Incredible puzzle mechanics
Great characters and story
Awesome music and visuals
I...really can't think of anything to complain about here. Too many lives I guess?
Catherine is one of the most disturbing games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. It’s by Atlus’s Persona team of all people, and it shows. The character style, music, story telling, hell the main character Vincent even makes a cameo in Persona 3 Portable! This is a game about making moral choices, to stay with the woman you’ve been with for years who is pressuring you into marriage, or play around with this young hot new girl who coincidentally shares the same name as your girlfriend. The game is also about climbing…and sheep. Ok lets get into some specifics.
What you see and What you hear
Everything aesthetically about the game just screams Persona Team. There’s Lotus Juice playing in the background, the anime style cut scenes, and vibrant environments are all classic Atlus. I honestly love all of the visuals and music of the game. Well, I guess when you’re climbing and the music is sort of orchestral and trying to build suspense, it feels a little bland, but it’s not bad in any sense.
Like I mentioned before, the story is about a man named Vincent debating which girl he wants to stay with. Every night when Vincent goes to sleep, he winds up in a nightmare world where everyone around him looks like a sheep (and to them, he looks like one as well). He, and all the other sheep have to climb this near endless series of walls by pulling and pushing blocks around to make it to the next landing area. If you, or any other sheep falls from the wall, you die (Of course there’s a shit load of continues but I’ll get back to that). And before you wake up you have to do a boss level, where an insane monster from your subconscious comes to kill you.
Throughout the game you make moral choices (which I’ll get into more in the gameplay section) and the choices effect how the game flows. I think there are 7 possible endings to get, but staying true to one side or the other is easily the best way to go.
So there’s two aspects of the game, climbing and choices. Lets start with climbing.
Climbing in the game is one of the most solid puzzle mechanics I’ve ever seen in a game. You pull out blocks in order to climb up them. As long as a block is connected by an edge it will remain in the air Minecraft style. This allows for a LOT of different variety in how you can play the game. Every puzzle usually has a designed way to make it up, but a lot of the puzzles (especially later on) have a lot of flexibility in how you can solve them. The game also teaches you new techniques to help you climb by talking to other sheep in the nightmare. The puzzles can get very hard, no matter how skilled you feel, and you get plenty of retries. Too many actually. Playing on easy, you can easily accumulate over 60 lives, and playing on normal I averaged around 30. Only once or twice did I actually get to the point of losing most of my lives, but it still felt like stakes were low most of the time.
Now lets talk about the moral choices. Throughout the game, you’ll have a lot of opportunities to lean towards either the live fast, short and sweet bachelor, or the settle down and get married type of guy. In the nightmare, you’ll be given very vague questions that gauge your personality. For instance – “would your rather be at a bar or at home?” Or when you’re chilling at the bar with your friends (which you do every night) you can text either of your ladies and change what you say. These are the two main ways you move the morality gauge back and forth. It’s not really “difficult” by any means to focus on one or the other, the questions are very straight forward.
Throughout the story, during cutscenes, the morality gauge will pop up and whichever you’re leaning towards will influence how Vincent thinks. This would be a pretty cool mechanic…but…it really doesn’t make that big of an impact until the end of the game.
Catherine is an extremely solid puzzle game, and it has a very interesting story and characters to go with it. It’s for Ps3 and Xbox 360 (featuring a different Catherine on each cover) but right now, Catherine is on sale on the Psn! I highly recommend picking it up, or renting it on Ps Now.