Mixed or average reviews - based on 7 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
Buy On
  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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 30
  2. Negative: 7 out of 30
  1. Oct 1, 2014
    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.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 6, 2014
    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.

    Full Review »
  3. Jan 18, 2015
    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.
    Full Review »