Phantom Doctrine Review (PC)
Phantom Doctrine was an interesting game. Based on the cold war, you get to run a group of spies, gathering intel, managing your base, and using the intel to link people and places together. I enjoyed my time with Phantom Doctrine, and to be honest I wish This is the Police 2 went more of this direction. Every decision you make can directly affect what happens to you in the game and very possibly bite you in the ass depending on how big of a risk you take with assets.
Phantom Doctrine’s gameplay can be broken down into two ways. One being your base/hideout, and the other being the missions you go out on. While in your base there is a lot to manage, your agents, craft items for your missions, an infirmary for injured agents, and try to find links between people and locations through your intel. Agents will need to be hired, trained, and sometimes if they become compromised, need a new identity. Majority of these actions will cost you valuable money. Training though will cost you time. Some agents, while performing a few missions will level up and you can select perks for them as well. Throughout your base, there are other things you can assign agents too, creating money, crafting items, and doing research to solve cases. Once your agents are assigned they will be busy until the task is done. Solving the cases through your intel gathered was fun. Reading the documents, highlighting important names or locations, then placing them on the board. Then the fun part, connecting the matches with strings, the way you always see in detective movies and such.
The map is a huge part of the gameplay while at your base. From here you’ll see little alerts pop up around the map which you’ll need to send agents to those points and they will gather information, find an informant, or can possibly get compromised. If an informant is found you’ll need to let some time pass (you’ll know by the progress bar). Once done you will be able to attempt to solve the case the information is related to. You will need to be quick to deploy the agents if you let events slide or enemy agents getaway you will slip closer to midnight on the doomsday clock. Once you get to attempt a mission, it gets real.
You have to get agents to the location, arm them up and deploy them. Once chosen, you get to choose the weapons and devices (that you may have crafted). You can also choose if you want an agent to wear a disguise. This can help if you were able to perform recon and other tasks before the actual raid. This is a benefit if you need someone to sneak in and disable cameras, or scout around. It’s not the only way to handle things, you can go in, knock everyone out, or you can go in guns blazing. There are huge disadvantages by not going in stealthily. The combat is turned based so you need to think ahead and keep your eyes out for the enemy. If you’re caught reinforcements will be sent. Oh boy, do they get sent, every 3-5 turns. They aren’t always just other agents. I got lit up by attack helicopters as well. The planning stage also has you choose a drop-off point where you want to enter the building. The same goes for an extraction point choose what works best for you in your situation. I really enjoyed the real-time strategy that was implemented for the missions. It was a nice break from managing your base and felt like a smooth transition between the two modes.
The story overall was decent. It had the makings of a good cold war story. It had some decent events that drove me to want to play more and see what was next. Some parts did fall flat, and some of the gameplay both in the base and missions felt repetitive at times. It felt for a bit until things unlocked further, that I was performing the same actions over and over again. It wasn’t a game killer but it my mind started wandering and I lost focus until I was able to proceed with the story again.
I would recommend this game to fans of RTS and base management games. It was fun and refreshing, and somewhat nerve-wracking. There aren’t many issues I had personally with the game, it was enjoyable. There were some minor inconveniences with a bug crashing the game, but the auto save made it no issue getting back into it.
Note: GameOctane editor Jason Germino received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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+ Gameplay between the Base management and RTS missions blends well
+ Story is engaging enough to continue playing
+ Deep RTS system with a great visual system (seeing enemies and being seen)
- Some parts feel repetitive
- Minor bug crashed the game....rarely