So Atlus comes out with this new game for ps3 which sadly isn’t P5 or SMT or the like, but has a completely new feel from any other Atlus game I’ve played. It is definitely just as mature if not more so than their other games.
Vincent Brooks is having love troubles and hears about the rumors of having a nightmare where if you fall off the tall tower, you yourself die in the real world. Well, Vincent and his crew find out one of their acquaintances has suddenly died, Vincent meets this young temptress of a woman named Catherine, who, sharing the same of his potential wife Katerine, is not helping his situation. He wavers between Catherine and Katherine and your choices throughout the game, be it answering serious questions to the voice in the confessional in your nightmare or replying to text messages from Catherine or Katherine, decide how he thinks and reacts. Basically you can get 8 endings, which span from good to bad and affairs to single. I think Atlus did a great job with the story, and considering how realistic and believable it is, I give it 5 out of 5.
Now the nightmare game-play. These are sequences of vertical puzzles where you have to push and pull blocks so you can climb to the top of the tower and escape from the plummeting blocks below you, sheep + other creatures that try to interfere or bosses that are trying to kill you. Easier said than done. Easy mode is not too bad, until you get to the final stages, then you have to really put on the thinking cap to solve the puzzles. Easy mode is great to play repeatedly to get the different endings, but you cannot play babel mode until you beat certain stages on normal. Normal mode should actually be “hard”, because you start with fewer retries and the puzzles are significantly harder. You also have less time to think about it and actually perform the block movements, so correct timing and efficiency is needed. Not for amateur or casual gamers. I have not even beaten the game on hard or “ridiculous” mode yet. So for the platforming game-play, I give a 4 out of 5 for the challenging but slightly too difficult puzzles.
The art-style was nice (especially for the anime cut-scenes) but they could have been better. On an HD TV you can notice its not completely smooth, but using a smaller tv made it look immensely better, so I guess its just a matter of preference. Character design was fabulous. So overall I give the art a 4 out of 5.
Game Mechanics and Re-playability: Just kind of lumping these two together to get the rest of the feel of the game through. The controls were well done and felt intuitive so that was a major plus. Besides the whole floating blocks thing, the physics were acceptable. I liked how moving “up” automatically moves Vincent onto the block in front of him, or if he is hanging on the edge he climbs up. Moving side to side and pulling blocks out is made more efficient to the point where you can just drag it out then easily and fluently move to the side and pull or push it. And of course, with 8 endings and all satisfying in their own…different….way, its fun to go back through the puzzles. For the most part, scenes are the same until Vincent has to make some move, but those are dictated by his marriage meter, so you can go through the game really fast by skipping scenes you have already watched. Alternatively, you can save you game at the end (with a specific position on the meter) and make different choices at the very end which determine the amount of freedom Vincent wants. However, some of you might bored with platforming or puzzles easily or they are just simply tedious. So I give the mechanics and re-playability a 4 out of 5.
Overall, the game gets a 4 out of 5 by me (to keep it simple). It’s a great game don’t get me wrong, but it could have definitely been the best game of the year if they worked a little more on it. By the way, did I mention this game is really short?