CreativeForge Games and Good Shepherd Entertainment’s Phantom Doctrine were released on PC for $39.99 over on the Steam store. The game is an espionage spy thriller that has a campaign that’s about 40 hours in length. It has a main mission with procedurally generated side content. For those of you looking for a basic gameplay walkthrough, there are a few available.
YouTuber ChristopherOdd has a series of videos in a playlist covering the basic gameplay and main campaign mode, which you can check out below.
When you start a new game you can choose to play either the regular mode or the extended mode, the latter of which includes more in-depth features and an extended story to get to the bottom of things”.
There are three difficulty settings: Easy, Medium, and Hard. And there’s the option to play in Ironman Mode like in XCOM or have the tutorial enabled.
Once you get the settings sorted, you can hop into the game.
At the start of the game, you can choose to play either as a CIA agent or as a KGB agent.
You can also choose to create your character, with options between males and females… and yes, the developers allow you to create a straight, white male.
You can choose your character’s body type, skin color, eye color, and from 11 different faces. You can also modify the character’s hair, clothes, headgear, and details.
Your first mission is “White Fish”.
Your main mission is to find proof of the fission device and then evacuate once you find the proof.
Your first mission takes place in Pakistan.
ChristopherOdd mentions that you can acquire loot by checking glowing lockers throughout the levels. There are weapons, weapon modifications, and additional gear inside the lockers that you can acquire.
In the first mission, you’re in a disguise that allows you to avoid being directly detected.
The game operates on a turn-based structure. When you click on an enemy – even while disguised – you can do silent takedowns so long as no one is watching.
If you’re close enough, you can just click on the takedown confirmation button. You can also dispose of the bodies of enemies to hide your tracks.
As pointed out in the video, for missions where there are security cameras, barriers, or laser grids, you can disable them by finding the power stations for the security mechanisms. These control stations will be highlighted with a gear icon and a yellow glow.
You’ll need to find four pieces of intel in the first mission. The location of the documents is sprinkled throughout the level.
Much like XCOM, you’ll also have a limited amount of action points, so it takes movement or action points to move around the environment.
When you complete the main objectives you have the option to call in the evac chopper to exfiltrate your team. There’s usually a location on the map you can your team to evacuate the map.
Being more stealth-oriented allows you to reduce taking damage or expending ammo. If you take damage your team will have to go into the infirmary if they survive a mission.
If you complete mission objectives and also stealthily take out bad guys or execute enemies with as minimal damage as possible, you’ll gain maximum XP at the end of the mission. Much like XCOM or Jagged Alliance, you’ll also be able to level up your character
Also, your main character can’t die in a mission, if they do then it’s game over, so keep your main character alive.
You’ll be able to upgrade your characters and their trainers, as well as improve and upgrade a character’s perks.
After each successful level-up, you’ll be able to choose one new perk for the character so choose wisely.
You can also train your character with new skills to improve their proficiency in a specific trait for a mission. This ranges from weapons training to linguistics. Also, keep in mind that characters with more linguistic skills make them more viable for different missions in locations where proficiency in specific languages can help net you access to more intel and affinity with certain NPCs.
Much like XCOM, you can also upgrade your base after each mission. ChristopherOdd suggests upgrading the Forger Facility so that you can make extra money even while you’re not on a mission. The Forger Facility also allows you to customize agents while they’re at your base, or give them a new identity.
Upgrading your base takes time and so you’ll only be able to make use of the new facilities after they’ve been completed and upgraded. This is usually done while you’re outperforming missions.
Once you get done hiring new staff, upgrading your current team, and training them, you can then look over the intel you acquired from the first mission. You’ll be required to hunt a man named Aguirre.
You’ll need to go over to the geoscape and you’ll be able to see where your agents are on the map.
You’ll need to send an agent to scout the “Suspicious Activity” icons on the map. These are the icons with red tabs and white exclamation marks. These indicate that there’s suspicious activity taking place in those locations and you’ll need to scout those areas to uncover the location for your next main mission.
Press the play button on the geoscape to make time move forward and additional intel for Aguirre will be revealed.
The first part of the mission is to tail Aguirre for additional intel.
The additional intel will reveal Aguirre’s location. You can also highlight codewords and important intel on the information board. The objective is to set up the board to help you pinpoint the necessary info to make a move on a target.
As you investigate locations and acquire dossiers, you’ll need to read through the texts and use the mouse to highlight keywords to fill out the list on the right. You’ll see the keywords highlighted in the text and appear on the list once you successfully identify the keywords.
For dossiers that use the same keywords, you’ll need to link the intel together on the information board.
A large portion of the game is based around information logistics and developing links with the info to build up enough evidence to launch a mission.
Unlike XCOM, you don’t have to start a mission as an assault. Much like Jagged Alliance, it’s possible to send in your agents to simply scout an area before launching an assault. Additionally, if you have agents close enough to a mission, you can interrupt an operation.
Once you’re ready to start a mission you can select from the available agents from your pool, and equip them with main and secondary weapons, as well as armor, and items.
When you’re ready to take a character with you into battle, simply click on the character from the agent pool and then click on the big green “Assign” button from the top right corner of the character screen.
Additionally, each mission will allow you to also make use of disguises.
As mentioned in the video, if you pick an agent who speaks the language in the location where you visit, you’ll receive a bonus for distracting NPCs.
You’ll also be able to choose your infiltration point in a map, as well as be able to choose where you can apply your support units. One neat aspect of the support feature is that you can click on the little icon at the bottom of the screen of the guy with the headset on. This will allow you to use the support units to perform things like reconnaissance from across the street or even perform sniper takedowns. Support units will require command points, so use them wisely throughout the mission.
If you use disguises in missions it allows you to move around in stages without the enemy attacking you. You can use this to your advantage and incapacitate enemies.
In the early missions, you’ll mostly be required to acquire intel, as depicted in the videos above.
If, however, you decide to go for the gung-ho route, you can get the drop on enemies by using the breach tactic, which allows you to set up a breach order, where you can blast open a door and execute a breach and clear tactic by assigning your squad members to perform specific actions in sequential order.
You’ll likely want to avoid raising the suspicion of guards or enemy units until you’re ready to escape. Keep in mind that it takes two turns on average for evac units to get into position, so you might want to plan out how you want to assault (if you want to assault) and evac.