Natural Doctrine - PS Vita

Release Date:

September 30, 2014

Also on:

PS Vita PS4 PS3


Natural Doctrine on the PS Vita is a challenging strategy game that features cross-play, cross-save, and stunning visuals. But be warned - this title will truly test your ability to conquer the evils that lurk in the sprawling networks of mines and ruins in the areas surrounding the fortress city of Feste. Players can access turn-based battle system with large numbers of allies & enemies simultaneously on a large size battlefield. The game features single & multiplayer modes with versus & co-operative play. In multiplayer mode, players can play as non-human species as an added bonus.

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PS Vita


Natural Doctrine is a hardcore, grim, cold blooded strategy game developed by Kadokawa Games. Released in 2014 for the PS3, PS4, and PlayStation Vita Natural Doctrine sought to bring fans of Japanese strategy games into a cold and unrelenting new world. The game made it to America this past April and it has gone on to both anger and please gamers in equal portions. While Natural Doctrine is far from perfect it still has enough pulp to it to be worth a play if you are into strategy gaming. Let's see some of the ways that Natural Doctrine succeeded in its quest while taking time to understand the ways that it failed.

Japanese strategy simulations are a dime a dozen across the ocean but here in America they always seem to be interesting, if not a little bit unique. Natural Doctrine, as you may be able to tell from the title, is a simulation based almost entirely on the concept of natural selection. Natural selection can be defined simply as 'the survival of the fittest'. Once the game is loaded up players will follow young Geoff, a soldier who has been tasked with the job of killing goblins and demons in order to open up the access of important resources for the use of humans. Along the way your party of fighters will grow to eventually encapsulate a rather powerful little squad. Once you have your squad of fighters all ready to go you will start to really enjoy the game for what it is: a hardcore simulation that requires a ton of thought and time investment.

Games like Natural Doctrine exist only to put you, as a player, on the field of battle. We're sure that there is some story behind Natural Doctrine but it is mostly fluff to speed you to the next dungeon battle. Despite the thin layers of story there is still over 40 hours of campaign gameplay. Most of these hours will be spent in a mild state of rage as to the seemingly unfair way that the game punishes its users for not being some sort of all knowing robot. The biggest problem with Doctrine is the ease of play.

Real time strategy games like Natural Doctrine need to employ basic gameplay mechanics in order to succeed with fans, seeing as many fans are young and confused if the controls get too out of hand. This never happened for Doctrine. Instead the biggest complaint that most users have with the game is that the instructions are hopelessly complex. Even during the tutorial I found myself getting confused as to how to perform certain actions or when I would be able to do something. Constant bricks of text never really helped me get my head around what the core of the gameplay actually was and I'm still pretty sure that I've been missing out on key strategies due to simply not understanding certain elements of the game.

The gameplay isn't all bad in Natural Doctrine. In fact, there are some pretty impressive things about the combat system. Users will fight their enemies on a sort of enhanced grid system. Think games like Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics as a basis for your comparison. Now, instead of only being able to move a certain amount of spaces you can also account for differing sizes and shapes of these said spaces. In Natural Doctrine your movement tiles can vary in size and shape and these changes will effect how you engage in combat. A wide space that gives you a particular defensive vantage point, say behind a wall, might be worth going to more than a different part of the square. This can create a whole new elaborate set of tactical strategies and, with any sort of tactical strategy, this helps to extend the longevity of the game.

Natural Doctrine is a study in contradictions. It is a smart game with a well thought out battle system but it is never completely fun. The lack of constant save points, repetitive grinding, and hard to decipher instructions keep this game from being one of the most entertaining new IP's in the states. Still, the game is worth a try for anyone who digs some hardcore Japanese strategy.

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NIS America

Release Date:

September 30, 2014

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