NIS America Inc.’s Natural Doctrine for Sony Corp.’s Playstation 4, Playstation 3 and the PS Vita is a decent turn-based strategy title that includes straight-forward mechanics and an upbeat narrative for short spurts or long hauls.
In Natural Doctrine, a band of soldiers work under contract to defeat monsters and secure loot. The mission-based title features a full 3D battlefield with terrain and perimeter variations to relay tactical placement.
In the World Map, users can move to key points on the map to enter Story Missions or Free Missions, the latter of which allows users to gain experience, skill points, and items.
On the battlefield, soldiers can trek on a large grid-based map that allows for multiple soldiers in a single-area. When allied soldiers are placed in the same area, link properties activate to offer special offensive and defensive properties.
In contrast, enemies are allowed the same link properties to execute chain attacks. At times, enemy link attacks can destroy a single ally unit quickly and at random.
Each soldier carries unique actions, including attack, heal and guard actions that can be customized in a skill tree outside of battle. Select units can equip firearms to offer range attacks and counter-defense on higher elevations.
In each mission, the story banter between soldiers progresses to keep the action pertinent and engaging.
When win conditions are met the mission is complete and users return to the World Map to configure equipment, utilize skill points for each skill tree, save, and move to the next area.
The title includes an online multiplayer mode for the PS4 and PS3 and a local multiplayer mode for the PS Vita. In addition to standard turn-based strategy, the multiplayer component includes card deck collection to select units, stats, equipment and skills in battle. Finally, the title can offers Cross-Save functionality between all three platforms.
The graphics engine is mediocre at 30 to 60 frames-per-second. Textures can be blurry and the frame rate can fluctuate with modest character builds. The sound engine is great with orchestral and moody scores in addition to lively dialogue between and during missions.
Natural Doctrine is a decent strategy experience. While the link-based gameplay can be brutal at random times, the basic strategy is quick and efficient, with Cross-Save a bonus to carry play between home and travel.