Natural Doctrine does not pass natural selection – review

After downloading Natural Doctrine on PS4 and having started it I said to myself: “SamaGame has inaugurated a retrogaming section and nobody told me anything?”.

Yes, because every pixel of the game seems to come from a past between PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 made up of technical and graphic limits that have now been outdated for some time.

Looking at his badly synchronized dubbing, the complication of the interface, the woodiness of the animations, the paucity of the landscapes, the paucity of the graphics and his dungeons suspended in the void, one cannot help but think of being in front of a B-series film in which a caveman is found and thawed to create a series of gags that highlight how primitive he is.

Everything takes place in a fantasy universe populated by men who hide big self-esteem problems by always bragging about their skills and women with an annoying and enthusiastic voice, which makes them as pleasant as those who speak to you as soon as you get out of bed.

Who do I pass the ball to?

Basically, you will have to manage a group of people who for work kill monsters and steal their belongings to use them or give them to humanity, the rest is the usual jumble of a series B fantasy script.

To make matters worse Natural Doctrine, living up to its name, it is a heartless game, bordering on punitive, in which only the strongest, and calmest, survive.

Just to give an example, it is enough for a character to die to make the word Game Over appear, and at that point or reload a save or a checkpoint. Too bad that you can only save outside the dungeons, and the checkpoints inside are distributed with a decidedly random criterion.

To understand how fun this can be, imagine having to redo a whole section of Final Fantasy, fight after fight, just because a party member died there. If you don’t get anger at the very thought you are not human.

Furthermore, every fight is mathematically and sensationally unequal and full of pitfalls, and every time the enemy attacks you you will be forced to put up with all its animations. Considering that there can also be a dozen or more enemies on the screen (while you will be at most 4) we advise you to keep a book at hand to pass the time.

As you can see, most of the scenarios are in praise of inadequacy.

And when do you finish the dungeon? Well you have to go back to the entrance, the automatic exit is for sissies. You will understand, therefore, that we are not faced with the usual difficult game that asks for respect to be appreciated, but in front of the classic elementary school friend who must win at all costs, even by cheating, who becomes boring when he loses.

How much Natural Doctrine it is trivial in the technical realization and in the setting, so much is it complex in the combat system, or at least so it seems at the beginning, above all because the game provides a tutorial that will explain just the bare essentials.

Like any self-respecting tactical title, the combat is divided into turns and boards. Your characters will be able to move freely in their own space and in the adjacent ones and they will also be able to occupy the same space all together, but it will be essential to ensure that those who use ranged weapons always remain behind the melee characters.

That is, it makes it special Natural Doctrine it is the fact that every action of one’s characters is influenced by the choices and position of others.

For example, if I decide to attack a Goblin, to maximize the damage I will have to have several characters who are at a certain distance between them perform the same action. Or, I might decide to put a warrior in parry position, place a rifle-wielding unit behind him, and have the first pair attack while the second shoots any approaching enemy.

The protagonists of the game do not shine for charisma.

Each order creates a line on the ground showing the type of attack and the link with the remaining team members; this in the most complex situations will transform your role-playing game into a particularly disastrous and convoluted American Football scheme.

The situation is obviously not facilitated by the interface and the camera, so much so that clicking here and there I happened to heal the enemies while I was trying to restore my hit points, because the system does not provide for a magic to default to itself. Or maybe I shot friendly units because the system selected them by mistake, without my noticing. Furthermore, it is not clear why the characters sometimes move themselves to the next square after killing the enemy, almost always remaining in a vulnerable position.

In theory it should be an interesting and complex system, in practice it is a mechanic that encourages the most banal of tactics: all en masse against one and then on to the next. This doesn’t stop the game from being incredibly and dramatically complex, as the modifiers that trigger when a coordinated action is taken must always be kept in mind if you want to win.

On the one hand, therefore, we have a game full of complex mechanics, which however rewards the simplest, but does not encourage it, due to a really high difficulty, even in the most trivial clashes. You die a lot in this game, and it’s often a death for which the reason is not well understood, and which is the result of a character positioned two centimeters beyond the ideal position.

Of course, attempt after attempt at the end the dungeon can be finished, but it is almost never due to the player’s skills, as much as his knowledge of the opposing positions, gained through previous expletives and Game Over.

The box system is not that bad, but the variables involved, often poorly explained, make it all too complex and random.

Does it seem unnecessarily complex? Well this is it Natural Doctrine, a slow, cumbersome and complex game not to challenge the players, but for the pure pleasure of it. There are so many rules and variables introduced a bit randomly, clash after clash, that if a paper manual existed it would resemble a physics book.

The only positive thing is that before each encounter, you can completely repel your characters as many times as you want, experimenting with different fighting styles.

If you want, there is also a multiplayer mode that mixes the mechanics of a collectible card game, with which you can build your army, with those of the single player, allowing you to duel with or against your friends … but I challenge you to find someone to play with.

In short, we are not there. I were you I would consider Natural Doctrine only if you really are a collector of jRPG or if you are so abstinent from the genre that you are willing to do like crisis drinkers who drink perfume alcohol.

Buy Natural Doctrine from Amazon