Tech News on G4
Natural Doctrine disenchanting
Nov 7, 2014
By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada
Natural Doctrine isn't for the faint of heart. Much like the acclaimed Dark Souls before it, what's found in Kadokawa Games latest is a challenging and brutal experience that is sure to drive some gamers to the point of frustration. However, Dark Souls was a reasonably fair game, whereas Natural Doctrine feels one-sided in its difficulty. It is more like a sadistic tormentor watching you writhe in pain, rather than being there to teach you a lesson.
Natural Doctrine is a turn-based strategy RPG. The player controls over several party members and moves them about the battlefield in chess like fashion. Simply advancing your units to the front lines and commanding them to attack will only lead to failure. Patience and tactility are the keys to success when it comes to the games robust combat system. At first I was overwhelmed with the countless number of combat options readily available. After about three hours of playtime, I began to grasp what was being asked of me.
It is a shame when you come to understand that each group of enemies you fight tends to use the same general attack plan. In most of the encounters, I could predict exactly what the enemy was going to do. To make up for their strategic inability, foes will later do a ridiculously high number of attack damage to your party. Grinding experience points by replaying missions can give you a slightly better chance for the later enemies but this process gets tedious quick. It seemed as if the A.I. wasn't aware of the combat choices available. If you like a good high fantasy tale to go with your RPGs, you may have to look elsewhere to scratch that itch. The narrative ultimately results in a couple lines of uninteresting text. The voice acting is bad to the point of comical but the developers do a decent job of distinguishing each character, even though you're likely to forget their names almost instantly.
Graphically, Natural Doctrine looks like a PS3 launch title from 2006. The game's aesthetic is not necessarily rough on the eyes but it is noticeably dated. The more complexly designed enemies have a muddier look to them and some of the environments look like they're about six months to early to be in a packaged product.
Natural Doctrine feels like it could have benefited with another six months in the oven. From over-powered A.I. to unappealing graphics and a non-existent story, the cons in this strategic RPG hold back what could've been something great. The intricate battle system is a sign that the framework for Natural Doctrine had potential. If you're looking for a solid strategy RPG that excels virtually everywhere Natural Doctrine fails, try 2008's Valkyrie Chronicles instead.
The Evil Within
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