User Score
7.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 115 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 78 out of 115
  2. Negative: 25 out of 115

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  1. Aug 14, 2018
    10
    Phantom Doctrine (PD) is the newest installment from polish developer CreativeForge Games. They are known from Hard West (also a turn-based tactical game set in the wild west with a satanic twist).
    Their newest game is set in the cold era period where the player controls undercover agents who are trying to stop an evil plot of a super secretive organization who's aim is to cause world war
    Phantom Doctrine (PD) is the newest installment from polish developer CreativeForge Games. They are known from Hard West (also a turn-based tactical game set in the wild west with a satanic twist).
    Their newest game is set in the cold era period where the player controls undercover agents who are trying to stop an evil plot of a super secretive organization who's aim is to cause world war 3.

    I personally grew up on games like UFO, Jagged Alliance or X-com.
    I liked the latest installment from Firaxis, but i despised the dumbed down feel of the latest xcom games. Dont get me started on the RNG, with having an experienced marine not being able to shoot with a shotgun from point blank range. Or the lifeless base management.
    Well, CFG up'ed their game with PD. The game is not linear, and the player decides on how he will time manage his team and their agenda.
    The absolute cherry on top I would say is the revealing and gathering of intelligence and misc data. The player needs to connect the dots in order to reveal a valuable piece of information, leading him to either a secret base of the opponent, or allowing him to recruit a double agent OR revealing that the player himself, has a mole among his team.
    Another original idea and how CFG did not plan to dumb down the genre, is mission prep. In each mission the player has to decide on what kind of support he will take with him in order to complete the mission with the utmost success. You can decide to go guns blazing and take a team of snipers and spotters to make your life a bit easier, or go completely silent and rely on comm's and unveiling portions of the map to make passage of your agents easier.
    Dont get me wrong - this game is NOT easy. Its demanding on both fronts from the player - on how he manages his time, his resources, how to deploys his team and his tactical sense.
    The customization is also something PD heavily improved from xcom and allows you to fully customize the agents and their appearance.

    TLDR; its a breeze of fresh air in turn-based tactical genre, anyone who ever enjoyed xcom, Jagged alliance and UFO will have tons of fun!
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  2. Aug 20, 2018
    7
    A solid game that feels like a very well made mod for Xcom 2; but a bit more than just that .. It feels more personal and more frantic than Xcom though .. while at the same time it does not offer the freedom of developement and choice of Xcom off mission. It is not a revelation and still relies much on a very limited move-set and tactical options. So everything is quite simplified and theA solid game that feels like a very well made mod for Xcom 2; but a bit more than just that .. It feels more personal and more frantic than Xcom though .. while at the same time it does not offer the freedom of developement and choice of Xcom off mission. It is not a revelation and still relies much on a very limited move-set and tactical options. So everything is quite simplified and the AI can only really win by being placed in quantity and at an advantage. Speaking of AI ... i was not impressed by it. For a turn based game it was hardly any better than like any over a decade old game. Expand
  3. Aug 21, 2018
    8
    Phantom Doctrine is not X-Com. X-Com is about combat, Phantom Doctrine is mostly about avoiding combat.

    Difficult but entertaining, Phantom Doctrine puts the player in control of a team of Intelligence agents who must sneak around stealing documents and gear to uncover sinister conspiracies. Most games in this particular style have you controlling a military unit that is geared up
    Phantom Doctrine is not X-Com. X-Com is about combat, Phantom Doctrine is mostly about avoiding combat.

    Difficult but entertaining, Phantom Doctrine puts the player in control of a team of Intelligence agents who must sneak around stealing documents and gear to uncover sinister conspiracies. Most games in this particular style have you controlling a military unit that is geared up specifically to engage enemies in open combat. With some exceptions, Phantom Doctrine is the opposite - you're a bunch of 1980's spies, not spec ops or regular military. If you have to execute more than a handful of silent takedowns, your agents are probably going to have a real bad time. Stealth is crucial.
    There are exceptions, such as ambush missions when it's critical to gear up properly with body armor, grenades, and heavier weapons.

    Overall the game is fun in its 1980 spy setting, managing your HQ and the analytics board. If you go in expecting a squad combat game like X-Com, you'll probably be disappointed. Play Phantom Doctrine for what it is, and you're in for a good time.
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  4. Aug 16, 2018
    1
    At the time of writing, 2 days after release, I cannot stress enough that this game is terribly broken and should not be purchased. The combat system is unplayable. Once combat begins, regardless how good your cover is, if the enemy has line of sight to you (and they ALWAYS do), every shot connects and drains not only your health, but your awareness (which acts as one of the only damageAt the time of writing, 2 days after release, I cannot stress enough that this game is terribly broken and should not be purchased. The combat system is unplayable. Once combat begins, regardless how good your cover is, if the enemy has line of sight to you (and they ALWAYS do), every shot connects and drains not only your health, but your awareness (which acts as one of the only damage mitigation mechanics). Once the awareness is reduced, not only do you take more damage per shot, but you can do less and less of your own actions. This would not be a problem if you could realistically choose to avoid combat, however 3 missions in on the KGB storyline, one of the required story missions is an attack on your base, where you start the mission in combat.

    Until the unplayable combat system is patched or changed, I sadly recommend avoiding this game.
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  5. Aug 21, 2018
    4
    First off: I applaud the developers for taking player feedback seriously and releasing a series of patches in quick succession. So far they've been very communicative about their plans.

    The question is: Do I recommend Phantom Doctrine? The answer is no. Let me start with the good things, those are the things you'll see at first. Chances are you're going to see these mostly for the
    First off: I applaud the developers for taking player feedback seriously and releasing a series of patches in quick succession. So far they've been very communicative about their plans.

    The question is: Do I recommend Phantom Doctrine? The answer is no.

    Let me start with the good things, those are the things you'll see at first. Chances are you're going to see these mostly for the first 2 or 3 hours of the game; most of the bad stuff only pops up once you can't easily refund the game on steam anymore.

    1. The cold war espionage setting is fresh and the aesthetics of the game fit perfectly.

    2. Having to connect pieces of information on a corkboard is a nice touch. Feels natural rather than a tacked-on minigame.

    3. Stealth gameplay is good, having to evade line of sight of guards, cameras and civilians.

    4. The strategic layer is fun. You have to pay attention when and where points of interest pop up and react quickly. Additionally, you have to find a balance between spreading out your agents and keeping them together in order to avoid ambushes.

    These are the most enjoyable parts of the game. Unfortunately, the fun is marred by a series of very strange design decisions made by the developers. Some may have seemed good on paper, but in practice are revealed as bad game design:

    1. The camera during tactical missions is far too close to the action. The only way to zoom out is holding down the 'v' key to get a better view of the scene - temporarily.
    The devs need to add an option to reverse the functionally (i.e. having a zoomed out view and pressing 'v' to zoom in). The screenshots and trailers make it seem like situational awareness is a thing in this game, but it's often not. This is because of the camera and...

    2. ...the level design. I've had a mission where I needed to kill an enemy agent that was located in the second floor of a small building located on the other side of a trainyard. One of the issues with this map were the fact that you often couldn't tell where you could and couldn't go. Agents can jump out first floor windows but not climb over a waist-high rail waggon? Strange. Add to that the fact that the walkways present on the map will obstruct your view when you're on ground level.
    Just as bad is the fact that combined with the terrible camera it is often impossible to see where the enemies are - both in and outside of combat.
    To make matters worse, the target was in a room, with a civilian, that could only be reached through a ladder. It was impossible in this scenario to reach and incapacitate the target without alerting everyone and starting combat, because the enemy agent would *always* spot my agent entering the room even though he was staring at a wall. This is bad game design, there's no other way to put it.

    3. Maps seem like they are generated from a set of components rather than being handmade. Either that, or they are badly designed for stealth AND combat. Making informed decisions about the tactical positioning of your agents is also impossible because you don't get enough information to do that!

    4. Hiring new agents automatically increases your HEAT level (heat being an indicator of when your base of operations is exposed and you have to move). It's nonsensical and adds nothing interesting to gameplay. It's just a nuisance.

    5. Reloading large (non-pistol) weapons uses all of your movement and action points. Considering that some weapons (like LMGs) expend all of their magazine in as little as two(!) attacks AND take up almost all your movement and action points to fire, it begs the question if the developers ever tested their balance? It would seem that was not the case.

    6. Dealing and receiving damage is more unpredictable than it would have been with random hit chances. This is because damage can be dealt in full, as graze or none at all. If no damage is dealt, the targets awareness is reduced (which is the main resource apart from hitpoints). However, since enemies have wildly varying amounts of hitpoints (could be 30, 50 or 80 - all in the same mission) and it is often unclear which amount of hitpoint or awareness damage is dealt, this makes calculating the combined firepower needed to kill a single enemy impossible. What's worse, enemy awareness is only displayed as a bar, so you have no idea how much they actually have, nor can you see how much awareness you are going to drain with an attack.

    Like I said before, I respect the developers for the way they have been dealing with the bug-ridden release so far, and I applaud their decision to tweak the problematic LOS/LOF system. Yet I can not recommend this game with a clear conscience in its current state, because I believe the issues to be too deep and far-reaching to be fixed in a patch or two. A complete overhaul of several gameplay mechanics would be in order to do that.

    If the developers manage to achieve that, however, I will definitely change my review accordingly.
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  6. Aug 14, 2018
    10
    This is a serious espionage experience with a tactical, turn-based combat. If you liked XCOM you should definitely try it and if you're a fan of spies, conspiracies and Cold War you're gonna love it.

    There are moments when it is obvious the game had not have the same budget as Firaxis' masterpiece but at less than 40$ it is worth every penny from its price. Challenging, satisfying and
    This is a serious espionage experience with a tactical, turn-based combat. If you liked XCOM you should definitely try it and if you're a fan of spies, conspiracies and Cold War you're gonna love it.

    There are moments when it is obvious the game had not have the same budget as Firaxis' masterpiece but at less than 40$ it is worth every penny from its price. Challenging, satisfying and NO RNG!!! I mean, no more missing shots from two feet away!
    Every strategy fan should give it a go as it might be solid candidate for a GOTY in this particular genre.
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  7. Aug 14, 2018
    10
    Hello. This is the best game from X-COM!!
    Perfect gameplay -in my opinion the game is perfect, if someone liked X-com, then this game will take over.
    Beautiful graphic! any lags, any crash!
  8. Aug 14, 2018
    10
    This game is simply great !!!
    The mechanics seem really interesting.
    This is XCOM during the Cold War :)
  9. Aug 14, 2018
    10
    If you are a fan of the XCOM series or like games like Jagged Alliance, just add some 80s flair to it and you will ove Phantom Doctrine!
    While the gameplay is divided in roughly three sections, you undertake tactical missions compared to XCOM (in which stealth plays a great role and RNG plays no role!), build up your headquarter and manage your agents plus gather intelligence
    If you are a fan of the XCOM series or like games like Jagged Alliance, just add some 80s flair to it and you will ove Phantom Doctrine!
    While the gameplay is divided in roughly three sections, you undertake tactical missions compared to XCOM (in which stealth plays a great role and RNG plays no role!), build up your headquarter and manage your agents plus gather intelligence informations, which you have to put together in a mini game. Alot of variety is guaranteed since you hire agents all over the world from all possible nations which you can customize, equip and train, build up your HQ, solve riddles and go on at first two different campaigns, while a third will be revealed after completing your first playthru!
    XCOM in the cold war - a feast!
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  10. Aug 19, 2018
    3
    This is a game full of half baked mechanics

    -the investigation bored which is really cool until you realize that it is a meaningless wordpuzzle -the globel spy management that is just a chore of slow whackamole - buggy and un-intuitive stealth missions - incredibly weak combat, it is not a combat game, but the combat is forced on you and it is terrible -broken Line of sight -
    This is a game full of half baked mechanics

    -the investigation bored which is really cool until you realize that it is a meaningless wordpuzzle
    -the globel spy management that is just a chore of slow whackamole
    - buggy and un-intuitive stealth missions
    - incredibly weak combat, it is not a combat game, but the combat is forced on you and it is terrible
    -broken Line of sight
    - boring tactical puzzles
    - cluttered and confused UI

    the game has style and fantastic theme but none of the individual parts hold up. together those parts can keep the ship floating for a while.... but the ship stinks
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  11. Aug 20, 2018
    10
    The critics have this one wrong (and steam has no idea what they are talking about) - they should only use isometric RPG players to review games and that is why the user reviews are higher.

    We, the users are obviously the real deal. I've seen references to Jagged Alliance, Fallout Tactics, DOS, XCOM.... Listen to us, this game has some issues, but it is certainly a great addition to our
    The critics have this one wrong (and steam has no idea what they are talking about) - they should only use isometric RPG players to review games and that is why the user reviews are higher.

    We, the users are obviously the real deal. I've seen references to Jagged Alliance, Fallout Tactics, DOS, XCOM.... Listen to us, this game has some issues, but it is certainly a great addition to our niche genre and needs to be supported. It's far better than Battletech at release and both of these titles need to live and grow.

    *What is the complaint against graphics? They are pretty damn good on 3440 x1440
    *Combat and stealth are decent, the worst complaint I can give is that soldiers in full cover can be killed in a single turn by a force of 4 or more (can be unfair)
    *Have not seen enemies shooting through walls, only stepping out and getting good angles, however it's annoying being seen behind a window.
    *Tutorials need a lot more work and are absent to several features.
    *World map metagame punishes you too much for not understanding how to progress the plot (you have to do repeat missions as a punishment for not getting it - this needs some work)
    *Some of the voice acting is really dumb, just change them out.
    *Not enough diversity of settings (pretty much always big buildings with a few small ones in a urban area.
    *Creative Forge - look at how Stellaris uses automatic pop up tabs when you hover over icons - this keeps the tutorial content down, but lets you figure out what all those little icons over characters means - you need more of that.
    *This is a hardcore isometric turn based game, it was obviously not made to be liked by the masses - if you are not already a fan of the genre, you will have to work hard to learn it and like it.
    *Progress can feel very slow when you don't know how to progress the story line and get access to new content.
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  12. Aug 15, 2018
    0
    it's practically unplayable. The combat system is broken.
    Don't expect an X-Com in spy sauce, this game has nothing to do with it.
    I do not understand why the developers released Phantom Doctrine in this state. There were so many good ideas behind it! :(
  13. Aug 14, 2018
    10
    Amazing game, great storytelling, and very interesting referring to history.
  14. Aug 14, 2018
    10
    Great atmoshpere, great story and great game. For all fans of XCOM and other simillar games.
  15. Aug 14, 2018
    9
    So far it's a great game, any fan of X-Com or any turn-based stratgies should give it a try.
  16. Aug 17, 2018
    0
    Literally the worst game ever created with broken combat and AI with wallhack.
  17. Aug 16, 2018
    10
    First sorry for my english.
    This is one game that deserves the 10, it has some flaws (the devs are working on them, mind its a team of just 15), but it represents the espionage theme in a strategic turn based game like nothing I have ever seen. Understand that it is very hard, but the combat is not meant to be won guns blazing every time, one needs to plan ahead and sometimes just abort
    First sorry for my english.
    This is one game that deserves the 10, it has some flaws (the devs are working on them, mind its a team of just 15), but it represents the espionage theme in a strategic turn based game like nothing I have ever seen. Understand that it is very hard, but the combat is not meant to be won guns blazing every time, one needs to plan ahead and sometimes just abort the mission. Once bullets start to fly u need to be fast and precise in completing your objective, using all the gadgets and abilities and get the hell out before things get out of hand.
    Remember this is a game about spies not super soldiers (I enjoy both of them, but they need a different approach).
    The graphics are superb, specially the locations, its all so thematic. The music is very good (same composer as The Witcher 3) and the mechanics really represent a espionage agency.
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  18. Oct 8, 2018
    10
    My score: 9.6

    Unique take on X-Com styled gameplay. It's not perfect, no game is, but it's one of rare games that will make you think it's perfect. It's one of few games not worth waiting for sale. Scratch that itch with Phantom Doctrine.
  19. Aug 14, 2018
    10
    Going from a man that had some hamsters microwaved every time 98% accuracy shot in xcom did not hit - I recommend that game. It's great.
    Even if you're not that into all that espionage thingy, the gameplay defends itself. You won't be disappointed.
  20. Aug 15, 2018
    9
    This game is suprisingly good. I was worried that it is going to be too much like XCOM, but no. Gameplay, graphics and the setting itself are quite different. Very very interesting and most importantly - enjoyable, I particularly like the semi noir atmosphere and the stealth like capabilities. I just wanna play more of it, which is awesome. Thankfully I didn't come across any bugs so far.
  21. Aug 23, 2018
    10
    A very captivating story. It took me more than 50 hours to finish it at an easy level of difficulty. The perfect game for turn-based game fans.
  22. WAD
    Dec 30, 2019
    9
    XCOM про шпионов со стелсом. В игре много интересных механик, но не хватает баланса.
  23. Mar 3, 2020
    3
    Only if you can accept the fact that every shooting is gonna hit. You can use against the enemies of course, but for me this is completely ruins the game. Nothing really have to do with X-COM, don't expect anything from it. The AI is dumb, they shoot you if they see you, if they lost sight, they not gonna follow you. UI is over complicated, graphic is gray and boring. This game has theOnly if you can accept the fact that every shooting is gonna hit. You can use against the enemies of course, but for me this is completely ruins the game. Nothing really have to do with X-COM, don't expect anything from it. The AI is dumb, they shoot you if they see you, if they lost sight, they not gonna follow you. UI is over complicated, graphic is gray and boring. This game has the worst of the tactical-turn based systems. Very amateur job.

    I also wanted to mention how obvious that some of the "8-10" pointers (if not all of them) are paid reviews. If they starting the review with introducing the company, you can bet that it is fake as hell.
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  24. Dec 26, 2018
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Sound like a good game but it's not. Most of the gameplay doesn't really make any sense, story? Game mechanics? Characters? Even weapons?! Who is beholder, who is valhalla etc... just... boring, most of the time you really don't care about story, just go there kill the bad guy and win that is it, this is the main story. Really?!?! And side missions, they're just sooo repetitive, kill enemy agent or capture, beholder cells go there kill everyone and disable bombs... That is it, nothing more, everyone of them are same, same buildings (yeah you can see Lenin picture in USA or UK too lol, so doing missions on different country doesn't really make anything different) always raining and night, no different weathers or day and night cycle, always same atmosphere... Lame.

    And the game mechanics: I don't know what were they thinking, this game mechanics man... In infiltration your agents suppose to be stealthy right? But they walk through the glass, jump out through the window, walking front of the enemy guard (if they're not in the red area), using karate-chop or slapping everyone necks (whatever that is slap or chop sometime looks like slap lol) while standing right next to enemy lmao, civilians are in same group with the enemy (if they will saw you while doing something they'll alarm everyone which is very stupid!), combat mechanics just sooo frustrating! Because when combat start, enemy always have unlimited reinforcements!!! and air strike!! WTH?!! Seriously dude what is this?? air strike in city? I can understand if we're attacking a **** military base but this? And wait this is getting ridiculous, enemy always getting 5 units on each 5 or 4 turns, and they will swarm your agents like a **** zergs!! And AI always know where you are, I like challenging games but this is cheating, period... Obstacles and bullets it just a illusion in this game, why? None of the obstacles are breakable, no destructible environment, LOS sometime doesn't make any sense, combat system in this game just so simple, once you confirm "fire" to enemy it triggers the animations, bullet FX and apply damage to target, not very complex, there is no real bullet simulation because there is no "actual bullets" in this game it just a instant damage if cover in effect then game reducing the max damage output, that's it very simple, very basic and unrealistic any other things it just a illusion and some animations... Lazy development... I prefer **** RNG with bullet simulation instead of this lazy combat system. This is the reason why AI sometime hit our agents behind walls or from very long distance, because there is no "actual walls" in this game! There is no crouch or prone, there is no close combat weapons not even a knife?! Yeah, you always going for slap LOL, one good slap for everyone lmao...

    Agents in this game they're all same with ugly looking faces, whoa look good looking girl or guy (judging from their pictures) once you look at their actual model, they always look like gremlin lol. Same skills, no special skills, no skill tree, nothing, everyone of them are SAME! Voice acting just meh, really... MKULTRA facility looks like downgrade until you get to saboteur, why? idk..

    And word puzzles, they're just so annoying, solve word puzzle and get more word puzzle yay, yeah very funny :(

    Idk what to say anymore, list just goes on and on, looks like they wasted a good opportunity with this game....
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  25. Sep 1, 2019
    8
    Es obvio que el juego hay que pulirlo un poco. No obstante si te justan los juegos por turnos en donde podrás gestionar una base de espionaje al estilo guerra fria y controlar a tus agentes este juego es el mejor.

    Está muy bien ambientado pero destacar que la traducción al español es algo pobre y las misiones se pueden volver algo repetitivas con el tiempo.
  26. Apr 28, 2020
    8
    If you are a XCOM 2 fan, you will love the game. It adds mechanics that make the game especial, especially in the stealth mode. However, the UI is super powerful, even in the medium difficulty, and when in combat (in some missions you are forced to exit infiltration) you will face endless waves of reinforcements. That makes the game almost impossible to play on the ironman mode, once youIf you are a XCOM 2 fan, you will love the game. It adds mechanics that make the game especial, especially in the stealth mode. However, the UI is super powerful, even in the medium difficulty, and when in combat (in some missions you are forced to exit infiltration) you will face endless waves of reinforcements. That makes the game almost impossible to play on the ironman mode, once you have to load the game every 5 minutes if you don't want to lose a character. But the really boring part of the game aren't the combat, overpowered UI or lack of money, it's simply the investigation minigame. It is funny at the beginning, but the more you advance in the game, the more difficult and boring it will become Expand
  27. Jun 29, 2020
    7
    This game goes on for far too long and is full of repetitive one dimensional gameplay. I am probably giving this game a higher score than it deserves but at the time I played it I was desperate for some original turn based combat game and this seemed to tick the right box on that. In no way is this game a substitute for XCom, but it doesn't really have any major flaws either so the scoreThis game goes on for far too long and is full of repetitive one dimensional gameplay. I am probably giving this game a higher score than it deserves but at the time I played it I was desperate for some original turn based combat game and this seemed to tick the right box on that. In no way is this game a substitute for XCom, but it doesn't really have any major flaws either so the score reflects that. Expand
Metascore
73

Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. Dec 30, 2018
    70
    It's a little bit weird, sometimes disbalanced, boring at times and clearly lacking a better budget, but now, after a handful of patches, you can safely pick it up during a sale.
  2. CD-Action
    Dec 4, 2018
    80
    Phantom Doctrine is an addictive mix of improved combat mechanics from Hard West and XCOM’s strategic layer (but you also manage particular soldiers, not just your base). I recommend it if you revel in silent executions and infiltrating enemy facilities without leaving any traces, especially if you enjoyed Invisible, Inc. and don’t mind a game being somewhat rough around the edges. [10/2018, p.48]
  3. Sep 23, 2018
    69
    Atmospheric and thematically very dense strategy game about agents, with some weaknesses and annoying mechanics spoiling the fun.