Natural Doctrine PlayStation 4 Review

Natural Doctrine, Strategy, RPG, video game, PS4, Playstation 4The strategy role-playing game, Natural Doctrine marks NIS America’s first PlayStation 4 release.  While available for the PlayStation 4, the game is not an exclusive and is actually a PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Vita cross buy and cross save title.  Though that makes Natural Doctrine a certifiable value, this brutally difficult and graphically challenged strategy import isn’t a game for everyone.  Of course, those that are looking into this title are probably well aware of the type of games, the longtime Disgaea developer, imports.

Ironically, Natural Doctrine is a fantasy based, strategy RPG inspired by the concept of natural selection.  Of course that same theory of natural selection, means that this game is unlikely to achieve much commercial or critical success.  While there are a few pieces of stunning art, as a current gen title, the graphics are terribly dated.  This is most evident in the generic fantasy environments and character models that look about 15 years old.  With Kadokawa’s long running ties to anime, you might at least expect high quality cutscenes.  Unfortunately that is not the case.

Natural Doctrine, Strategy, RPG, video game, PS4, Playstation 4If you’re familiar with NIS America’s offerings, you’re probably not looking for cutting edge graphics.  Unfortunately, Natural Doctrine is also missing the charms that most of the imports possess. The narrative is pretty thin and follows the main character, Geoff, and his party.  Though the original Japanese voices are offered, the dialogue is mundane, missing all of that witty banter found in most NIS games.  Considering how much time you’ll spend with these characters to finish the game, a worthy narrative would have gone a long way.

Natural Doctrine, Strategy, RPG, video game, PS4, Playstation 4Combat in Natural Doctrine is essentially a turn-based battle system where the odds are never in your favor.  The primary goal is to set up formations that will allow the most lethal attack while providing a good defense. This means putting weaker characters literally behind stronger character, but you must be careful not to kill your own party members with friendly fire. This is especially important because, if anyone in your party dies, the game is over.  For the North America release, an “Easy” mode was added with additional checkpoints, but even with the changes, this game is brutal.

Natural Doctrine, Strategy, RPG, video game, PS4, Playstation 4If you can find a like-minded gaming partner, Natural Doctrine does offer a couple of multiplayer modes with versus and co-operative play. The online mode features a card battle game, where players can compete against one another with their own formulated decks.  If you’re looking for gross gameplay value, Natural Doctrine surely delivers.  The rub, is that the experience is such a chore and Natural Doctrine offers so little payoff, that most won’t bother.

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