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Acceptance through Steampunk!
- 08/03/2012 03:43 PM
I have to admit, I have been eager to play a bigger release from this game for quite some time. I had played the older demo and already have become quite fond of it. So waiting for this release to finally come and have it show me yet again it's promise and honestly surprise me. It just goes to show what great work has been put into Catharsis and I can't wait for more to come.
Anyway, lets get on with the review..
(Oh Julius you slave driver you)
Catharsis starts you off within the mind of a troubled emperor as he gives into a decision he wished for sometime he didn't have to make. You're given control of the powerful Officer Julius Lorenz under the emperors command, tasked with delivering an ultimatum. This serves as a good intro too not only the story and motivations behind it, but a nice tutorial set up as well for the player.
This kind of set up also gives notice to the advantages of the battle system in place within the game, but well talk about that later. Anyways an incident occurs that makes headlines across the country over. That's when were introduced to Moshi Cenalus, our pink haired heroine hungry needing to go get some food. A simple food run becomes the start of journey to find "The Last Sanctuary" and acceptance within society. The story itself isn't really revealed within this release as it showcases the earliest stages of it's development.
Now even though we only get a glimpse of the overall story that's in Catharsis, we do get introduced to some intriguing characters and this is more a credit to the writing a showing of at least three distinct personalities. My fave so far would have to be the general, hope to see more of him & the emperor as well.
Enough about the story, lets focus on the real reason you & I decided to check this game out.. It's presentation. There's no denying that Catharsis is a pretty game and that Melkino has done a fantastic job with it. From the subtle tints and lighting effects too rain drops hitting surfaces in the town all the way to the very well designed characters as well as their portraits that show up in conversation. Catharsis excels in this category and stands out as one of the more polished on RMN.
Despite all the great qualities there are going for Catharsis, I would say the aspect that stands out the most in my opinion though, would have to be it's soundtrack. I loved all of it, especially Rei\Happys pieces. I found myself listening to The Gloomy Harbour once I'd finished the demo. The music really gave Catharsis' world a feeling of it's own and really helped bring the atmosphere Melkino was going for too life.
(Yeah, every city should have a factory with gears on it!)
Now finally the gameplay. If you're currently on this site reading this review then that means you are familiar with where the bulk of a typical rpgs gameplay comes from.. It's battle system. This is where this release sees it's problem. At this point in time Catharsis is paced in a way to prevent you from really delving deeper with it's battle system. But, from what is there is intriguing to say the least. Those advantages I mentioned earlier are what seems to be the hook of the battles, a kind of scale system in which by unleashing more attacks, the more positive effects you get. By taking more damage the bonuses go to the enemy. It's called the "Combo Bar" and to take advantage of it multiple hit attacks are a focus necessity to filling it faster. The enemy AI I guess does a decent job and the difficulty they fight at depends on what you chose at the beginning.
Outside of the battles there is the skill setting, crafting and what appears to be a relationship system, but again the game is too early in it's development to utilize it properly here. The one thing I will say that bothered me was the encounters.. Give me some room to breath! Having no random encounters is fine and all but to make it so I have a high chance of having to fight two monsters in a row just to get to a switch, leave the room to activate the switch, come back and again probably have to fight them again because they respawn once you leave a room is quite annoying. This is mainly due to the placement and the fact that they don't disappear for a while. I always enjoy not having random encounters but this was almost just as bad.
Catharsis is a very polished, fascinating game and I do feel it is a good rpg maker game. It's presentation and atmosphere are among the best this site has too offer and an interesting story coming in place. I look forward to the next release and hope to delve more into it's world soon.
Nice review. But you kept using "too" where "to" should have been. Minor disturbance.
Thanks for the review! Regarding the encounters, I've been working on an evented system where encounters respawn after winning a number of battles or when the player does certain things. I'll probably blog about it sometime.