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To The Past

Work on Gate 2 has begun and is coming out great. This is the Zelda themed gate area. Note for the future, I'll only be revealing stuff up to Gate 3. A few screenshots here and there will be released, but they won't contain spoilers nor will they be in context.

About Gate 2
With some suggestions from people, I have put in the Zelda 2 overworld map for getting around Gate 2 and plays exactly like the original with the 4 directional movement limitation. The only change I made was the faster movement speed on the map. I wanted to keep map travel fairly quick, especially for those who want to explore every nook and cranny. There's quite a bit out there too. The map design itself is obviously different and is also a bit smaller, despite the faster travel speed. Zelda 2 isn't THAT big of a game, but I still don't want to be putting an entire game within a game... (within a game? o_O) The gate chapters are typically longer than the ones that connect them, but I didn't want the player spending a bazillion hours here. Though this is easily the biggest of the Gate levels. There are 3 palaces (oh look, 'palaces' IS a word, it just sounds so wrong) which will lead up to the Great Palace at the end. (New set of tiles though, the entire gate won't be using the Zelda 2 tiles.) So that's 4 areas that the player is going to go to. In addition to the small places they'll be going to to get to these dungeons. There's no sidetrack areas like getting the hammer though. (Man that place was torture.)

There is an enemy type that is somewhat on par with the Shrouds. I had a very hard time NOT putting one in as a boss fight for one of these dungeons. Basically it's a heavily armored guard with a huge arsenal. It can shield projectiles and if it's not off-guard, it can block melee as well. Shielding a projectile will power the shield which it can use to make a nasty little shockwave attack. It has charge attack, (like a shoulder bash) a ranged sword beam... and there's more that they can do. Their base damage is 2 hearts and at this part of the game, that only gives the player 2-3 mistakes for an enemy that can counter their moves. The player also doesn't have the dash at this point. These are actually a normal field enemy that appear in later parts of the game, but an encounter with one when the player has almost no defensive options seems a bit too much.

If you thought about playing this game, do it, it's awesome. I don't like a lot of stuff that Atlus puts out, but this is a rare exception. The themes in the game are handled brilliantly and with finesse. It's about your average guy in the US. (I believe it takes place in Chicago, but don't quote me on that.) He's 32, has a girlfriend he's been with for 5 years and a job that gets him by. He doesn't want anything to change and is happy with how things are. But of course, normal lifestyles don't make for interesting storytelling... most of the time. Things change when his girlfriend starts bringing up marriage a lot more, which he doesn't want. He starts having nightmares that cause him to feel restless. The nightmares are what make up the actual gameplay in the form of puzzle solving where you must climb a tower of blocks. It's a simple, yet cleverly designed game in that regard and flows well with the narrative. Even more of a change is when he wakes up one day and realizes he's cheated on his girlfriend, which starts an interesting chain of events.

The theme is pretty obvious, but it's pulled off so well. Everything in the game fits into the narrative, making the whole thing amazing. It's one of the few games where I can say that the rating M for mature can actually mean 'mature'. I find that rating rather misleading and inappropriate as I don't find games with silly amounts of gore and swearing, simply for the sake of it to be mature, but rather the opposite. Catherine is, in a sense, a psychological thriller, not in the same way as say, Silent Hill 2 though. Still, definitely check it out, I highly recommend this game.

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