Wait, I’m going to actually review something on here?
Catherine is an enjoyable game. I don’t want to play games here and go out into a long explanation on what I though of the game before giving you the score.
[8 out of 10 stars]
Catherine’s story revolves around Vincent, your average 32 year old male. He had a job he could live off of, a group of casual drinking friends, and a girlfriend who was bluntly wanting to be much more in his life. He was about ready to reach a huge point in his life, a point where one part of his life would end, and another begin.
This point I’m talking about is clearly illustrated by the two C(K)atherines in the game. Katherine is his loving girlfriend of five years. Katherine is 32 as well, and is going through the same phase as Vincent. All the poor girl wants to know is, is he in or is he out?
Catherine, on the other hand, is Vincent’s dream girl. She just appears out of nowhere one night at the local pub, and Vincent (being the gentlemen he is) escorts her straight to his bedroom. She’s young and quite the looker, but she has a sort of dark personality. Early on she makes you swear to be loyal to only her, and pseudo threatens your life if you ever dare cheat on her. Definitely, not my type.
Vincent, along with a ton of other characters you end up meeting and interacting with, starts having these weird nightmares where he is constantly climbing a tower with a bunch of sheep. These nightmares end up being connect with a string of mysterious deaths happening all around Japan. To make matters more disheartening, those having the nightmares end up not being able to remember it when they wake up, and Vincent has too much going on with the C(K)atherine to even stop to think about it.
If you couldn’t tell by my little snide remark, Catherine was not my woman of choose when playing through this game for the first time. First off, I didn’t like the idea of Vincent cheating and sneaking around behind Katherine’s back. Secondly, they state throughout the game that Catherine is the idea girl for Vincent, but why would Vincent’s ideal woman be worried about him sleeping around unless deep down that’s not what he ever wanted to begin with. Vincents dream gal and Katherine shared a lot of the same characteristics, the biggest difference being that Catherine was fine without any real sense of commitment, she just wanted to have fun.
I felt like they may have been hinting that Katherine was the right one for him all along, he just needed a little shove from the player to make it all happen.
Overall the story has enough little loops to keep you playing, but chances remain that you will want to gouge out the eyes of one or more of the characters before you reach your 3rd night in the game.
The Artsy (Visual/Audio)
The art style was something no one would be surprised to see if they had played any other Atlus game in the past. Most gameplay scenes in a sort of three-dimensional, jrpg, anime sort of feel or if you know the term it’s a cel-shaded approach to the graphics. Movie scenes are completely stylized like what you would see in an anime.
This style has worked well for Atlus in the past, and really seems to help drive the story along. Not to mention it looks great!
The music didn’t get old, and that really says something considering how many times I would have to replay a level. The soundtrack is full a classical wonders such as Bach, Chopin, and Beethoven. So, if you end up getting the edition of the game that includes the sound disk and small art book, you may end up learning one or two classic pieces. Sneaky bastards.
The gameplay is unique. At the core of the game is a puzzle game, and well it was pulled off rather uniquely by the Atlus team. You have these set of blocks that you need to climb, but you can only climb one block at a time, this forces you to push and pull blocks to create staircases. Concept sounds simple, but it really get’s difficult.
It has a learning curve, and if you’re one of those people who want to sit down and try to beat the game in one sitting, well I wish ya all the luck in the world. There are characters throughout the game that will give you little tips on how to climb better.
Even non-puzzle lovers can find joy out of playing this game, although for those who don’t want to deal with constantly dying I do recommend playing on Easy. It’s okay your no less of a person for doing so. It will save you a lot of frustrations, especially when you get to a boss fight, Now, you’re not only timed, but you have this huge monster chasing up the wall after you, it can be really stressing.
Outside of all the climbing and movie sequences, you do get to control Vincent while he’s at the Stray Sheep, the local pub. here you get to respond to text messages from both the C(K)atherines affecting the overall story. You can also talk to other people and dive deeper into the story. Or by choosing not to talk to some of the customers you’ll find that there’s a chance they could end up on the news dead the next day.
There’s also a lovely puzzle learning exercise at the pub. It’s an arcade machine called Rapunzel. It has its own storyline that fluctuates depending on how you’ve acted so far in the Catherine story. It’s the same gameplay as the puzzle nightmares, but you have a limited number of moves, making you have to think out your decisions with care.
The game has a good 10-12 hours of story, more if you’re a completionist, and it also had a two player co-op and battle mode. Depending on how much you like the puzzle you may put a lot of hours into the game, thus I recommend you to buy it now. If you’re not a huge puzzle go-er hold off till the game hits a price drop or you spot it on sale.