Catherine is a twisted, challenging, and ultimately satisfying unique experience that has not been seen in a video game in quiet a long time. Though this will definitely not cater to the majority of players those who are willing to spend the time to hone there puzzle solving skills will be greatly satisfied. Those people who look for excellent story will also find something comforting knowing that this tale may hit close to home for some albeit without the sheep.
Catherine tells the tale of one Vincent Brooks a man who likes the way things are, has a long term girlfriend who wants marriage but isn't quiet ready to commit. One night at the Stray Sheep Vincent's watering hole of choice a blonde bombshell his dream girl sits next to him in his table and from here things take a turn for the insane. Catherine's story is something that will never be found in any other video game you can find out there, its strange, twisted, dark, and yet very close to what some people go through in relationships. That's what makes Catherine such a unique and thrilling adventure, open to close there a twists and turns with the player able to see one of seven endings based on what he choose to text or during key conversation with npcs. That's why this game story wise is a hit, beacuse it is the players choice on how the story will be effected and ultimately what endings the player shall receive. It's filled with a lot of dark humor and erotic dilemmas that Vincent finds himself stuck in (though there is no nudity, sorry fellas gotta find your boobies the old fashioned way). The story does talk about the ins and outs of relationship (love/hate) pretty well and deserves high praise for this fact.
The graphics and art design is quiet well and for fans of the SMT or Persona games, this will be familiar territory for you. The movies are a mixture of anime style cut scenes (which are very well done) and in game cut scenes where the games own graphics take over. While this may be distracting for some it doesn't take away from the game one bit. Though the best looking parts are during the puzzle sequences when if you have time will notice how detailed the backgrounds and individual blocks are. This really is quiet impressive compared to a lot of the recent titles being released and how those stack up to each other. The music and voice overs is also high quality with the composer being the great Shoji Meguro of Persona fame and while all the set pieces are brilliant its the edition of select music from other SMT and Persona titles that make the music in this game truly shine. I was surprised to hear how good the English voice overs were and the fact that for once they actually sound like each character is full of life and each their own person.
The game play is split into two different things; the Stray Sheep bar where you'll send and receive texts, chat up other patrons access the Jukebox and play a mini game called Rapunzel (which are un-timed stages similar to the main game where you help our little hero save Rapunzel from the tower this is actually quite addicting and hard) and this is where the story progresses. Then you have the nightmare stages where to have to push and pull your way to the exit before the floor or boss gets and kills you. For those of you who think this is a simple concept are truly in a world of pain when the game hands you your balls (or boobies for the ladies) and laughs while you cry and cry you will. This game sets a new tier of difficulty settings as this games easy mode could be ranked as something similar to for instance Halo 3's Legendary mode (though that doesn't do Catherine any justice). It's a hard game and I just graduated to the normal mode but I will say when you do complete each puzzle it feels like you have conquered the world over and over again its no laughing matter. There is a co-op and vs mode that's cool but make sure you have a buddy near by because its all local which is a bit of a bummer but makes no difference. The controls are easy to grasp but will take time to fully master as the camera itself becomes one of the biggest enemies once you have to get to the back of the puzzle, but again its fine during puzzle play.
Overall, Catherine is a unique and sexy experience that can hardly be topped by any "blockbuster" tittle on the systems. It has the story and challenge that has not been seen in at least 10 if not 20 years (based on the uniqueness of the story). The puzzle's are actually quiet fun to do over to beat your scores and co-op is another fun time all together. Catherine is a must buy for any SMT or Persona fan and anyone looking for a unique game.