Hardcore games with punishing difficulty seem to be increasingly trendy these days, thanks to games like Dark Souls and the most recent XCOM, and in about a month a new players will be joining the gang, this one called Natural Doctrine.
Natural Doctrine is developed by Tokyo-based studio Kadokawa, and was released in Japan last April. On 23 and 26 September this year, the game will be making its North American and European debut, respectively, on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.
The game’s setting and plot is your usual Japanese-flavored fantasy fare, but where Natural Doctrine stands apart is through its brutal turn-based tactical gameplay. To drive the point home, the first third of the game’s trailer consists entirely of the player characters getting thumped by a colorful variety of enemy creatures:
The game is touted as having a deep level of strategic options for every player to experiment with, ranging from adjusting character skills and gear, using combination attacks and so on. A post on the PlayStation blog describes the tactical possibilities as such:
You might end up playing a positional game and slowly bleeding your opponent while taking advantage of gates and perilous walkways, or you could become a tactical player who wins games with fireworks by setting up complex links between characters.
Natural Doctrine will allow for both single and multiplayer gameplay, including cooperative modes for players who prefer working together. Additionally, the game will support cross-platform functionality, which means that you could play the game on your PlayStation 4 for a bit at home, save, and then continue your campaign on your Vita while on the train heading to school or work.
The original Japanese version was released to mediocre reviews largely because of its extreme difficulty, so publisher NIS America have tweaked the game to present a more sensible challenge.