Top Critic Average
A promising setting and clever systems are let down by simple enemies, simpler characters, and strange balancing.
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.
An inspired XCOM clone, whose spy movie atmosphere inspires an emphasis on stealth rather than action – which is a good job given the somewhat flawed combat.
Phantom Doctrine demands the patience and calculation of a cold-blooded assassin, but the methodical style of play is rewarding
Phantom Doctrine blends several complex mechanics and a well-realized Cold War setting into one brilliantly engaging experience.
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.
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.
This tactical espionage game gives little chance to hone your skills, leaving you dependent on luck
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.
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.