Catherine reviews

Catherine is a decent visual novel with some glaring flaws, and a poor puzzler hampered by strange design decisions. The game is about a 60/40 split between visual novel and actual puzzle solving. If you're not a fan of romance VN's, I wouldn't bother with it.

As a visual novel, Catherine begins as a relatively grounded story that has the player grappling with the morality of cheating. The main character, Vincent, continually wakes up with a woman (Catherine) with no recollection of his time with her. His girlfriend (Katherine) is pregnant with his child and is getting suspicious of his strange behavior. The story excels when it allows the player to fill Vincent's shoes and deal with the consequences of his actions. However, at the same time, Vincent doesn't exactly act realistically, falling squarely into the anime trope of "male character who just keeps getting in deeper shit." This very quickly leads to the game breaking the fourth wall and directly asking the player to consider moral quandaries, seeing as you can't possibly empathize with Vincent's unrealistic portrayal. The anime tropes don't stop there, either. Catherine features a Yandere, a Trap, and a Tsundere. There's also one GLARINGLY bad moment in a particularly tense scene that's been anticipated and built up for the entire game. Just as the game hits its most intense moment, Japanese style comedic relief ruins the mood and the seriousness along with it. This is related to something called "Bathos," and for more on why this bothers me so much, see Just Write's youtube video on the topic. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-QhdzQo66o)

There's also a "morality" meter of sorts that swings towards red and blue, indicating [spoiler]freedom and order[/spoiler], which misses the mark more oft than not. This is usually the case with dialogue and morality in games, especially those that have a binary system like Catherine, so this is less of a complaint about Catherine and more about the depictions of morality and dialogue systems we see in games in general. Catherine does compare your answers to all other players', which I found entertaining. A remarkably large number of players are good little boys and girls.

The story (and game) completely fall apart at a certain point. Towards the end of the game, [spoiler]Atlus decides to abandon any pretense of having the player ponder morality by revealing everything was all a dream, the bartender is a god, and Catherine was an imaginary succubus. At this point, you answer 3 questions which determine the outcome of the game's story and which romance option you get. As long as the "morality" meter is heavily blue/red, the rest of your choices literally don't matter.[/spoiler] Due to the 8 different endings, there's tons of loose threads and story arcs that never finish in any one playthrough. I didn't replay the game to see the other endings.

The game's puzzles have the potential to force you to change your perspective and solve problems in ingenious ways. Unfortunately, every level in the game is timed, incentivizing quick and dirty solutions that get the job done. To make matters worse, there's a score system that further rewards speed. The score system is the most frustrating part of the game. Your score isn't saved by checkpoints, which means that if you want to go for Gold (which unlocks some game modes), you have to complete entire levels in one flawless attempt. Practically, high scores require memorization, not any sort of cleverness on the part of the player. In addition, there's a really bad escort mission that you will randomly fail, and a checkpoint in a later mission that instantly kills you when respawning.

It's not as if Atlus is incapable of making a good set of puzzles. There's an arcade machine in the game that features 128 puzzles that place a limit on the number of moves you make. These levels are all better designed than those present in the actual game. I believe Atlus made a lot of changes in Full Body (the remaster) that fix some of my complaints, but I still wouldn't recommend it to fans of puzzlers. I can't comment on its quality as a VN since I don't have much experience with those, but people seem to like it well enough.

I believe Atlus made a lot of changes in Full Body (the remaster) that fix some of my complaints, but I still wouldn't recommend it to fans of puzzlers. I can't comment on its quality as a VN since I don't have much experience with those, but people seem to like it well enough.
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Completed: 16 December 2019
Playtime: ~ 30h
Rating: 9/10
All in all a splendid adventure that keeps you playing on and on, with a gorgeous design and a marvellous story

Catherine Classic is a remarkable story driven "jump'n'run - puzzle game" which follows the story of Vincent Brooks, who's haunted by supernatural nightmares.
These are caused by the inner conflict between his feelings for his long-time girlfriend Katherine and an affair with a beauty named Catherine.

Half anime, half puzzle-game, Catherine Classic is divided into two parts.
The daytime, where Vincent is awake and mostly at the "Stray Sheep" bar.
And the night-time, containing several levels with the goal is to climb a tower of blocks and escape the nightmares.

Even though the game's been released 8 years, graphics and facial expressions are better than some games I've played before.

The only thing which annoyed me is that the game pauses every time the narrator or someone else says something... Even if it's non-tutorial stuff
But that's just an minor detail

Something I very liked are the fun facts about drinks and alcohol you receive while drinking at the "Stray Sheep"
Also, the more drunk you are at daytime, the faster you can move in your nightmares.
!!! Unfortunately this doesn't work in real life so be careful and also don't drink and drive !!!

Also, I honestly recommend playing the nightmare parts with a d-pad for better control

~Stats~
Developed by Atlus under the directions of Katsura Hashino Released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita and Microsoft Windows
I played round about 30 hours all in all on normal. But there are eight endings so you can definitely play it several times and try to reach every one of them.
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«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»
Catherine is best puzzle type game that I ever played in my short life. It's like a playable anime with horror-themed challanges where you have to menage boxes and climb on things to reach a top. Masterpiece to say the least... And story is weird as hell. Because this game is from hell!
«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»