The Cold War espionage simulator and tactical RPG Phantom Doctrine had a rather divisive reception at launch, due mainly to its resemblance to XCOM, which was found to be a deceptive resemblance by fans of that series. Not only does it not favor a kill-’em-all strategy, it also has some issues with an experimental cover-sidestep mechanic. The developers explained what they tried to accomplish through that mechanic, while also reassuring players that they were working on a patch to address the issues. The patch was released yesterday after a period in beta testing, and it seems to have resolved the immediate issues experienced by some players.

The patch notes also included an “improved direction of leaning out from full cover,” “increased visibility of CCTV terminals and loot/secret file containers,” and several fixes to minor bugs. While there were some issues with the original release, the playthrough for our review was concluded without any major problems. It remains to be seen whether the modifications and adjustments to the systems will satisfy the players who asked for them. The developers also announced further plans as they work on “more tweaks to the entire system” with an expanded patch that includes “further improvements, animation changes and more enhancements to the Line of Sight.”

Phantom Doctrine is an ambitious and intricate game with a great wealth of replay content, and it’s expected that CreativeForge will continue to offer extensive post-release support to its playerbase. While admittedly a niche title by industry standards and not very accessible to a mainstream audience, it can still retain its loyal fanbase. It might be wiser to ward off potential comparisons to XCOM in the future, in the hopes of avoiding the pitfall of disappointing fans of that series.

Did you get a chance to try Phantom Doctrine yet? If so, what did you think so far, and if not, do you plan on picking it up? Let us know in the comments below!

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Richard Costa

Staff Writer

Ape meets keyboard. Hack for hire, recovering academic and RPG enthusiast who started gaming on MSX in the late 80s, then witnessed the glorious 90s on PC.