Achievers Review of: Catherine
First off, this review touches on the technical aspect of the game a tad, as well as the fun factor, and the game's achievements.
Gameplay (Story, mechanics, and difficulty)
In my opinion, Catherine is one of the only truely mature games on the xbox 360. Where as most games see mature as putting in as much swearing, blood, gore and sexual aspects as possible, Catherine is mature in a way that isnt seen often. Instead of blood and guts, the game deals with real relationship problems, and how people deal with them.
The story has you playing the game as Vincent, a middle aged man who is in a long time relationship with a women named Katherine. Katherine is a very put together woman, who is very mature and adult, and knows what she wants in her life. Eventually Vincent meets Catherine, who is a very free spirited and sweet girl, that woos Vincent during a night of drinking. After waking up together in bed, Vincent must then deal with an unwanted side relationship with Catherine, as well as dealing with Katherine and the problem every couple deals with when in relationships. At the same time, a string of deaths has been happening all over the town, all of men who have been cheating. Soon, Vicent finds that in his dreams, he is trusted into a hell like dreamscape, where he must climb to see another day. I personally love the story, and it's one of my favorites in gaming. The adult themes are so rare to see in gaming, and its a nice twist to see among the abundance of military exploit stories.
Outside the dreams you spend all your time at the bar, where you control Vincent, and talk to anyone who happens to be at the bar on that night. Who is in the bar changes from day to day, and a couple other aspects decide who will show up there tomarrow. In the bar, you can even play an arcade game to further help you in the dream.
In the dream, you are forced to climb a tower of blocks, to escape the ever crumbling bottom. Most blocks you can move any direction as long as you are not blocked behind you. As you move on to each day, new blocks and dangers are presented. Exploding blocks, and sheep creatures are just some of the things that test you along the way, and test they will. This game is not easy, not in the slightest. Odds are, you wont make it through each level without dying or rewinding at least once, if not a lot more. At the end of each dream, presents you with a boss, each with their own theme that relates to the day before.
Before each tower of blocks, you are asked a personal question, each of which are not black and white. There is no clear answer to guide you to which girl you will end with. Along with those, while at the bar, you get texts from both girls, and you get to reply to them in a good amount of different responses. Depending on what you chose in the dream and in the texts, your moral meter will shift, which will determine your ending to the game.
Technical Aspect (Design, Graphics, and Bugs)
If you at all a fan of anime, you will love the art style. The cut scenes are done in a completely rendered anime, comparable to those found on most shows. The gameplay graphics look like beautiful 3D models of the anime, and I would say look even better than the cutscenes themselves. This is one of the most beautiful games on the 360 in my opinion.
Altough the block of towers never fully change, I never expected them to. It's the levels themselves that define each dream. Based on the day before, the dream will take on a theme almost. That theme will also play into the bosses at the end of each dream. The bosses themselves are as weird as they are creepy and creative. Although they are not anything Silent Hill 2 level, they are creepy enough to give someone so disturbing nightmares.
On the other hand, all the character designs are very well done, as comparable to most anime. Each character's appearance is unique to them, and gives them some more personality than whats already there. As the game goes on, you learn more and more about each character, creating a deep story for everyone, especially the male characters.
Each character in the game is fully voiced, and excellently done at that. Everyone's voice is so well done, and believable, there was never a point where I felt like someone was reading off a script. The three high points are Katherine, Catherine, and Vincent, pulling off amazing performances.
The game itself runs very smoothly, and I rarely had any slow down. The framerate is pretty consistent all through the game. I never ran into any glitches or bugs either, probably because of the Japan release a year before the American release two years ago.
At the end of the game I was able to get about 20 achievements of the 50. With about 300 points total, of the 1000. This game is pretty weird as far as achievements, you will definitely need multiple playthoughs to see every ending and get every achievement tied to them. There are also a couple modes relating to some side game modes, as well as some in game achievements that dont require alot of work, but can be missed very easy.
This is the hardest place to rate. The game is very much fun, and addicting, especially the story aspect. I really wanted to see the game all the way through, and I definitely want to go back and play through again to make different choices, but the game can be a strain to complete. The game is very, very difficult, even on easy, meaning that it can be a hassle just to get to the next level, however you can get past any barricade put in front of you.
Just like the graphics, this game is beautiful art. The story is so engrossing and keeps you hooked even for multiple playthroughs. Even if the game can get frustrating at times, there is nothing here you cant over come. Everything here is so rare, between the vibrant colorful art design, and adult themes, any one who claims to be a gamer should play this game.
+ Beautiful Art Style
+ Engaging Story
+ An Actual Adult Game
- Can be Frustrating at time