After playing Atlus’ Catherine for a little over nine hours, the best word I’d have to describe it is… interesting.
Catherine tells the story of Vincent Brooks, a 32 year old game programmer whose being pressured into marriage by his girlfriend of 5 years, Katherine McBride. This scares Vincent to death, and goes with some friends to their favorite bar for some drinks. Its there he encounters a young 20 year old girl named Catherine. One thing leads to another, and Vincent wakes up with Catherine next to him in his bed. Through decisions you make during the game, the player decides how Vincent handles this situation and ultimately how the game ends (Yes, that means multiple endings). This story is without a doubt one of the big positives about this game. While most games have you saving a princess or the world, Catherine is the story about a man and his struggle with fidelity. Such a change from the norm is really refreshing, and the story itself is fantastic. You’ll want to beat the puzzles just to see what happens next.
Speaking of said puzzles, Catherine is at its core a puzzle game. While Vincent is struggle with his issues, at night he (as well as every other man in the city) is being plagued by nightmares. In these nightmares, they have to move blocks and use them to climb up this massive wall and escape at the top before the floor gives out from under them. If you fail, and die in the dreams, you die in real life. Sounds easy; but trust me its anything but. In fact, even on the Easy setting, I found the game extremely challenging, so expect this one to really make you think. However, never once did I find myself frustrated with the game. I just found it challenging and I enjoyed that aspect.
I loved the music in this game. The music in the puzzle is all remixes of classical music, but considering the situation, it works really well. Everywhere else, the music does a great job of setting the mood for the mystery surrounding the story. The voice acting in this game is excellent, with a lot of recognizable actors from the world of anime. Not all the sounds in here are great. The English dubbing doesn’t match up with the mouth a lot in this one, and trust me you will hate the sound of bells by the time this game is over.