I recently played through the US version of the game Catherine for PS3 (European release is later this year) and thought I’d share my impressions of the game.
The biggest thing Catherine has going for it is the presentation. The game has an anime style, which looks awesome. Part of the story is told via anime cutscenes, which add to the personality of the characters. Even the menus look good. Everything is voice acted except the SMS messages Vincent, the main character, sends and receives. The voice of Vincent sounds suspiciously like the voice of Snow in Final Fantasy XIII though .
The game consists of story cutscenes, controlling the main character Vincent in a bar (talking to people, drinking and texting) and nightmares. The nightmares are puzzles where you push, pull and climb cubes to reach the top of a tower. Between the puzzles you can talk to others who are caught in the nightmare and you also get to answer moral questions in a confessional that affect the outcome of the game. Then the cycle starts over with a cutscene, the bar, etc.
The texting feature is interesting. You choose between pre-set phrases when replying to texts, but it’s one line at a time, so based on the first line you get different options for the following lines. My favourite line is when Vincent is replying to Catherine and you can choose between something along the lines of “Please don’t text me” and “PIX NAO PLZ” . I had to choose the latter and my “morality meter” took a plunge as a result .
I found the story interesting. It starts with Vincent, who has a girlfriend named Katherine, meeting another girl called Catherine at the bar and wakes up the next morning with her in bed next to him. His girlfriend Katherine is at the same time starting to bring up the question of marriage. So it’s a love triangle type story. But it’s also about why Vincent and others are having nightmares, some dying in their sleep.
I don’t want to give away more of the story as I found myself wanting to know what the heck was going on. I played on “easy”, but the puzzles were still somewhat challenging. There were a couple of times where I shouted profanities at the screen. I played through the game in three (I think) sittings. The last one was the longest because I couldn’t put the controller down when the truth about what was happening was being unravelled. I usually don’t enjoy walking around talking to people much in games, but I enjoyed it in this game. You get a lot of information regarding the story by talking to people and some are pretty funny too.
The game has multiple (eight) endings based on the choices you make in the game. I’m curious about the other endings and I think I’ll try to unlock them, but I’ll probably use a walk-through as opposed to playing through the entire game. There’s also puzzle play outside the story mode, which also has an online feature, but I haven’t tried that.
I recommend the game if you like the art style and think that the story seems interesting from the trailers. You don’t need to be a puzzle game fanatic to enjoy the gameplay. A small warning though. The last puzzle each night you’re getting chased by a monster. These monsters are pretty disturbing. Just saying.
The only downside with the game was that the controls in the puzzle aren’t 100% perfect. Sometimes Vincent will start pulling the wrong block, for example. The game is also not recommended for sober alcoholics, since Vincent drinks alcohol every night. The game rewards you for drinking by letting you hear Vincent’s thoughts and you also move faster in the puzzles if you drink (I think).
Oh, yeah. The game came with an artbook and soundtrack CD too.