If you have any improvement suggestions concerning game features or mechanics, as well as potential requests for future additions, please discuss them here.
I am at around 10 hours of play time right now... so I hope I haven't touched a lot of the content. I did go through a bunch of missions already, so I think I have a decent handle on the tactical side of things, and early-game strategic part.
Before going any further, allow me to emphasize that I am enjoying Phantom Doctrine a lot. Pretty much as much as I enjoyed Hard West (and which strengths certainly affected my decision to buy PD itself right now). While I am disappointed at a lot of unfulfilled potential, this is merely because I would love to see Phantom Doctrine be something even greater than it already is (also, I enjoy complex simulations that much more ;) )
Prepare for a wall of text, in no particular order or importance: * No simulation of sound *
For a game that relies a lot on "stealth" phase, that's a big thing. This lack allows for some silly things like jumping through a window into "trespass" zone right next to a guard, just because they are looking away. Or running past another at a tile distance with impunity. No need to sneak, every agent watched enough animu to be a true ninja, I guess >.< In the same vein, the spotting cone is hilariously restricted at 1 tile distance. Meaning your agent can readily do whatever they want right to the side of somebody without them reacting. I'm just going to ignore the fact that even "silenced" weapons still make a rather distinct and audiable sound.
Anyway, bigly disappointed at the lack of sound detection mechanics. To be honest, it is not even something that seems to would have required too much effort to implement... * Takedown and body disposal *
A really missed opportunity here. Disposing of an incapacitated person is far too abstract, to the point where it breaks the immersion for me when I am in the middle of a small room with two "active" civilians but my agents somehow manage to clear the evidence of another witness being removed just because the civies did not have immediate line of sight to the body of their fellow.
Would have been that much more engaging to have civilians carry some interactive elements, such as keys to certain doors, potential disguise drops, or even occasional intel in case of high-ranking civies (i.e. a police commissioner with a captured agent, or a head physician in the asylum/"interrogation" location).
Body disposal would have greatly benefited from being more detailed, preferably by using environmental elements to "hide" the evidence (stuffing a body in a closet). Absent such easy elements, it would have been that much more interesting if it were possible to pick-up and re-locate the body (presumably somewhere any guard would not investigate) instead of having this abstract "dispose of body" animation.
It should also not be possible to "dispose" of a body within short distance of NPCs (whether soldiers/guards or civilians) absent actual noise handling mechanics. * More details to disguises *
So far you are either disguised, or not, and you seem to only be able to set that condition prior to mission. There is also a perk that makes your disguises foolproof ("Actor"), but that seems to be pretty much the extent of them that I have experienced.
Disguises and languages have so much more potential to them. Disguises could have had "quality" levels indicating the care taken to prepare a convincing display. Pre-mission assignment being of a higher "quality" than something picked up in the field (really bummed at being unable to dress in clothing stolen from an incapacitated NPC to serve as even a poor "quality" disguise - say, something passable at reasonable distance away, but being detected by guards on closer inspections). To go hand in hand with greater detail of implementation of the "language known" skills of our agents, some areas could require interaction with guards to pass into more restricted parts of them. For instance, having a guard by the fence requiring interaction (in Arabic) prior to having the gate unlocked to pass into the facility grounds in the opening mission for CIA would be one example of it. Under such implementation, the initial language would have generally be based on country the mission takes place in (duh), but perhaps running "Recon" would also provide additional acceptable language. Say, East Bloc scientists from another country in the Pakistani opening CIA mission making it possible to use their national language instead (e.g. Russian). * Interacting with windows *
Again, so much potential for a more immersive handling. I'd preferably see a differentiated handling of each, with different levels of "secured" allowing different interactions, but even keeping things simplified for the sake of engine handling (or whatnot), having the ability to spend "Action" and "Fire" point on unlocking a window to get through without breaking it would really be a nice addition. Especially if at least partial noise handling makes an appearance. Meaning any guards within certain radius would react to nearby window breaking, either through outright alert (which should be a given if the act of going through window is witnessed, non-tresspass area or not), or by making them approach to investigate and raise alarm when in sight of the broken window if either side of it is a "tresspass" area. * Guards mechanics *
There are too few patrols so far. It is much too easy to have a free run of most of the "tresspass" areas with impunity. No security checkpoints requiring interaction (and disguises, and appropriate language skill!). Binary tresspass/no-tresspass marking lacks "realistic" granularity (having a more "secure" area within the target location has so much potential for more detail and gameplay to it :( ).
"Some guards failed to check in" alert is happening much too fast. Even with current implementation of security handling, it would have been that much better to have different levels of "vigilance" assigned to each mission. On high vigilance target areas the failed check-in alert would occur more rapidly, but it would have made that much more sense (and made the game all the more enjoyable) if low vigilance zones relied solely on patrols registering empty locations that should have been guarded (for instance by assigning a static "guard here" tile that, when absent of a guard, would trigger the alert).
Having multiple "security" levels would also affect the "vigilance" rating of guards inside them. Meaning guards in "low-security" areas would not trigger "check-in failure" as fast as guards inside "high security" part of the location. * "Planning" stage and several levels of "security" in target locations *
Prior to launching a mission with "Recon" performed for it, it would have been nice to get a layover map with indication of "static" guard locations, expected patrol routes, cameras and security stations, locked doors and intel and loot locations. Basically any interactive element in the zone. Double cookie points for having this information accessible during mission just for players' convenience.
It would also allow for more detail to "Recon" missions and greater depth to mission preparedness. It would make it possible to implement several levels of security for target locations. Currently it's a binary "free access" and "no tresspass" set. It would have been that much more interesting (and tying in with some of the other enhancements I mentioned above) if this was more nuanced. As an example, aside from the "free access" area, for important locations have a "low security" ring around the core "high security" area. "Low security" would make guards less attentive to detecting disguises (and not require interaction to move around). Security stations within that zone would be only tied to cameras within itself. "High security" would feature increased number of troops (both stationary and patrols), and interactive "checkpoints" requiring good disguises and language skills to pass through without force. Perhaps add some kind of "skill check" to allow passing of additional agents within the same turn if it makes sense given the map (i.e. "just a prisoner transfer, mate" in case of a prison).
Areas with several levels of security could also require additional "Recon" attempts to get information on the high security parts of it. Or even additional "actions" required (or outright missions to secure specific intel/keys/passphrases) accomplished prior to attempting infiltration of the target. * Language use *
Limited interaction and utilization, as mentioned above. "Analyst" job could also be expanded by having intel pieces come with "language" assignment that would either require a profficient agent to handle, or increase the time required to process by non-fluent one (outsourcing translation). * Trespassing *
Interacting with doors and windows leading to "trespass" areas should also trigger alarm when witnessed, aside from the potential "noise" implementation mentioned above. * No melee weapons *
While Takedown is very useful, there were several situations where I really, really would have liked my agent to have a simple knife available. Since Takedown is HP-reliant, it would have made for a nice and presumably "silent" way to weaken an enemy agent for a follow-up Takedown by another one of mine. * Icons on Intel and loot placeables *
with the lack of a map overlay, I found the intel and loot placeables somewhat difficult to spot. It would be really nice if they got their own icon over them (similar to how security stations are indicated) as a "quality of life" nod toward players. This is not exactly the type of a game in which I would care for "spot-and-click" adventure elements.