Written by Cole Burton Tuesday, 09 August 2011 05:00
Ever since I started playing Catherine on my PS3, I have gotten several messages asking me everything from what is it to if it’s worth $60. To them, I say the review is in! Catherine takes a great risk by doing something completely original, but did the risk pay off? Let’s find out.
Catherine is about a man named Vincent Brooks and how far he will go to keep his relationship with his long-time girlfriend Kathryn. The problem is, he doesn’t want to marry her. This is when Kathryn tells Vincent that she is pregnant with his child. A lot of drinking and one night of fun later, Vincent wakes up next to the young and beautiful Catherine.
Along with this new girl, one other thing changes in Vincent’s life: He begins to have nightmares. These nightmares are where the real gameplay comes in. The nightmares are quite difficult to play, and you may find yourself frustrated during many parts of the game. You may even spend large amounts of time in each stage. This is one difficult puzzle game, but it is worth the stress to progress the plot.
Every time you clear a stage in your nightmares, which is done by climbing blocks to get to the top of the stage, you meet up with others who are having the same nightmare. You can speak to them in the nightmares as well as in the Stray Sheep Bar every day after these nightmares. If you don't talk to the others on a regular basis, and always say the proper things, they may lose the will to continue and die. It can be difficult to save several of them on your first playthrough. My first time, I only managed to save one of the five characters.
In the Stray Sheep Bar after each nightmare, you can drink, text, chat with friends and other victims, and more. The most interesting thing I found in the bar is the TV, which always updates you on these strange “deaths” of lonely middle aged men. Should any of your fellow nightmare buddies die, you will see them on this TV with a weird music cue. So, be a hero and try to encourage the others in the bar and in the nightmares!
In addition to encouraging others, you can learn new climbing techniques with the others after each stage. It is quite important to do this as often as possible, as the stages are hard enough if you know exactly what to do. Scrambling around can not only do you wrong, but you can even lose the stage. You must push, pull, stack, climb, and do just about everything else you can imagine with these blocks as you climb to the top. There will be special blocks to make these challenges even harder and they add variety to the game. Speaking of difficulty and variety, bosses and other special components in these nightmares really add some spice to the gameplay.
Another unique feature to Catherine comes along after completing one stage and being transported to another. This feature is a poll in which every player’s answer to every question is placed on a pie chart, and you can see how your answers compare to how other players answered the question.
Catherine is a great, original game. However, it’s difficulty is a major turn off. You will be very frustrated throughout much of the game. But, if you persevere, you just may adapt without the need of a guide. Atlus took a risk by doing something original, and it paid off with a great, brand new gaming experience. But guys, next time don’t challenge us so much, I’m begging you.