will be willing to give this game the time it demands, Natural Doctrine is going to be an experience with nearly limitless depth and it is, in fact, one of the best multiplayer strategy experiences on any console at the moment.
  2. Oct 6, 2014
    66
    The story could use more depth and the framedrops are a bit annoying but easy to forgive. The online multiplayer is a great way to extend gameplay and works very well.
  3. 65
    Dark Souls meets tactics in this unforgiving SRPG. Some basic design flaws hurt and slow down the gameplay of what is otherwise an enjoyable game. Not for the faint-hearted, but for those seeking a real challenge.
  4. Oct 6, 2014
    60
    Hardcore strategy RPG fans may find a decent experience here. In fact, it may simply be the case that Natural Doctrine’s blend of punishing difficulty and simple presentation don’t gel with everyone. One thing that is certain is that Natural Doctrine us not designed for the casual crowd, and unless you’re prepared to invest time and energy into learning its systems inside out – and then are still prepared to try and try again when you do know what you’re doing – you’d be advised to away from this one.
  5. Sep 30, 2014
    58
    But they are enough to make me think that, deep down, Natural Doctrine isn't all bad. Don't get me wrong, it's certainly not good, either — but overall, it has just enough things going in its favour that it's able to lift itself from "Oh God, this is horrible" to "Meh, you could do worse."
  6. Oct 26, 2014
    50
    Natural Doctrine is definitely one of the most hardcore and ruthless tactical RPGs available, but it's also deeply flawed in almost every field to worth the hassle.
  7. Oct 4, 2014
    40
    There are moments of brilliance, but it's tough to enjoy them while being kicked in the face at every turn. It's a genuine shame, but I can't recommend Natural Doctrine when so much of it is so terribly wrong.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  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 22, 2014
    9
    Valkyria Chronicles went to Oxford.

    While mildly intimidating at first, the interface is solid, and no where near as time-consuming as
    Valkyria Chronicles went to Oxford.

    While mildly intimidating at first, the interface is solid, and no where near as time-consuming as Frozen Synapse Prime's (another excellent recent tactics release for the Vita).

    I have a theory as to why some some describe ND as too difficult (even confusing) and others, such as myself (and apparently almost everyone who's not on a deadline) find it a challenge, but fun and very playable.

    It's the in-game tutorial. Almost every modern game uses a system of tutorials & help menus designed to replace a manual. Natural Doctrine takes a familiar, last-gen approach. It has a comprehensive instruction manual (it's that book-y lookin' thing/icon with the instructions inside) and a supplimental tutorial designed to augment the manual and put the information in a live context.

    Natural Doctrine IS challenging, but no more so than Nintendo's fantastic Fire Emblem games which, unlike ND, demand some trial and error; later levels are nigh half-puzzler. Natural Doctrine is solidly outside of the "trial & error" camp, and in the "plan 4 moves ahead" camp, where you'll find FFT, disgaea, and the aforementioned Valkyria games.

    Luckily, the game gives u all u need, at a glance, to plan ahead w/o having to memorize anyone's stats or constantly check sub-screens.

    The camera can be a touch...odd. It's not bad, just quirky. It's an innovative interface for a platform strategy game and it all feels a bit new. But it all works, and that's the point.

    That said, i'm excited by the idea of a sequel, in part cuz i'd love to see more of this format for tactics games, but also in part cuz another few months of polish makes this the squad friendly MG:Acid i've been hoping for since someone yoinked the only existing copy of the (shockingly awesome) D&D Tactics [psp] in the entire frkn world. I miss that game.

    So, you like Tactics? Can u read? Do you enjoy using your brain meats?

    If u answered yes to these questions, enjoy the game. It rules.
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  3. Nov 4, 2014
    9
    I wonder if Critic Review do not have time to really play the game as thus low score.

    The game is great once you learn the mechanics. The
    I wonder if Critic Review do not have time to really play the game as thus low score.

    The game is great once you learn the mechanics. The key is to go through the tutorials, and learn how initiatives and link attack works. Nothing more satisfying than overcoming 20 plus enemies in a proper strategy. Graphics could be better but this is a great game for any fans of tactical srpg
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  4. Oct 1, 2014
    9
    After playing a good 10-15 hours of Natural Doctrine, I really can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s being universally panned on theAfter playing a good 10-15 hours of Natural Doctrine, I really can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s being universally panned on the PS4 review side as well as here in the vita reviews by the critics. Yes the game is a little rough around the edges and it’s quite hard. But to be honest so are other good Japanese games; the Darksouls games for example. Yes, the story isn’t amazing, yes it is missing a vast tutorial system that explains all the small nuances that you will need to know to survive the higher difficulties, but even with these flaws there are very well executed parts to it as well. For instance, the combat and customization are unlike any other title on the vita. Disgaea 3 - 4 might be close in terms of complexity, but it isn’t truly 3d combat like ND is. Also, because you have a smaller party, you feel more invested in the characters and in different instances you have to utilize those characters in drastically different ways due to which types you have available at the time.
    Pulling off a successful Initiative chain is both fun and gratifying especially if you can do it for an entire map. (Yes, this is possible, but very difficult.). Being able to swap camera angles helps quite a bit with the line of sight which for the most part is spot on. This leads into the verticality of the game which can be the life or death of your party. Using gunners to pick off people from a height or sieging an area of the map to gain this advantage makes the game feel truly strategic and allows for multiple strategies to be used to secure a win. The graphics are very gritty with sharp edges but they work very well for this type of game and also look spectacular on the vita’s smaller screen. While you will find yourself moving through similar looking terrain for a large period of the game, the maps tend to have their own lay outs and interesting mechanics. The Co-op and multiplayer parts of this game are also very welcome additions to what seems to be a very long single player experience, you can make decks of monsters/units and customize your own army to whatever strategy you think will work well (though there are very few people who are online right now).
    Anyhow, if you enjoy Tactical Role playing games and want a challenge, Natural Doctrine is a great title to help you scratch that itch. It is my opinion that turn based games such as this work better on mobile systems then twitched based games with some exceptions (platformers, simple hack and slash style RPGs etc). I didn’t like borderlands 2 or Killzone because they didn’t feel to play very comfortably on the mobile platform, whereas games like Ys, Muramasa, persona 4, Disgaea 3-4 and Danganrompa are perfect for this little device. I will be adding Natural Doctrine to that list, I hope to see more people online to help give the game more longevity.
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  5. Jan 18, 2015
    8
    Great game that is hugely underrated due to its very steep learning curve, sober presentation and unforgiving difficulty.

    This is no game
    Great game that is hugely underrated due to its very steep learning curve, sober presentation and unforgiving difficulty.

    This is no game you will pick up and immediately enjoy - but do not give up, get the hang of the (admittedly pretty complex) mechanics and you will be rewarded with one of the best and tactically richest SRPGs you can wish for. Stay away if you lack patience and only enjoy games that hold your hand.
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  6. Oct 6, 2014
    8
    Tl;dr: Great Tactical RPG, just not for everyone.

    The cons: Lack of proper tutorials and cryptic combat system. The order of which turns
    Tl;dr: Great Tactical RPG, just not for everyone.

    The cons:
    Lack of proper tutorials and cryptic combat system. The order of which turns are taken can be very hard to understand. The whole game is based on who is acting first, basically the minute one of your unit (or enemy unit) has initiative and is active, it can link with it almost your entire party (or enemy party), leading to massive combos.

    The problem is that the system is not really well explained in-game and it's hard to understand how to maximize the potential of the link system, because of that you will often end up dying. Open a door? Boom 10 goblins are behind, all do a linked attack on one of your character, that character get instagibbed, gg wp, gameover. On missions when you have to protect an AI NPC, same problem, they sometime are doing dumb moves, go way too far into the enemy territory and end up getting rekt. Again, that's a straight gameover.

    I'm only 10 hours in; so far the story is average.

    The Pros:

    Difficulty. This can also be a con for non-hardcore players. Playing Natural Doctrine in normal is already challenging enough. It roughly equals to Fire Emblem 13 in Lunatic mode. But for those who like challenging games, love the feel of being successful after failing a mission several times, then this game is for you.

    The tactical gameplay is great and slightly different from what has been done before. While still using "squares" to delimitate movement, spells/actions/targeting is still somewhat freeform and affected by terrain.

    Not every position within a "square" is equal. You could be within the line of sight of an enemy or not while still standing in the same square for example. There's also friendly fire, so you have to place your units carefully. Finally, even when using items (i.e. potion) you need to make sure that the line of sight is clear between the user and the receiver or your potion might just hit a wall.

    On top of being X-platforms, the multiplayer mode is fun while extremely challenging too, especially since you cannot communicate directly with your partner.

    Last but not least, the English version does come with Japanese voices at no extra cost (unlike companies like SQEX charging for that on certain titles), which is always good since NISA localisation is far from being the best.

    いらっしゃいませ!!
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