You like strategy games? Do you like dying a lot? Do you like throwing your controller against the wall screaming at games? Then NAtURAL DOCtRINE is the game for you!
NAtURAL DOCtRINE is a hardcore strategy game that takes place in a medieval-esque fantasy world. In the story, you follow Geoff and his group as they go around fighting in caves until you stumble upon creatures, Gorians, that have never been discovered before. When they go to tell the city of Feste about it, they are chased out and hunted for trying to report it. Well… That doesn’t make any sense but OKAY, I’ll roll with it. For now…
The gameplay functions like the Final Fantasy Tactics series and Disgaea series. But with a catch… Instead of walking on a single tile, you walk on big open squares. You can only go on a two square pace. Very roomy. And combat allows you to link up with other characters to get a damage boost based on how many people are in the link and how spaced out they are. This also works with enemy attacks. This is the downfall of the game…
The game, as the genre suggest, is a hardcore strategy and it is completely brutal. Even with a difficulty setting (I was playing on easy), the game is unforgiving especially when enemies link their attacks. Be ready to redo battles over and over again. When you die, depending on where you are, you can either start over at the beginning of the battle or at a checkpoint if you hit one.
Battles are few and far between. You can go into caves on the world map but even they are hard. Caves are given a difficulty score but instead of stars, they are given letter grades. C being easy and S being the hardest. I would disregard the letter grade and say all of the caves are terribly hard.
Equipment is hard to come by. You can only get weapons and accessories and they are only found in battles in treasure chests. Some of these treasure chests are locked and can only be opened with the character Anka. The characters will let the players know if a chest is locked but only after you tried opening the chest. Needless to say, have Anka open all the chests to avoid any unnecessary movements.
Leveling up is the hardest thing to do. You have a skill tree to upgrade your characters but each level you get, you only get one skill point. I feel there should have been more skill points for when you level up so your party can be ready for complete destruction from enemies.
Looking at the trophy list for the game, I can guess that the game is relatively short but with how hardcore the game is, you will be playing the game for a long freakin’ time.
NAtURAL DOCtRINE is better suited for hardcore strategy players than just your regular run of the mill gamers. The game is brutal with link enemy attacks and changing your difficulty setting doesn’t really help. Weapons are scarce and you can’t buy any since the game has no currency. Overall the game is an okay game but only for gamers who like hardcore strategy games.
The game is ruthless and unforgiving and not suited for regular gamers.
Thanks to NIS America for giving us a copy of the game to review.