Whenever I see some kind of weird format for game names, like NAtURAL DOCtRINE or Wip3out it makes me want to do a little bit of sick in my mouth. Why not – ‘[email protected] D0c7R1n3’! Personally I think mine is much better – barely readable, sure, but way cooler.
Anyway NAtURAL DOCtRI- or should I say, Natural Doctrine looks very nice. I will admit that I have, up until this point, paid ZERO amounts of attention to it – mainly because I thought it was only on PS3 and like, who plays that console anymore?! Right?! RIGHT?! Okay, joking, jooooooking!
Anyway, so I started to read up on it this afternoon – and I’m kinda sold on it. Here’s what I learned…
It all sounds a bit hackneyed to be honest – but with a potentially nice twist. You all live in a city which is humanity’s last stronghold (yeah, I know!). Most people live within the walls, but some people like you, go out and explore the surrounding areas, clearing out dungeons for loot – these gangs are known as ‘Bergmans’.
So far – along with the ‘divide between upper and lower classes’ theme – so generic. Thing is, the safety of the city revolves around the acquisition of a refined magical substance called ‘Pluton’. In its raw form it’s toxic to humans, so can only be refined by goblins – and then stolen by the Bergmans. Which kind of puts you and your team in a morally grey area.
Personally, I find the whole thing disgusting, and long for the day that Goblins and Bergmans can live in peace and potentially go on to mate, but lets face it – that’s not going to happen. Maybe in the DLC?
The central cast of the game is as follows;
This is basically the main guy – a one handed swordsman, good with a shield so defensively very strong and is generally a decent all rounder. But you’d expect that from a guy called Geoff, right?
Tank number two basically, think of her as your right hand… lady. She’s not as strong defensively, but she’s dead handy with a sword and likes to dish it out up close.
I like the look of her. Personally I’ve always been a fan of the healers in any RPG. Anka will patch you up in battle, but she’s also got ranged attacks and have thief-like skills for chest opening and locked doors.
If you’re looking for raw power, he’s your man. Apparently this guy deals more damage than anyone else in the game. Not amazingly defensive, but still a decent tank option. Also: Beefy.
As you’d expect, you’ll get a whole bunch of character to join your team – from Golem-controlling Mel, the ranged gunfighter, Tatyana, and Nebula, Gomori and Ingbert who take a decidedly more magical approach to combat. Ingbert, (that’s the one in the middle) looks kinda evil. I hope I get to hit his face with a hammer at some point.
Enough about the people – who gives a crap about the story and cast, I was starting to bore even myself. You want to know what you’ll be doing, game-wise – so yeah, this one’s a Strategy RPG.
Overworld map, menus and story sit between accepting missions and then heading down for some good old-fashioned battling.
I really like the look of this one – with it’s mix of top down iseometric and third-person views depending on how much you want to zoom in. When I look at some of the screens I get a tingling sensation down below – which usually means I’ve remembered that Valkyria Chronicles is a thing that exists.
I’m not saying it’s like Valkyria Chronicles, I’m just saying its some how reminiscent of it – which give me the happy face.
Anyway, you move your characters around the battlefield and take it in turns to attack. As ever each turn gives you a limited field in which you can roam. Cover and line of sight is important in Natural Doctrine, as is your elevation on the battlefield. In a system similar to X-Com, you can set ranged attackers to ‘cover’ and should the enemy break cover to attack an ally, they’ll try to take them down before they can attack.
Pluton, the magical substance I mentioned earlier, this is also an important part of the battle system – in that it gives access to more powerful magic attacks and recovery. There’s a finite amount in the game, if your team runs out, you’re essentially screwed.
The most powerful attacks in the game come through a system called Link Turn, which is dependent on allies being close to each other. Here you can combine your teams attacks together – although if you mess it up, your entire team become open to a good kicking, so use wisely.
So far all signs point to this being a challenging, in-depth strategy game. So deep in fact that many in Japan believe it to be ‘too hard’ as it has layers and layers of strategy that need to be mastered, and also a great deal of flexibility (you can perpetually respect your characters if you so wish).
It’s been a while since I got stuck into Fire Emblem, even longer since Valkyria, so I’m wide open for a bit of SRPG love right now.
It’s coming out on PS4 (WOOO!) PS Vita (double-woooo!) and PS3 (yay!) and it’s going to be both cross play and cross-save, which is frankly, brilliant. It’s due for release on the 16th of September in the US and the 19th of September in Europe.
That’s pretty much all I know for now – hope you like the look if it!
Lets end on a trailer shall we? Um… bye?
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