It’s been a while since I’ve touched a tactical role-playing game and I was quite excited for Natural Doctrine – a SRPG from Kadokawa Games. When I first previewed Natural Doctrine quite a while back, I was intrigued by the complicated mechanics providing quite a fresh challenge compared to other games on the market. Unfortunately, Natural Doctrine felt undercooked with it’s dull visuals, horrible voice acting and an AI system that not even a mastermind can beat.
Booting up Natural Doctrine for the first time on the PS4, I was quite underwhelmed at the menu, graphics…everything visual. It was quite hard to adjust to the game on the PS4 as it looked like a title made for the mobile platform, heck I’ve seen better looking games on the mobile platform. The voice acting were also shocking as at most times, never fits the personality of the characters as if they paid some guy/girl off the street a few pennies to do dubs for this game.
It’s hard to get used to the game when it’s presentation was this weak but somehow, the real deal here is the actual game play. Natural Doctrine has a great concept as the game revolves around the best placement of characters when engaged in battle. Using tile formats around levels, players must move and position their party of warriors as they explore the map. The battle system revolves heavily around placement as it determines how much extra damage, cover and defence your characters get.
Each character carries certain attributes which you can upgrade as you progress. From range to light and your standard warriors – ‘correct’ placement and positioning will help the course of the battle. Putting your range soldier at the back while your tank takes up the defence position will help keep the tank protected as the range soldier provides cover fire. It does take time to learn about proper placement and the game does provide quite a lengthy tutorial system to cover it.
Natural Doctrine does get frustrating however with this mechanic as the lowest difficulty is already incredibly hard. If you don’t adapt soon to the mechanic, you’ll be seeing the game over screen quite often. It doesn’t give you room to experiment and if one… just one of your soldier falls – you start the whole level again. While challenging and makes you consider twice about every move, the AI doesn’t seem to show any remorse, creating some of the most often ‘bullsh*t’ setup taking you down in one swoop. I’m not saying it’s unfair as I’ve managed to break through some insane scenarios, it just looks like the computer has always the upper hand regardless of how strong your positioning is going for the cheapest move possible to make you restart the level.
If you don’t adapt soon to the mechanic, you’ll be seeing the game over screen quite often.
I really wanted to like Natural Doctrine because it showed promise and an interesting concept. However what we got was a game that makes me question ‘What is the point?” – it’s incredibly hard for no reason with an AI that often takes the cheapest shot at you. I liked the challenge but the overall setup of the game just made no sense. Visuals were uninspiring, voice acting was nope – if you really like your ass handed to you by some badly detailed enemies, Natural Doctrine could be something but for the rest.
Natural Doctrine drags players into a dark cave giving them nothing but a pen to finish a Calculus exam as level 1000 monsters pummel you into the ground.