With its unfair gameplay and messy combat, Natural Doctrine is nothing more than a tedious, rage-inducing nightmare.
Strategy fans who tolerate this game's abuse will find a rewarding combat system that isn't easy to master
Natural Doctrine takes strategy role-playing games one step forward, and several clumsy steps back.
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.
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.
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.
A difficult game that is hard to enjoy
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although mechanically sound, Natural Doctrine is too unfairly difficult and slow-paced to be worth recommending to anyone but the most hardcore gamers.
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.
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.
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.
An interesting take on Strategy RPGs that never reaches its potential.
A noble attempt to do something unique in the strategy RPG space that won't appeal to most players.
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.
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.