Percentile Rank

Natural Doctrine is ranked in the 13th percentile of games scored on OpenCritic.

Rating Summary

Based on 34 critic reviews
Weak Man

OpenCritic Rating

57

Top Critic Average

3%

Critics Recommend

Based on 34 critic reviews

Score Distribution

Unscored Reviews

Gamestyle
Unscored
Unscored
Sep 30, 2014

That's not to say Natural Doctrine is great, because it doesn't naturally move you forward and at times it can be frustrating, with some areas being a bit too much trial and error with some poor check-pointing, making retries annoying. But at the same time those who become good enough to avoid death on a regular basis, will have a cracking time.

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Scored Reviews

Digitally Downloaded
Digitally Downloaded

Top Critic

Oct 15, 2014

Look, I'm not going to put on a purple astronaut helmet or run half-speed into a wall of cake mix or perform any other act of subterfuge that may trick you into forgetting that Natural Doctrine is one of the most unforgiving virtual experiences currently available in this or any possible dimension. It's like that university professor who wouldn't accept your term paper three minutes late despite the fact that your dog body slammed your cat from the roof that morning, placing them both in sad but cute comas. It just doesn't give a damn. Yet, if you have patience, get a kick out of learning through experimentation, and receive a rush when accomplishing what seems satirically impossible, you may appreciate Natural Doctrine's unyielding difficulty, and certainly gain a feeling of unrivalled empowerment that's associated with overcoming it.

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RPG Fan
75%
75%
Sep 30, 2014

A noble attempt to do something unique in the strategy RPG space that won't appeal to most players.

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DualShockers
7.5 / 10.0
7.5 / 10.0
Sep 30, 2014

Natural Doctrine is not meant for the faint of heart. You must be prepared for unyielding and at times near hellish combat that only rewards careful planning and the use of intelligent strategy over brute strength. For those who enjoy these elements in their strategy RPG, however, this title will not disappoint.

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GearNuke
3.7 / 5.0
3.7 / 5.0
Jan 10, 2015

Hardcore fans of the Strategy RPG genre may find Natural Doctrine to be very enjoyable given that they invest time into it. The game is very lengthy so make sure to set aside some time before plunging into the game's world.

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Worth Playing
7 / 10.0
7 / 10.0
Nov 20, 2014

Natural Doctrine is a tough game to judge. It's strange and convoluted, it has sub-par graphics, and the story is quite weak. It basically carries itself entirely on the gameplay, which is frequently difficult to the point of frustration. If you can get past that and wrap your head around the mechanics, it's a remarkably fun strategy RPG. It rewards careful thought, proper planning, and smart positioning, and it feels incredibly satisfying to pull a victory from the jaws of defeat. It isn't going to be a game for everyone, and even die-hard SRPG fans may be turned off by the high difficulty level, but if Natural Doctrine clicks for you, you'll probably enjoy it.

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Cubed3
7 / 10
7 / 10
Jan 6, 2015

As is, this is a demanding strategy RPG that will turn away casually interested parties. The outrageous difficulty is admittedly a preference for some gamers, and those who are hungry for these types of games will not be disappointed. Natural Doctrine is a raw example of pure strategy with such delicate situations amidst a roaring hurricane.

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The Digital Fix
7 / 10.0
7 / 10.0
Dec 1, 2014

There's a thin line between rock-hard gameplay and a broken game and while Natural Doctrine runs up to that line repeatedly it manages to never actually cross it. What it does manage, however, is to be a great example of the genre while also doing very little to bring it into the twenty-first century. The enjoyment found here depends on the gamer coming to it; one gamer's excruciatingly difficult and confusing is another's deep and complex, and it's the latter group NISA are going after with everything they asked for. It would just be nice if they could give a little extra too.

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Gamers Heroes
7 / 10
Gamers Heroes
Johnny Hurricane

Top Critic

7 / 10
Oct 3, 2014

As I stated above the game is very unforgiving at times and that will be a huge turn off to some players. Still if you like tactical RPGs and a good challenge you will enjoy this game. If you are more of a run and gun player this one should be avoided.

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Push Square
7 / 10
7 / 10
Nov 5, 2014

Natural Doctrine's combat system is ingenious, but it's obstructed by its complexity, while the remaining aspects of the release just about fulfil their roles to the point of adequacy. Although the game's intricacies will instantly cut itself out of most of the market, it's certainly a fantastic strategy title in its own right, which will challenge even the most adept players. This is a must buy for genre fans, then – and a cautionary tale for newcomers.

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Game Revolution
Oct 20, 2014

It's still one of my favorite games this year, but the flaws keep me from recommending it to everyone; this is a game for those who love the genre, and want an old-school tactical RPG challenge.

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Niche Gamer
7 / 10.0
7 / 10.0
Oct 24, 2014

The battle system is a well-thought-out tactical setup that brings all necessary attributes to a minimal core but, for me, the choppy flow, the time required, and the harshness of the ridiculously skewed battles yielded too little reward to continue progressing enthusiastically.

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MMOGames
6.5 / 10.0
6.5 / 10.0
Jan 14, 2015

While Natural Doctrine does use an innovative combat system and has can be a very enjoyable experience, that feeling of accomplishment is sabotaged just before the game becomes fun. On the positive side of thing, this game doesn't have to be doomed and at its core it has a lot of potential to be great. However, the blatantly unfair AI mechanics in combination with the relatively diluted multiplayer experience really hurts Natural Doctrine in the end.

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Game Informer
6.5 / 10.0
6.5 / 10.0
Oct 23, 2014

Strategy fans who tolerate this game's abuse will find a rewarding combat system that isn't easy to master

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Impulsegamer
3.15 / 5.0
3.15 / 5.0
Oct 14, 2014

Natural Doctrine is a cruel, unpolished, but interesting spin on tactical RPGs

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High-Def Digest
Oct 11, 2014

'Natural Doctrine' is really a love it or hate it game. There's quite a bit of good in this little title, but at the same time there's also a lot that will drive away a great many gamers. It's complicated, even obtuse at times, but battling and steamrolling over foes when everything goes right can be a great feeling. Then again, watching the same animations over and over again because of a failed attempt or lucky critical can be rage inducing.

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GamingTrend
60 / 100
60 / 100
Sep 7, 2014

Natural Doctrine is a broken attempt at revitalizing the tactical RPG genre. At first glance, it appears to have all the markings of a classically inspired and intelligently designed strategy game. But sadly, despite delivering its own rare bursts of satisfaction, it remains frustratingly bogged down by artificially challenging gameplay, a confusing and overtly complex user interface and a painfully slow pacing that will try the patience of even the most Zen-like of gamers. If you're looking for the next Final Fantasy Tactics, I'm sorry, but you're going to have to keep looking elsewhere.

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TheSixthAxis
6 / 10
6 / 10
Oct 17, 2014

Natural Doctrine was never going to bring hardcore strategy to the masses. The developer knew exactly who they were targeting with their debut title and, for those players, the game will prove a worthwhile experience. For those who aren't too hot on their strategy role playing games, however, Natural Doctrine is a risk, yet one still worth taking if you're looking for something testing and out-of-the-norm.

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RPG Site
6 / 10
6 / 10
Sep 27, 2014

An interesting take on Strategy RPGs that never reaches its potential.

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God is a Geek
6 / 10.0
6 / 10.0
Oct 5, 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.

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Hardcore Gamer
3 / 5.0
3 / 5.0
Sep 16, 2014

Natural Doctrine is an exhausting game. It's punishing, unfair at times and hell-bent on funneling players through a narrow corridor that leaves little-to-no room for tactical experimentation. That being said, it has its moments.

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The Game Fanatics
5.3 / 10.0
5.3 / 10.0
Oct 1, 2014

Natural Doctrine is a punishingly difficult strategy game but if you stick with it, you may just find it to be extremely rewarding.

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PSX Extreme
5 / 10.0
5 / 10.0
Sep 25, 2014

Natural Doctrine fails in its ambitious attempt to deliver a wonderfully unique, deep, and rewarding turn-based strategy adventure. The foundation is solid but what's built atop that foundation is a crazy assortment of great individual pieces, but none of them really fit together. Satisfaction isn't out of the realm of possibility, but when seasoned veterans have to spend many hours dissecting the ins and outs of a gameplay mechanic, only to find their efforts thwarted by an unfair and unforgiving structure, well… Controllers may shatter and nobody would blame you.

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Attack of the Fanboy
Oct 3, 2014

A difficult game that is hard to enjoy

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Destructoid
5 / 10.0
5 / 10.0
Oct 6, 2014

Natural Doctrine isn't atrocious, but it does have a lot of issues. It's as frequently enjoyable as it is repugnant, an experience that will often blindside you with cheap deaths that reek of artificial difficulty. Some will enjoy it, sure. But it's a hard sell to all but the most staunch and patient SRPG fans. And even then it will undoubtedly test those players' resolve.

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EGM
5 / 10.0
EGM

Top Critic

5 / 10.0
Oct 4, 2014

While its refreshing combat offers a different kind of strategy-RPG challenge, some ridiculously punitive design decisions sabotage a good deal of the potential fun in Natural Doctrine. Considering the experienced pedigree of the developers involved—they count Patapon among their previous works—that's simply inexcusable.

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ZTGD
4.5 / 10.0
4.5 / 10.0
Sep 30, 2014

It is most certainly not for me, but even I can see that there are some things that strategy fans will love about it. Just keep in mind if you do decide to pick this up, you're in for a very difficult, sometimes unfair, struggle.

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Dealspwn
Oct 4, 2014

Natural Doctrine gets so much right. A strong premise, great top-level strategic mechanics, sensational skill system and ruthless tactical battles ought to have made this a left-field cult smash.

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We Got This Covered
Sep 25, 2014

Although mechanically sound, Natural Doctrine is too unfairly difficult and slow-paced to be worth recommending to anyone but the most hardcore gamers.

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GameSpot
4 / 10
4 / 10
Sep 21, 2014

Natural Doctrine takes strategy role-playing games one step forward, and several clumsy steps back.

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Twinfinite
2 / 5.0
2 / 5.0
Oct 12, 2014

For players looking for a harsh, cruel strategy RPG to play, this game could be right up your alley, though you might find yourself turned off by the lack of reward for trying to think outside of the box. While I'd highly recommend Natural Doctrine to masochistic players, it is likely that most people will get tired out by the game's restrictions within the first few hours.

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GamingBolt
3 / 10.0
3 / 10.0
Oct 15, 2014

I know that in the current climate of the gaming industry, everyone is glamouring for hardcore games that don't hold their hand, but I don't think Natural Doctrine is what you're looking for. The game isn't challenging so much as it is just inconsistent because the enemy rules are seemingly made up as it goes along. It just isn't enjoyable to play, and that's a really big failure in a game like this.

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PlayStation LifeStyle
3 / 10.0
3 / 10.0
Sep 28, 2014

With all the bad I have said, there is an audience out there somewhere for Natural Doctrine. If you enjoy mindless hours of grinding with no clear goal or instruction, and if you enjoy hour long battles on the "easiest" difficulty setting where you still feel underleveled no matter how much you grind, then this game could be right up your alley.  The system is there to try and be a good game, but it is given no chance to shine and no clear direction on what to do, leaving you with a mess of missed opportunities and frustration.

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IGN
2.8 / 10.0
IGN

Top Critic

2.8 / 10.0
Oct 15, 2014

With its unfair gameplay and messy combat, Natural Doctrine is nothing more than a tedious, rage-inducing nightmare.

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