Catherine Review


RPGS

When I was a kid, I *loved* the classic stat-builder stat-battle single player RPG with a pulp fantasy or sci-fi back drop. Today, I feel that some RPGS cling too tightly to a dated view of what RPGs used to be. I’m more interested in games that deliver a fresher style of game play. Catherine is a prime example of this.

Story Quality

Catherine is one of those few games that has such a good story that it’s hard to put the controller down because you are so interested in what happens next. The central story arc involves some great romantic tension, and the side characters are tons of fun to explore. As great as the story is, I have two complaints.

The big complaint is the way the game portrays alcohol. The characters think they are cool and moody when they drink alcohol and think other people like hearing them talk with a cool swagger about their consumption of alcohol and neither are true. It comes off as an annoyingly forced posture and it doesn’t work. My second complaint is that the characters are written as early thirty somethings but they have a more adolescent maturity level.

But overall, the story is awesome.

Interactive Story Mechanics

On top of the gripping story, there is some really good interactive branching elements as well. Your choices influence many events of the story. It pulls you in to the world and makes you care about the choices your character makes.

Puzzle Mechanics

Most of the game is the 3D block moving, climbing puzzle game. What makes this puzzle game special is:

  • It’s unique and makes you want to learn how to play.
  • It doesn’t have lots of frustrating points where you lose play momentum (although I’ve only beat the first half or so of the game).
  • It continues to be fun to play even after you’ve gained proficiency.
  • The puzzle world of abstract blocks is surprisingly well tied to the the main story and characters.
  • High end production, art, graphics, and presentation values.

Extras

There is a great mini-game, an awesome soundtrack, and an online group voting element. It’s definitely a packed and well rounded experience.

Summary

This is one of the best RPG-hybrid games and big budget puzzle games we’ve seen this decade.

Review

ProsCons
Addicting interactive story
Awesome big budget puzzler
One of the best RPG-hybrids of the decade
Full Priced Puzzle Game
Rating
92%

This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Catherine provided by Atlus.


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by EdEN on August 9th, 2011 [ 136079 Points ]

    Thanks for the review Darrin! It’s always a nice surprise to get such a refreshing game that brings something new to the table, is fun to play and features great visuals to go along with our HD console of choice. Don’t really any potential for the game to become a series (nor should it aspire to it) but I do hope it sells a whole lot of copies so Atlus can give us more and more innovative games.

  2. #2 by Pedro on August 9th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    Nice review Darrin.

    I haven’t tried the game myself, but that’s just a matter of time.

    I thought it was weird you didn’t say anything about the difficulty level, as everyone seems to be saying it’s nearly impossible, well, maybe you’re just THAT good! hahaha

  3. #3 by EdEN on August 9th, 2011 [ 136079 Points ]

    @Pedro: Download the demo today!

  4. #4 by Cheeto on August 9th, 2011

    I will be downloading the demo today Darrin, Thanks for the review, good to see you around mate. Keep em coming!

  5. #5 by mowmow on August 9th, 2011 [ 11990 Points ]

    Nice Review
    What really got me interested in this game was the choices that you would have to make which determined the endings. I love having those kinda decisions in games. This is probably next on my list of games to play after I beat Brotherhood

  6. #6 by Darrin on August 9th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    Wow, thanks for the positive comments.

    @Pedro, I’m ok, but not particularly good at puzzle games. I’m playing on normal and the difficulty is just right. Not too easy, not too hard. I think it’s really hard if you want gold medals or you are playing on the harder difficulty setting. I’m happy to get silver or bronze right now.

  7. #7 by Jcmdaddy on August 9th, 2011 [ 59668 Points ]

    I loved this game, despite the slight moments when it was late and I was to tired to solve certain puzzles (grrr). Though I must say I need to add another complaint about the game: The volume.

    The issue I have here is that the game volume can’t be adjusted at all, in the standard ‘speech, music, sfx’. This isn’t too much of an issue since it’s all well and balanced, however, the full anime cutscenes are significantly louder than the actual game. So while I turn it up to hear it at a good reasonable level, whenever an anime cutscene would start I’d have to scramble for the remote to turn down my surround sound.

    Perhaps though that is the issue itself, is maybe the audio track for the anime CS’s aren’t spread evenly over 5.1, and are broadcast as 2.1 so it just seems louder suddenly. Who knows. But other than that, I loved the game, it was a very challenging refresher, and I look forward to the slow way to getting the platinum trophy. I don’t look forward to playing the puzzles on hard. Not to mention all the different endings I need to see XD.

  8. #8 by Markus on August 10th, 2011 [ 4322 Points ]

    I played the Demo and I was torn. I found myself being able to to relate to the main character and his relationship woes. So I wanted to push on to experience more of the story. However, the main game play is like you said, block pushing puzzle game. I lost interest because puzzle games aren’t really my cup of tea.

  9. #9 by Ceidz on August 11th, 2011 [ 36004 Points ]

    Excellent review Darrin !
    I’ll try the demo next weekend !! :D

  10. #10 by Darklurkr23 on August 12th, 2011 [ 20336 Points ]

    I felt hype with the demo. Like I’ve said, I’m more interested in seeing the story play out then the puzzles, as discussed in the podcast .. 7 I think? Still it’s mad hype, and I can’t wait to finish it, sittin gon the counter right now :D


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