Natural Doctrine

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Natural Doctrine Game Poster Image
Role-playing game focuses on combat, but story falls flat.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Good-vs.-evil tale places emphasis on combat violence, while reason for that violence takes a backseat.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Central character exudes many positive qualities, only uses his strong fighting abilities for good, with ultimate goal of restoring access to important resources, materials for mankind.

Ease of Play

Very complex, convoluted battle system. It's appealing but takes a lot of time to get used to.

Violence

Players battle hundreds of monsters in turn-based play. When hit, enemies spray large puffs of blood that quickly disappear. Turn-based play, with simple selection of commands and watching of results slightly limit impact of battle.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Natural Doctrine is a turn-based role-playing game that puts players in the middle of a human-vs.-goblin turf war for the fate of mankind and the planet's resources. Players will engage in an unending series of battles requiring an unlimited supply of patience and strategy. The battle system is appealing but extremely confusing for players who aren't turn-based-game veterans, which could lead to frustration. While players are attacking goblins, orcs, and other fantastical creatures, splotches of blood frequently appear on the screen, but these always disappear after a few seconds.

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What's it about?

NATURAL DOCTRINE puts players in a grim world where humans and nonhuman creatures are at war with one another in an environment where vital natural resources are quickly running dry. It's up to the player to fight off the monsters preventing the rest of mankind from accessing those resources.

Is it any good?

Natural Doctrine's biggest strength is its unique combat system. It goes against the convention of pitting allied characters against a handful of enemy creatures at a time. It's not uncommon for more than a dozen characters to be engaged in any given confrontation. Players accustomed to the traditional role-playing-game battle mechanics may have some trouble adjusting to this formula, especially since battles can easily take half an hour or more. Unfortunately, this very competent battle system is likely to be unappreciated because of the game's shortcomings in other areas, such as the largely unsatisfying story. It tends to drag on with the same plot lines repeated throughout the dozens of hours of gameplay. The enemy battles also tend to showcase the same types of creatures over and over again, except for the occasional large-scale event battles, but even those end with an unsatisfying experience because of the dull story development. The game's uninspired soundtrack and admittedly non-cutting-edge graphics do nothing to help cover up these issues. Ultimately, Natural Doctrine is technically competent but lacks the heart and soul of a good role-playing/adventure game, which ends in an experience that simply falls flat.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the blood and violence in this game. Do you think it was necessary for the developers to include the large splotches of blood? Why, or why not?

  • Have you learned anything in school about natural resources that have dried up over the past several years? What can we do to conserve those resources?

  • Has there ever been a time when you put the greater good ahead of yourself?

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