Top Critic Average
I would recommend this game to fans of RTS and base management games. It was fun and refreshing, and somewhat nerve-wracking. There aren't many issues I had personally with the game, it was enjoyable.
Phantom Doctrine is the best tactical RPG I've played this generation so far. It takes heavy influences from the rebooted XCOM series yet adds it's own spin and design onto the whole game in order to make it it's own with new mechanics and possibilities. Focused more on the realistic over the fantastical, Phantom Doctrine delivers three similar yet different storylines which will keep you engaged for over 40 hours per faction as you delve into their respective perspectives of the same events and beyond. There is very little not to like with this game, the Investigation Board can get a bit monotonous after a while but every combat section is as engaging and exciting as the last one.
Phantom Doctrine is a life-consuming espionage simulator that offers a deeply complex cluster of systems to explore. Its turn-based tactics gameplay is a feat of engineering that will offer players many hours of combat thrills and stealth schemes.
Phantom Doctrine from CreativeForge uses the collective Cold War imagery to build one of the absolute benchmarks for modern turn based tactical games, excellent in almost every aspect.
Review in Italian | Read full review
I also think the game perfectly catches the Cold War atmosphere of the early 80s, and delivers it in the form of a tactical stealth turn-based formula. Phantom Doctrine tackles a sensible but fascinating subject, the Cold War, and does a damn good job at it.
Overall, Phantom Doctrine is an admirable exploration of Cold War espionage, using and improving upon the core gameplay offered by the XCOM series. If you loved that franchise, you will love this: Playing Phantom Doctrine just feels so satisfying, with a wide variety of options at your disposal when initiating and conducting missions. If they had a reference document in-game for those times you miss the pop-up windows, I'd have given this game a higher score. As is, I'll still be playing this for a fair while to come.
Phantom Doctrine is a turn-based strategy games that allows us to take part in international intrigues and espionage. In the world where loyalty is nothing and betrayal is around the corner, will you manage to complete at least the first mission?
Review in Polish | Read full review
If you're someone who lives a life of danger, if everyone you meet is a stranger or perhaps you find that with every move you make another chance you take, then Phantom Doctrine is ideal for you. For everyone else, this is a deep and compelling tactical strategy game that provides innovation in a stagnant genre. I'll be playing it long after I've finished reviewing it, and I can think of no higher praise than that.
Given its setting, the high complexity of its systems and the quality in which they are implemented, Phantom Doctrine is a great game. Even with some minor issues in the narrative, the excessive grind and very slow loadings, the game absorbs and challenges you in the right amount.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Lack of a proper tutorial and some user interface annoyances aside, Phantom Doctrine takes amazing cues from Hitman and Jagged Alliance, and turns turn based tactics into a rewarding experience, be it completing or failing a mission. A must have for turn based fans.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Phantom Doctrine captures the look and feel of the 80s and re-creates the paranoia that drove the Cold War up until its end. It's like all the best parts of an espionage film or novel come to life. Whether playing as an American, or a Russian, you'll get two radically different campaigns each and every time. This is simply CreativeForge's best work to date. Phantom Doctrine is ambitious, bold, and creative; paying off in every way.
We aren’t fans of how often “addictive” is used as a synonym for fun, but thanks to its loop of world map organisation and tactical missions, Phantom Doctrine is both.
I had fun playing the Phantom Doctrine but it’s not a perfect game by any means. While it’s true that this isn’t going to be a game for everyone to enjoy, those who are a fan of turn-based strategy games with emphasis on micromanaging your troops might find it enjoyable. It really brought out the OCD in me. In short, if you’re like me and have an obsession with every detail about how you play a game, then Phantom Doctrine is worth a buy.
Whether it's because I can play it untethered from the television or how it eschews the alien threat for a relatively more grounded espionage take on the genre, I found the break-up between on-the-ground missions and reconnaissance activities fresh if uneven, and the removal of dice rolls for hit rate removes obfuscation that for me made combat a much more rewarding endeavor. If you're someone like me who liked Mario + Rabbids but wished there was more depth or don't particularly love sci-fi themes, Phantom Doctrine is a worthy alternative.
I enjoyed the espionage setting, the turn-based stealth action, and the assembly of the puzzle pieces. I often had a hard time getting off the screen because I just wanted to solve this one case quickly or started another mission quickly. If patches are applied here and a little more time is invested in the next title, an up-and-coming game forge could celebrate its final breakthrough.
Review in German | Read full review
Phantom Doctrine is the closest we ever got so far to a true spy simulator. With both tactical and strategic missions, deep and complex mechanics, and investigation features, playing the game will make players truly feel in control of a secret organization out to save the world from the mostly deadly world conspiracy ever. The game gets a bit too complex at times, however, so it is definitely not a game for everyone.
Phantom Doctrine offers a fascinating tale of secrets and subterfuge, though you'll need to be willing to butt heads with punishing difficult to enjoy it all the way through. Veterans of turn-based tacticals who are looking for a new challenge would do well to check this one out.
Although the first look of Phantom Doctrine reminded me XCOM, I still think it has some different advantages. At least, if you are a fan of spy movies, I am sure you will enjoy this game. Right now it has many flaws indeed, but developers are listening to community's opinions, and working hard to repair.
Review in Chinese | Read full review
Phantom Doctrine is a superb slice of Cold War espionage storytelling tied to a serviceable turn-based strategy. A harsh difficulty curve awaits, but there's reward to be found.
I enjoyed the idling moments between missions when I felt like the director of a secret team of spies almost as much as I enjoyed directing the spies on the ground, and the overall experience is one I'd recommend to any fan of turn-based tactics or cold war skullduggery.
Clearly, fans of the genre, especially those that prefer to play on console as opposed to PC, should give PD a serious look. If you're on the fence about diving into the genre, and your committed, this is also a great way to jump in, just expect some frustrations along the way.available
Phantom Doctrine's biggest issue is that it compares unfavorably to X-COM. That doesn't make it a bad game, but it emphasizes X-COM's tight design. With Phantom Doctrine, you end up feeling like everything's a touch too unfocused. The metagame is interesting but messy. The combat is filled with interesting ideas but weaker execution. A lot of this may sound really negative, but I had fun with Phantom Doctrine. Fans of X-COM-style games will absolutely find it to be worth playing; it just has so much potential that it's easy to zero in on the little things that it does wrong. Hopefully, for a sequel, the developer can polish up the flaws to create a true competitor to Firaxis's sci-fi adventure.
The campaign itself can feel drawn out at times thanks to a less-than-stellar story and some obviously recycled content, but there's a real thrill in executing covert missions and putting all the pieces together like a master spy.
Despite the few bugs here and there, Phantom Doctrine represents an ingenious use of the XCOM formula in an enticing setting with a plot that’s as deep as you want it to be. With an excellent soundtrack, an intentionally drab yet appealing art style and a charismatic charm to it, it’s certainly a better-than-average turn based game. If you’re a fan of XCOM and are up for the hefty challenge this game presents, even on its easiest settings, this game will appeal to you. If your patience runs short and you want your fun to be more immediate, leave this game skulking in the shadows.
All in all, Phantom Doctrine is good tactical action game with a great spy culture motif. It's perfect for people who like their spy stories grounded in reality, but also appreciate the subtle approach to world dominating super criminals introduced by modern Bond films like Spectre. CreativeForge succeeds at taking lessons from its previous game, Hard West, and updating the formula. Even if that formula is ultimately a less elegant, less original version of the most popular game in the genre.
You should play the Phantom Doctrine. Even if you are not a devoted fan of the genre. The pre-release version of game had a lot of bugs, but some have already been fixed. The climate of Cold War and spy cinema is a big advantage.
Review in Polish | Read full review
It's nice to see a studio try to tackle genres with hugely successful games such as XCOM while doing their own thing. I don't think CreativeForge have made a good effort with Phantom Doctrine , but they do fall short from being able to make a run at taking the crown from the big boys. I'm sure the study will take what they've learned from this project and improve on things for either a sequel or a new take on the genre.
It could be great XCOM style turn-based strategy from Cold War era. Management of operations is great, but combat with absurd ballistics is disappointment.
Review in Slovak | Read full review
You might well find the evocative, smoke-damaged backdrop of ‘80s espionage fresh enough to carry you through a satisfying playthrough. But even with the plates changed and the serial number filed off, there's no mistaking XCOM 2.
Phantom Doctrine will pull you in so hard you won't even notice when the night has gone by. It provides lots of fun thanks to some cool ideas and good implementation, but at the same time, it can also be very frustrating. If not for the cheating AI, we would have been taking about a truly wonderful game.
Review in Polish | Read full review
In conclusion though, if you are in the market for a super detailed, super hard strategy game, look no further. With a gripping cold war storyline up there with classic spy novels, Phantom Doctrine is a worthy game
A Cold War XCOM clone with enemy spies instead of aliens, Phantom Doctrine is a largely enjoyable strategy title. The awareness system means you have more control over the flow of combat, and the setting is well presented, rife with atmosphere and charm. However, the punishing difficulty and steep learning curve do take the edge off things every now and then.
Yet the gameplay and plot never lived up to its potential, and my expectations slowly lowered themselves into a shallow grave as the gameplay, initially full of potential, let me down through repetitive gameplay and a cliché plot.
Between the engaging base management and tense espionage missions, Phantom Doctrine is genuinely excellent at times. However, the frustrating combat and often unhelpful tutorials slide this tactical-stealth release down a few pegs.
The game is full of good ideas but the action/combat part is painful, because of an too powerful AI. In short, the game is no bad but the "action part" is not as good as it should be to feel a real pleasure. It's a shame for a game with brilliant ideas.
Review in French | Read full review
There's some unique aspects that I hope are observed by other developers but there are better strategy titles out there like Invisible Inc. that do the core basics better.
Ensuring the game appeals to strategy die-hards appears to have been a driving force in development, and that approach pays off thanks to the high level of satisfaction arising from successful completion of missions. However, players sucked in by the promise of a "next-generation" experience are likely to be disappointed by the shortage of mechanics that truly push the genre forward. Meanwhile, the investigation elements are too simplified to make it a key draw. A number of minor bugs also mar the experience, but these issues are not severe enough to harm enjoyment. In many ways, Phantom Doctrine is a brilliant addition to the lineage of the turn-based strategy genre, introducing some novel wrinkles to make the typically disparate gameplay and narrative feel more cohesive.
Phantom Doctrine certainly shares plenty of DNA with the much-adored XCOM series, but it lacks the polish that's made the likes of XCOM 2 such an enduring example of how to do tactics right. When Phantom Doctrine really doubles down on the minutiae of its spycraft – including the solving conspiracies and the stealth-focused nature of its missions – its own personality shines through. It's certainly scrappy here and there – especially when it comes to managing the meta of its spy network – but push past these imperfections and you'll have plenty of licence for kills (and the occasional thrill).
My first thought of Phantom Doctrine is that it bears a close resemblance to games similar to XCOM and other turn-based tactical titles. Although I noticed some issues with graphics and some of the mechanics in the gameplay, these were not enough to deter me from continuing and exploring some of the other strengths I noticed. Gamers who enjoy turn-based tactical games will no doubt find all the usual interfaces here.
Phantom Doctrine has a lot of competition in the broader turn-based strategy genre and its unique Cold War-era setting isn't quite enough to really set it apart when all the cards are down. While the setting is great and fresh, the generally lackluster gameplay and mismatch of mechanics hold it back from feeling as clean as it should. Its best moments seem to happen almost completely at random or by accident instead of by design.