Natural Doctrine

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NAtURAL DOCtRINE
NAtURAL DOCtRINE Cover Art.png
Developer(s) Kadokawa Games
Publisher(s)
Director(s) Atsushi Ii
Producer(s) Kensuke Tanaka
Designer(s) Atsushi Ikariya
Composer(s) Noriyuki Asakura
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Release
Genre(s) Tactical role-playing game

Natural Doctrine (Japanese: ナチュラル ドクトリン, Hepburn: Nachuraru Dokutorin) is a 2014 tactical role-playing game by Kadokawa Games for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.[5][6]

Development[edit]

The game was announced at the SCEJA Press Conference in September 2013. It is the first title that is solely developed by Kadokawa.[7] The game was originally intended to be a release title for the PlayStation 4,[8] however was delayed twice, to April 2014.[9][10]

Atsushi Ii, previously known for directing Patapon, is leading the development team as director. Atsushi Ikariya, responsible for character designs for Fate/Zero, will also be designing the characters for Natural Doctrine alongside ufotable. The game's composer will be Noriyuki Asakura, who has in the past created music for Rurouni Kenshin.[11] The producers are Yoshimi Yasuda and Kensuke Tanaka.[12] The game's ending theme song is "In the Court of the Crimson King" by King Crimson.[13][14]

The game was localised by NIS America for the North American and European release in Q3 2014.[15][16]

A major update released on July 10, 2014 added a new easy mode to the game, following initial complaints by players in Japan that the game is too difficult. In addition, a more detailed tutorial is introduced, each level has strategy hints included, and the number of save checkpoints has been increased. The player can also speed up the actions of enemies. Three additional online co-op missions were included for all platforms, plus a set of extra hard missions for PlayStation 4 players.[17]

Gameplay[edit]

The game is a fantasy simulation-type RPG based along the concept of natural selection.[18] The game features single and multiplayer modes with versus and co-operative play,[11] and is cross-play and cross-save compatible.[19]

The game storyline is shown from the perspective of Geoff, the main protagonist, who is accompanied by two women named Vasily and Anka.[12][20] Combat is based on a turn-based battle system, and a primary concept of gameplay is to have large numbers of allies and enemies simultaneously on a large size battlefield.[11] Time can be controlled dynamically, and units can be controlled in a single space. Units in combat against one another form encampments, where units are able to return to camp at the end of the turn as long as the encampment isn't destroyed. Units are also able to hide behind objects.[20]

Outside of Feste, species such as minotaurs, goblins and orcs set up bases, and intend on attacking from them. The field is wide and arranged within grid limits. In multiplayer mode, players can play as non-human species.[12]

The online mode will feature a card battle game, where players can compete against one another with their own formulated decks.[21][22]

Setting[edit]

The setting is within a universe where humans fight other races with magic and swords.[18] Within a world of chaos, humans built the fortress city Feste as their home, and fought against other species. The protagonist, Geoff, is a guard soldier set out to clear out goblin dens to grant access to resources important for humankind.[12]

Characters[edit]

  • Geoff: The young male protagonist, who uses one and two-handed swords, in addition to guns. Class: All-round Warrior. Voiced by: Gou Inoue (Japanese); Kyle Hebert (English).[12]
  • Vasily: A young female guard soldier, and a comrade of Geoff. Class: Warrior. Voiced by: Ayane Sakura (Japanese); Veronica Taylor (English).[12]
  • Anka: Girl with long blonde ponytail, and a leader of the tunnel pathfinder brigade. Skilled at generalship and medical assistance, and fights with a rifle. Class: Command Medic. Voiced by: Risako Murai (Japanese); Erica Lindbeck (English).[12]
  • Zekelinde: Seasoned human male warrior who specialises in double-handed weapons. Has a long and distinguished military service. Class: SwordMaster. Voiced by: Yoshihisa Kawahara (Japanese); Patrick Seitz (English).
  • Mel: A young human girl, whose innocent look belies her ability to control giant stone golems. Class: Golem Handler. Voiced by: Rina Hidaka (Japanese); Sarah Williams (English).
  • Nebula: A male apprentice wizard. Class: Apprentice. Voiced by: Seichirou Yamashita (Japanese); Sean Schemmel (English).
  • Tatyana: Short-haired human girl who grew up as a war orphan. Uses firearms. Class: Marksman. Voiced by Aya Suzaki.
  • Ernestine/Erna: The older sister of Vasily. She was part of the Ritterorden
  • Ingbert: A mage of high birth who is a member of the city Senate. Contemptuous of people of low birth. Class: Wizard. Voiced by: Hiroki Touchi (Japanese); Matthew Mercer (English).
  • Gomori: A mysterious woman of indeterminate species, though she bears a human-like aspect. Class: Unknown. Voiced by: Yuka Iguchi.

Reception[edit]

The game sold relatively few copies within the first week of release in Japan,[23] with only 18,000 physical retail copies sold across the three separate platforms that week.[24] As of July 2014, the game sold over 50,000 copies across the three platforms.[17]

The PlayStation 3 version of Natural Doctrine received 31/40 from Japanese magazine Famitsu, while the PlayStation Vita version received a score of 30/40.[25] Cory Galliher of Popzara said that the easy mode means the game "isn’t a total loss for those of us who don’t have the tactical mind of Patton and the patience of Gandhi", but also added that "despite this, it’s hard to recommend the game to any but the most hardcore SRPG players." [26]

Heath Hindman of PlayStation LifeStyle gave the game a 4/10, commenting that although the game mechanics were interesting, the user interface and level design required additional improvement, and the pacing of the game felt slower than it should.[27] Hardcore Gamer gave the game a 3/5, calling it "punishing, unfair at times and hell-bent on funneling players through a narrow corridor that leaves little-to-no room for tactical experimentation."[28] Chris Gollmer of Niche Gamer both praised it for and complained about its punishing gameplay, concluding that "hardcore" strategy RPG players would find it satisfying, but that it was too difficult for anyone else to justify an investment.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2014-06-27, Natural Doctrine release date set, Gematsu
  2. ^ 2014-08-01, Natural Doctrine and Fairy Fencer F swap release date, Hardcore Gamer
  3. ^ 2014-03-12, Natural Doctrine hits Japan on April 3, Gematsu
  4. ^ 2014-09-22, Natural Doctrine delayed 1 week in the west, Anime News Network
  5. ^ 2013-09-09, Kadokawa announces Natural Doctrine for PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Gematsu
  6. ^ 2013-09-09, 【速報】角川ゲームススタジオ第1弾タイトル「NAtURAL DOCtRINE」がPS4/PS3/PS Vitaで登場。ジャンルはファンタジーSRPGに, 4gamer
  7. ^ 2013-09-09, Natural Doctrine announced for PlayStation 4, Eurogamer
  8. ^ 2013-09-20, Kadokawa Games’ Strategy RPG Has Giant Golems, Siliconera
  9. ^ 2013-12-27, Danny Cowan, Natural Doctrine to miss PS4 launch in Japan, now debuting in March, Joystiq
  10. ^ 2014-02-25, Report: Natural Doctrine Delayed Again, Now Scheduled For April, Siliconera
  11. ^ a b c 2013-09-24, Patapon Director Is Making PS4 Strategy RPG Natural Doctrine, ufotable Characters, Siliconera
  12. ^ a b c d e f g 2013-09-26, Natural Doctrine detailed in Famitsu, Gematsu
  13. ^ http://www.rpgsite.net/news/2591-natural-doctrine-gets-more-info-and-a-trailer
  14. ^ http://www.4gamer.net/games/232/G023272/20130926057/
  15. ^ 2014-04-01, Natural Doctrine coming west this fall, Gematsu
  16. ^ 2014-04-01, NIS America To Publish Natural Doctrine On PS3, PS4 And Vita, Siliconera
  17. ^ a b 2014-07-06, Natural Doctrine Levels Up With New Challenges For PS4, Siliconera
  18. ^ a b 2013-09-10, Natural Doctrine first details and screenshots, Gematsu
  19. ^ 2013-09-11, Famitsu tidbits: Yakuza: Ishin, Phantasy Star Nova, New Atelier Rorona, Natural Doctrine, and more, Gematsu
  20. ^ a b 2013-09-24, Natural Doctrine has story and multiplayer modes, Gematsu
  21. ^ 2014-03-31, Form your own deck in Natural Doctrine’s online mode, Gematsu
  22. ^ 2013-03-31, Natural Doctrine’s Online Mode Is A Card Battling Game, Siliconera
  23. ^ 2014-04-09, Media Create Sales: 3/31/14 – 4/6/14, Gematsu
  24. ^ 2014-04-10, 【週間ソフト販売ランキング TOP50】3DS『マリオパーティ アイランドツアー』が発売3週目で1位を獲得!(3月31日~4月6日), Dengeki PlayStation
  25. ^ 2014-04-01, Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1322, Gematsu
  26. ^ Galliher, Cory (2014-10-04). "Natural Doctrine Review on Popzara". Popzara Press. Retrieved 2014-10-04. 
  27. ^ 2014-05-07, Natural Doctrine Review (PS4 Import), PlayStation LifeStyle
  28. ^ Hale, Bradly (2014-09-16). "Review: Natural Doctrine". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved 2014-09-29. 
  29. ^ Gollmer, Chris (2014-10-24). "Natural Doctrine Review—the Dark Souls of Strategy RPGs". Retrieved 2014-10-25. 

External links[edit]