Phantom Doctrine review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Developer: Forever Entertainment/CreativeForge Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Phantom Doctrine isn?t exactly the most original game. If you?ve ever played X-COM or any of its variants, pretty much everything about this game will seem very, very familiar. Basically, just sub in spies for aliens, and you?ve got a good idea of what to expect here.

That doesn?t mean that Phantom Doctrine is without its charms, mind you. It?s a game of 1980s Cold War spy vs. spy, and you can play as either CIA or KGB. Using that setting as a foundation, it weaves together a solid story involving (as you can imagine) espionage, double-crossing, shadowy world leaders, and everything you?d hope for from a Cold War tale. It also does a good job of tying together its missions — which, as you?d hope for from a spy thriller, prioritize stealth, though you can still try to go in guns blazing — with its plot.

That said, the game isn?t without some issues. You?ll notice this right from the beginning, when you?ll see the game struggle to fully render the faces of your created character; even when it catches up with you updating something like glasses or a cigar, you?ll still see some blurry lines where the character?s cheeks should be.

It?s not as bad within the game, but this is because a) the cutscenes here are all pre-rendered stills, which look kind of cheap, and b) we?re talking about a top-down, turn-based game that doesn?t do anything too crazy. The camera seems a little limited, but it?s never unusable, merely occasionally annoying. I also sometimes found that characters didn?t abide by things like walls, which kind of breaks the immersion, but it was never so bad that it broke the game.

If it seems like I have more negative things to say about Phantom Doctrine, that?s mainly because it?s such an easy game to characterize. As I said, it?s basically Cold War X-COM, and it pulls that off relatively well. Not so well that it?ll make anyone forget X-COM, but if you need something similar, this game will do in a pinch.

Forever Entertainment provided us with a Phantom Doctrine Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B