Review: Phantom Doctrine (PlayStation 4)

The year is 1983. The world teeters on the verge of destruction as the Cold War tightens its icy grip. East or West: trust no one, question everything. The fate of humanity rests in your hands as you pit spy versus spy in tactical Phantom Doctrine.

Pros:

  • Really nice detailed graphics.
  • 8.99GB Download size.
  • Graphics options- v-sync on/off.
  • Platinum trophy.
  • Ironman mode.
  • Subtitles- All, Foreign or off.
  • Two teams- KGB or the CIA.
  • Character creator- BName, Team, passport photo, hairstyle, eye/hair/skin colors/build type, clothes, headgear, and tattoos.
  • Opening optional tutorial.
  • Uses the DS4 speaker for receiving intel. Adds a lot to the atmosphere.
  • Can speed up or slow down all character animations.
  • In game cutscenes.
  • Turn-based strategy game.
  • Kind of like a real-life X-Com game.
  • Can skip cutscenes.
  • Save when you want.
  • Camera control.
  • Online multiplayer- Server browser, 6 maps, set turn limit, character points or host option.
  • Sleeper agents in the game that you can take control of.
  • Fog- Hides everything until you reveal it via exploration or using a sleeper.
  • Very immersive.
  • Strong voice acting.
  • Full crafting/modding and upgrades table.
  • A grid system for movement.
  • AP and FP system. Action points (AP) dictates how many actions you can take in a turn whereas Fire points (FP) dictates how much shooting you can do.
  • Actions aplenty with mechanics like spotter- clear fog, Overwatch with multiple types. Breach doors etc.
  • Button icons on the screen.
  • Really nice locations.
  • Awareness meter that works like a luck meter, Instead of like in X-com where it gives a chance to hit number, This will decide how much damage you do instead.
  • Can infiltrate, Spy and investigate within levels opening up even more possibilities.
  • Strong art direction.

Cons:

  • No private online lobby settings.
  • A lot to take in.
  • Kind of just throws a lot of info at you in one go.
  • Constant difficulty spikes.
  • Broken animations.
  • Few examples of enemies shooting through walls and cover.
  • Takes a while to get going more from your confidence level than game pace.
  • Easy to lose track of all your moves.
  • Very busy looking screen.
  • Despite everything the tutorial throws at you, It doesn’t either go into enough details of mechanics or flat out doesn’t explain it.

The Numbers:
  • 9/10
    Graphics - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Accessability - 7/10
  • 9/10
    Length - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Fun Factor - 8/10
8.2/10

Summary

An x-com like strategy game set in an 80s world during the cold war, Phantom Doctrine is a really decent spy game first and foremost with so much variation and control given to you, Solving a level can be done in so many ways its refreshingly fun, The combat, however, has potential but is definitely the weaker part with a bit of jank sneaking in. Enemies were shooting me through cover and walls, They could see me before it was possible and so on. Aside from that, the difficulty is high, Ramping up enemy numbers to the point where you are always against it is flat out frustrating. Game sessions are long and fun for the most part. So basically how it breaks down is the game is really really good but the combat needs looking into and the tutorial stuff needs a touch-up or more support available to the player.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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