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WOoow, like wooow! this is such a fantastically researched and fascinating timeline. Seriously, so many people only remembering/praising this game with “it’s hard” as their explanation as to why it became so big. Sure, the mechanics were good, but others did too. More importantly IMO they were good because they fit with the world and story, and WHAT a world and story, so much thinking. In my opinion even people who don’t recognize it and talk just about gameplay, the reason they’re noticing/taking the time to enjoy/discover it is even against their own beliefs the fact that all this back thinking and lovingly crafted world and universe and history is seeping through every orifice and even as they think they’re just “fighting” the reason the area is interesting to fight in is that each corner has in it not just good local level design but more importantly bits of the big picture which dictates and unifies it all.